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15 Contrarian Truths Few People Believe

30 October 2020

Sometimes Thinking Outside of the Box Can Be Impressive. but What Is Your Take on Beliefs That Are Out of the Box?

Hello Aluxers. Contrarian truths are having a minute, but what exactly is this modern philosophical school of thought that we keep hearing about?

Well a contrarian in simple terms is a troll. But not in the awful social media sense, well not always. They are people who have adopted a mind-set that “sees beyond the tracks laid down” to the “broader future that there is to create.” Or that’s how one of the most outspoken and well known contrarians of our time put it. He is Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, and early investor in Facebook, SpaceX and LinkedIn.

He believes in the exercise of thinking, questioning and rethinking what you might otherwise have considered stone cold fact. Behind every “delusional popular belief” Thiel believes there is a contrarian truth. But is this even possible to shift our minds?

Well we’re about to introduce you to 15 Topics as Contrary truths to what you were led to believe, and who knows we might just convince you to change your “belief” on some.

Straight off the bat we can give you free access to Peter Thiels Audible book if you use our link: alux.com/freebook.

We all love audio books because sometimes audio content is simply more convenient than text. If that idea fits the moment, here’s our YouTube upload for this article:

With that placed in the box, let’s move on and check out the first unconventional belief.

1

Bubble

Before we get to the heavy weight beliefs we need to understand bubbles. Bubbles are basically old or conventional beliefs. Take something like bloodletting. In the 19th century it seemed perfectly rational that the best cure for a headache was a hole to the back of the head and draining some blood off. In fact it was the household cure for just about anything: smallpox – bloodletting , cancer – bloodletting, asthma  – bloodletting, blood loss – more bloodletting. We’re all getting bloodlettinnnnng!!!!

As soon as medical science changed their mind on blood letting the bubble burst. It suddenly seemed like a terrible idea and no one going forward could figure out how it seemed rational. It taught us all some serious lessons about medical cures. And has in some ways warped the way we think about medical science today.

A more recent bubble was the internet bubble of the ‘90s. The lessons learned from this has defined and distorted how we consider technology today.

To be able to get a better view on today, we need to question all the preconceived ideas we might have from the past.

2

It’s Not an Opposite’s Game

To think contrary doesn’t mean to just believe the opposite. If someone said that the planet Mercury was hot, a contrarian wouldn’t just launch into thinking that Mercury was cold. What it means is challenging previous dogmas so that we can rethink the way the world is. Perhaps Mercury is not hot, but rather just an absence of cold. Sure this is a ridiculous example, but you get the picture.

Peter Thiel put it way better when he said: “The most contrarian thing of all is not to oppose the crowd but to think for yourself.

So, on that note, let’s upset the apple cart of previously held beliefs:

3

College Doesn’t Pay Off

Not many people would swap their college years for anything, but that’s mostly for the fun and friendships. Slow down troll, put your comments away, we don’t mean qualifications that require specific licenced degrees like pilots, surgeons and lawyers. We mean art curator, farm manager or marketing manager.

A less accepted truth is that for most people the career boost it gives you could be achieved if you had begun work experience right out of school.

So, you’re asking what would be the benefit of not getting a degree if you end up in the same place at the same time?

Well the college student racks up mountains of debt, which the work-experiencer doesn’t. The graduate has all of that to flatten first before they can grow their wealth. For this reason, the reality is that college doesn’t really pay off for most.

If all these points ring a bell, here are 15 Signs You Should Drop Out. It’s a useful list to help you come to a decision.

4

Ideas Don’t Necessarily Make the World a Better Place

Well, we didn’t promise you would love these truths.

But the simple fact is that it’s better to think a bit broader about this one. When you find out about a great new idea, it’s tempting to exclaim in merriment “Ah ideas! They make the world a better place!” But then we must consider all the ideas, and whether they made the better or a worse place. And I am sure when you consider most weapons, torture methods and the song Friday by Rebecca Black, not all ideas made the world better.

A lot of contrarian thinking involves not taking things at face value and investigating the truth rather that applying blanket statements to things.

We’re not done talking about Rebecca Black, so stick around.

5

Competition and Capitalism Are Opposites

As soon as you think of communism or socialism most people will think of a non-competitive society. That is the long-held argument that promotes the wonders of capitalism.

But walk with me if you will, while we unpack this one. Capitalism is the business of getting rich, of earning and keeping capital. Competition on the other hand means leaning down, trimming the fat and shaving down the costs and sales price until profit margins are near zero.

If we were truly competitive, no one would ever make money. The truth is competition isn’t as attractive as we make it out to be when it comes to business. What businesses really should strive for in pursuit of profit is monopoly. Google’s done it!

When we hear the M word, we often think of evil Moguls killing the competition. But what if you thought of it contrary to those common long held beliefs.  Monopolies are only really harmful in a world where nothing changes. A monopoly means new products for everybody and profits for the creator. When something more innovative comes into the market then the Monopoly’s position is challenged. Then an innovation cycle is forced to begin again.

However, competition means just doing the same thing for less. And no one gains in that equation.

6

Master of None Is Better Than an Expert

We’ve all heard the saying “Jack of all trades, master of none.” But it isn’t just a universal blanket truth that should be applied to everything.

