Why the majority is always wrong

In 2005, two very deserving Australian research doctors, Barry J. Marshall and Robin Warren were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

Like most success stories, it didn’t happen overnight, in fact Barry Marshall is attributed with saying back in 1998 that “Everyone was against me, but I knew I was right”.

So what was Barry Marshall right about?
In 1982, along with microbiologist Robin Warren, they discovered a bacterium they named ‘Helicobacter Pylori’ or H. Pylori for short. Whilst this may not resonate with everybody, it is described as a ‘paradigm shift discovery’ in medicine. You see, ulcers and gastritis were not caused by stress, as was the theory for centuries; it was actually a ‘gut bug’, or bacterium colony.

So convinced was Barry Marshall that he was right, that in 1985 he had a biopsy to confirm he didn’t have the bacterium in his gut, and then drank a broth containing H. Pylori in an effort to confirm his theory. He believed that he would contract gastritis, but that it may take years ─ it took just 3-days for symptoms to appear. At the end of Day 3 he developed halitosis, commonly known as bad breath; an unpleasant odour associated with bacteria.  By Day 8 he had massive inflammation associated with gastritis.

Earlier this year we shared a post that posed the question, ‘Why our gut and drains are the same’. This looked at the work reported by Dr Michael Mosley on ‘good gut health’ through the Clever Guts Diet. The focus is on a healthy gut biome that benefits your entire well being.

Marshall and Warren put in the hard yards. It took them 23 years; between 1982 and 2005; for the world to sit up and take notice; the cause was Helicobacter Pylori, not stress.

Why do people take so long to catch on?
If there are biological cleaning solutions that have a proven track record in promoting ‘drain health’, why is there widespread scepticism about their ability to provide lasting results? After all, they deal with odour causing bacteria and blockages at the source.

There are well-documented case studies and real-world testimonials of organisations that would not return to the widespread use of chemical-based cleaning products when there are environmentally responsible products that do a better job. Sadly in Australia, these are the minority. So what about the majority?

Why the majority is always wrong
In October 2014, Paul Rulkens, High Performance Expert, delivered a TEDx Talks presentation in Maastricht on this very subject: Why the majority is always wrong.

 In his talk Rulkens commenced with the following:

In 1942, Albert Einstein was teaching at Oxford University, and one day, he just gave an exam of physics to his senior class of physics students. He was walking on the campus with his assistant, and all of a sudden, the assistant looked at Albert Einstein and said, “Dr Einstein, this exam which you just gave to the senior class of physics students, isn’t that exactly the same exam you gave to exactly the same class one year ago?”

“Yeah, yeah,” said Albert Einstein, “it’s exactly the same.”

“But Dr Einstein, how could you possibly do that?”, the assistant said.

“Well,” said Einstein, “the answers have changed.”

The answers have changed.

In other words, what was true in 1942 is even more relevant today. We live in a world where the questions might be the same, but the answers have changed. Expressed differently; what has got you here, will no longer get you there. And if you want to have results that you’ve never had before … well … you need to start doing things you’ve never done before.

Rulkens concludes:

This is why, when it comes to high performance, the majority is always wrong. This is what we know. We know that 3% of people are able to achieve extraordinary results. Each of you can become part of those 3% by deciding, as of today, to break your industry standards and to break your industry norms. The alternative of course, is that you become part of the 97% who, in the end, works for those 3%.

As of today, that choice is completely yours.

The time to view the TEDx Talk is time well invested. It’s humorous, and you get to decide if you want to work to ‘industry norms’, or be part of the innovation.

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