Think about this for a moment, maybe longer…

If you want extraordinary results you’ve got three choices: execute an extraordinary idea well, execute a decent idea extraordinarily well, or best, execute an extraordinary idea extraordinarily well.

But no matter what, something has to be extra-ordinary, because doing it the ordinary way, the way you usually do things…

The way most people do things…

Won’t get you what you want.

There’s just no way around this, whatever it is you currently think and do is giving you whatever results you are currently getting. No more.

And if you’re wanting more than you’ve got, much more, you have to step outside of whatever box you’re in.

In other words, you’re going to have to be unreasonable.

Don’t get me wrong…

If you’re okay with your current output, your current lifestyle, your current level of happiness, then doing “it” the way you always done it is fine.

But if you want “extraordinary…?”

Bob Dylan wrote in 1965, “He who isn’t being born is busy dying.” Or as Warren Zevon sung more colorfully, “The sh** that used to work, it don’t work now.”

It’s now 2011, and things are decidedly different than they were just a few years ago, even a few months ago. So to make sure your business is closer to being born that dying, to help you get more of what you want, I’ve updated The Unreasonable Manifesto from my book, Be Unreasonable.

Here goes:

Your tried-and-true ways of getting things done are slowing down and running out of gas. They sometimes appear to work, so you think they still do and will work forever. That’s just an illusion; they’re only going to look that way for a little while longer.

Being unreasonable means achieving the extraordinary by doing things that are unexpected, unpredicted, and beyond what normal people consider normal.

Being unreasonable requires rejecting compromises. Compromises are based on your current belief system and force you to sacrifice what truly matters in exchange for something easily attainable. Question your beliefs about the situation and the compromise can melt away. That’s how you can really get what you want.

Don’t hold back your high cards waiting for the best time to play them. Being unreasonable means giving your best in every single situation that demands it. Play your best cards now. You’ll be dealt more later. Count on it.

Do more than you are asked to do and ask for what you really need. Most people do neither which means most people never get what they want from others. You can and you will.

Consider whether what you want is possible, and if you think it is, get busy. Don’t worry about the likelihood or the probability. Assessing the odds will always keep you from getting extraordinary things. By definition, the only ordinary things have good odds. Extraordinary things can’t.

Ask this question: how do “normal” things get to be called normal. Normal equals average. What you want – extraordinary is never normal. Being unreasonable doesn’t take normal into account. Being unreasonable is about figuring out what’s best, and doing that without worrying what normal people think is.

Think whatever thoughts. Your “reasonable” mind edits, censors and disapproves of your non-normal thoughts. Don’t go with it. Think “whatever” thoughts arise, and follow them to their best conclusions. The most transformative ideas come to you randomly, and then… Your reasonable thinking kills them. Don’t do that.

Expect the best. Unreasonable as it seems, expect the best from yourself and from those around you. Expect them to succeed. Count on it. Plan for it. Budget for it. Start with the best scenario you can imagine and ensure that it happens. Expecting the worst has a similar, but opposite, effect.

Warrior-sage Sun Tzu wrote that nothing is as dangerous as an enemy who has been backed into a corner. Such enemies will fight to the death, for they have nowhere else to run. Use this strategy on yourself: Back yourself into a corner, it will stop you from having any excuses. About anything.

“Should” always implies the status quo. It’s based on how everyone else has always done something. Whenever someone says (or worse, you say),”You should…”, ask, “Why should I?”

You can’t improve you don’t understand. Most plans are based on wrong or incomplete assumptions, which always lead you in some other direction. If you don’t know (accurately) where you stand, you can’t chart a true course to your true goals.

Freedom comes from responsibility. Normal people look for causes, something or someone to blame for the way things inevitably turn out. Be completely responsible. For everything. Every miracle, every failure. It’s the only way you can make sure you can get what you want.

A conservative model produces conservative results. Repeating the successes of the past, preserving tradition, and keeping everything the same can at best only give you results like those from before. But in the new future, the now future, those results will not be as good as they once were.

Take time off. Working nonstop (24/7 for 365 or whatever) until your fuel tank is empty is for dullards and plodders. Take time off and refill your tank. Going full steam ahead, day after day after day can produce excellent short-term results, but then it produces exhaustion. Physical fatigue, exhaustion of the spirit, and exhaustion of ideas. Take time off to re-create yourself.

Perfection prevents progress. New ideas have to be tested against real people. If you wait to get everything right, it will be very late when you get there. It may even be never. Think functionality and workability. Just get it going. Experiment in the chaos of the market and fix it later.

Be afraid. If you’re not scared, you’re not doing something worthwhile, and that’s something you really should be afraid of. All great ventures contain risk and the promise of failure as well as success. Unreasonable people are often afraid. Just be sure you are afraid of the right thing.

Being unreasonable is about breaking rules, not about creating new rules. Don’t break old rules just so you can replace them with new ones. When your new “extraordinary” way of doing something becomes “the rules,” you’re going to get stuck all over again. If you must, create signposts, guidelines, and indications. Anything but rules.

To put Being Unreasonable into action in your life, get yourself a copy of my most recent book, Be Unreasonable or the Kindle version

By the way, I’m about to do something I’ve never done before. It’s tax time again, and it seems the I.R.S. would like more than I had planned on giving them and I have to do something about it. I’m the higher-prices guy so this may come as a surprise, but I think you’ll be really pleased. Stay tuned…

Got comments? I’d love to hear them. Put ’em below…

8 Responses

  1. Jason Leister

    Great post Paul. Thank you for this.

    The risk isn’t that we’ll aim for goals and miss them, it’s that we’ll set them too low and hit them.

    Life is too short to be average.

    • admin

      Nicely put, Jason. “Shoot for the stars, settle for the tree tops. Shot for the tree tops, you wind up face down on the ground.”

  2. Glenn


    For the years that I have known of you, your musings have consistently proven edifying . . . hight-test brain ‘candy’ for those of us who appreciate best practices and intelligent, leading-edge thought by which to guide the destiny of our creations – the organizations through which we extend our value into markets.

    Extraordinary and unreasonable. If, by your definition of ‘unreasonable,’ the upper end of the scale is ‘insane,’ then that you are, Paul. Intended as the sincerest of compliments. Your work is exemplary. Keep it up!

    • pl

      Thanks, Glenn. Makes me think of something which is the distinctions between information and knowledge. The first can satisfy our curiosity, the second has utility.

  3. Itsgoodcookin

    Awesome!!! I really needed to read that right now! Thanks 😉

  4. Mike Noone

    this is bang on the money. Thank you for this as I have gotten out of the habit of demanding more from me and the world.
    It is so easy to get trapped inside of the “comfort zone” and many times we forget what that is really costing us.



  5. Jim Edward

    Just when I think I’m out… they pull me back in…and that you did! I look forward to your next unreasonable post paesano!


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