The truth is that having a broad knowledge gives you a huge advantage no matter what career you’re in. We’re not knocking experts, please understand that jobs like surgeons must have a laser focus on skills. But a surgeon who also reads broadly on topics like politics, religion, diet and psychology has a better chance of understanding treating the entire human condition than one who just reads “surgeons weekly” of whatever specialist magazine surgeons get.

Your credentials might get you through the door, but it’s your world view and understanding that will prove more valuable.

7

It Is Better to Risk Boldness Than Triviality

This one won’t sit well with many, and that comes down to how we frame our world view based on the dot com bubble burst of the early 2000s.

Most younger generations believe it’s better to make small incremental growth and stay humble. Now we consider anyone who has a brave new idea to be a fraud, and well…Elizabeth Holmes did nothing to shake this stigma, but there are some REAL new ideas out there and we’re rather fast to cast doubt on anyone with lofty goals.

A contrarian in business would rather risk a failure than disappearing mundanely into the crowd. And that in essence is the crux of why we need contrarians to move the world forward.

8

Sales Are as Important as Product

Another idea widely adopted view by the post-dot com era of conservative entrepreneurs is that if the product is good enough it will sell itself. But this is not true, because if you consider the opposite, if a product is bad, no matter the sales efforts it won’t sell, then why the heck does Tevo have so much success?

In other words, sales strategies are paramount to business success. Failing to have an excellent sales strategy will lead to failure. This is a truth most businesses fail to realize.

And if you spent a fortune developing your product and you think you can’t afford to spend another cent on sales and marketing. Well then we’ve got news for you. You just gotta!

Working out how much to spend goes something like this: calculate how much profit you make per customer over the lifetime of your relationship with them. Then take the profit amount and back it off a bit. And that is the maximum budget you have to spend on sales per customer without tanking your profit. Now go forth and prosper.

9

EQ Sets You Apart More Than IQ

It’s widely accepted that Emotional Intelligence is important. But we always think that if we don’t have the IQ to back it up it doesn’t count. But most successful people connect with all people. Not just the ones they like, not just when they are agreeing with people, but always.

Life is so much easier to navigate and succeed in with a high EQ. The best part of EQ is that it can grow as you learn and mature emotionally. IQ however is pretty much allotted to you, but it’s what you do with it that counts.

10

Forget U.S. Stocks

The world is so much bigger than the space between the East and the West coast of North America. Don’t limit your financial future by placing it in US stocks. They might be secure and operate in a good environment, but they are also expensive, and there are far better international alternatives out there to add to your portfolio.

11

Risk Is Increased by Risk Controls

Risk is a deviation from the benchmark of a financial portfolio. Fund managers spend their careers refining their skills to minimise the difference between their market assumptions that define their strategy and how the market actually performs.

In essence reducing the risk that they don’t make the growth they planned.

But the irony is that this makes portfolios look just like the market. And while it might reduce short term risk, it links you to real market related risks.  Strict risk controls reduce flexibility and active share and you can bet your bottom line your portfolio will never outperform the market.

Sure you can’t be a total cowboy, but there has to be flexibility if you don’t want to tank when the bottom falls out the market again. Take it or not, it’s a truth of the market.

If you enjoy learning about investing, check out our video:  15 Ways to Invest $1 MILLION 

12

Talk About Religion, Talk About Politics and Talk About Money

Life’s too short for small talk. Dive in and take the bitter with the sweet. Maybe it will end in a family feud, but more likely it will be lively, insightful, and certainly entertaining at very least.

There is no need to ring fence topics like families do, it just shows that you don’t really trust or love each other to differ in opinions. The same goes for your friends. Don’t let your differences of opinions stop some robust conversations from happening, keep your cool and jump in; the worst that can happen is that you learn something new!

13

Globalization Is Not Advancement

We think of rural areas of the world modernising as major technological advances. But it really isn’t close. That is just rolling out the same services, many of which have been available elsewhere for 100 years. Sure, you might be using different ways to generate electricity or clean water, but it’s access to water and electricity none the less, and that’s not novel.

It’s just copying things that are tried and tested and moving them to a new place – in other words – horizontal progress. Technology is vertical progress. When new things are discovered, and the world changes to something different than before.

14

Rebecca Black’s Friday Isn’t Actually Bad

Rebecca Black’s 2011 song might have been a total ear worm, but it isn’t actually as bad as it was made out to be.  It uses the exact same chord progression that pop music has since the 1950s and is in everything chart topping from Britney Spears to Justin Bieber. So we have to give her a break on melody.

The most impressive feat that “Friday” pulled off was that it taught us how the internet, music and virality would work. She essentially was the first unknown person to “Break the internet”.  And in doing so created the blueprint for every viral moment for the next nine years.

Not bad for a Fri-days’ work!

And now for the clincher….

15

A Bad Plan Is Better Than No Plan

Another top talking point of Pete Thiel is this one. And it’s probably one that is hardest to get your head around. But why would anyone make a “bad plan” and then follow it. That seems ridiculous right.

But what he really proposes is that having a plan means you have a vision or an end goal. And that’s the important bit. Sure you might find that step A to B didn’t work out, but you are moving forward toward your goal anyway, you might just need to circumnavigate hiccups, or redirect your focus before you move ahead.  So even though it sounds absurd, it’s better to have some plan than none at all, because then you have some kind of measure to go by.

Question:

Which of these contrarian truths hurt you the most?

What belief do you hold that others don’t agree with you about?