Here is a very inspiring article written by Stephen Curry himself.
For those that do not know him, he is one of the best basketball players currently playing in the NBA. He has been widely credited for changing the way the game is played these days.
And yet, at the outset of his career, Stephen Curry was underrated! Scouts would not want to recruit him, so-called experts said he did not have what it takes to join the NBA, he was not invited to training camps, etc. The common knowledge was pointing in the same direction:
"All this analysis that people would put out there, all these scouting reports and whatever, that kept the focus on what I supposedly couldn’t do. “Undersized.” “Not a finisher.” “Extremely limited.” I can still reel them off to this day. But what’s even crazier is how, also to this day — even with how I’ve ended up doing my thing, and even with all of these unique types of players coming into the league and showing what they can do — you’re still seeing these so-called experts scouting hoops that same old way: by focusing on the downside of what guys can’t do.
Instead of figuring out the upside of what they can."
(Stephen Curry, quoted from the article)
This is a good illustration on how just following the herd and accepting what is perceived to be the common knowledge is actually keeping you from seeing real opportunities.
The ability to make your own assessment and look for potential rather than limitations is an important quality if you want to disrupt the status quo. You have to be able to see what most peers are unable to. And you must have to courage to trust your assessment and follow it true. Granted, the pool of people that will say 'I told you so' when your assessment turns out unsuccessful is immense. But the upside is so much greater: if you succeed you will have the power to challenge the status quo! And you will be a source of inspiration for the next generation.
This is true in everything we do: be it encouraging a student who struggles with the normal curriculum but has abilities that are not sufficiently kindled in our school systems, or finding a team of professionals that have seen potential in a region to lift people out of poverty, or identifying a technology that changes peoples' lives for the better.
Whatever the job or role we have in life, we should have more courage to break the molds and try new approaches. The status quo does not advance our human condition, we need to do more collectively and individually.
Let's start by giving the right people a chance!
" a bunch of limits are being placed on them by other people. A situation where the limits of what they can accomplish are being put in place before they’ve gotten to test those limits for themselves."
- Stephen Curry