Here is a comparison of two people.

I only own a small number of properties.
I still have to go out to work for a living.
I have to think before buying some things I want.
Most people don’t know who I am.
I’m lazy – “could do better”.
I live in a (sort of) terraced house with 5 others in the block.
I have no children and it’s probably too late for me to have any.
My car’s over three years old.
I believe I’m unemployable now.


I have built a property portfolio valued at £___ and growing.
Apart from mortgages, I have no debts.
I only have to work for somebody else for 6 days a month to bring in enough to pay my monthly bills.
I pick and choose which weeks I want to work.
The “terraced” house is actually a wing of a converted country mansion set in lovely open grounds complete with a lake.
My husband and I are free to do what we want, when we want, without having to consider what’s best for the children.
I have a fantastic, big car that I love to drive.
I’ll never, ever be caught in the trap of becoming an employed person again.

I’m actually describing the same person, that being me! The same life, but looked at through two different sets of eyes, two different viewpoints, two different angles. Yet both the same. And it’s not just yourself and your achievements you can look at this way, it’s really everything. For every viewpoint, there’s always an opposite and opposing one.

In a recent conversation with my Dad, we were discussing the number of sayings and proverbs that, whilst sounding very wise, have an equally wisdom filled opposite. For example:

Look before you leap He who hesitates is lost
Too many cooks spoil the broth Many hands make light work


I could go on, and you can probably think of several more yourself, but I think you get the picture.

If you’re going to stand up and speak, you first need to think. Alan Weiss, well known in speaking and consulting circles, initially built his brand as “the contrarian”. In simple terms, this meant that he looked at anything spouted as conventional wisdom and every “band-wagon” onto which people were jumping and turned it on its head. Whatever it was, Alan argued that the opposite was true. The fact that he could do that successfully and build a very good name for himself in the process is testament to what I’m advocating here.

So What?

So what? So what!? I’ll tell you “so what”. This means that you don’t have to take everything you’re told and everything you read as gospel. You ARE allowed to formulate your own opinions, even if it means you’re in the minority. Actually, if you start thinking for yourself, you’ll find you WILL be in the minority most of the time. So many people seem to look to the media or social networking to find out what they’re supposed to think and how they should react to events.

There is always an opposing view. There is always more than one way of looking at anything.

Offering another way of looking at things will make you stand out from the crowd and ensure people take notice of you.

Also, consider books in the following genres:

  • self-improvement
  • consulting
  • marketing
  • branding
  • sales techniques
  • networking
  • residual income building
  • relationships
  • good management
  • leadership
  • coaching
  • diversity
  • team-building
  • motivation

You need to remember that everything you read is somebody’s opinion. And for every opinion you’ll read that’s well thought-out, well presented and sounds perfectly feasible and compelling, you can always find an opposite opinion elsewhere.

In fact, it’s contradiction that makes the world go round. If everyone agreed that the best car in the world was a Volkswagen Beetle, every other car manufacturer would go out of business and we’d all be driving round in bugs. Take this idea to its extreme. We’d all be wearing the same clothes, eating the same foods and, in short, thinking exactly the same. But we don’t… mostly.

We don’t even learn without there being contradiction. Imagine you have a teenage child – perhaps you do and will relate to this instantly. Now I don’t have such a creature, but I have enough friends who are so blessed and I’m not too old to remember being a pretty wild teenager myself (sorry, Mum & Dad).

If the first person in existence had gone through life, made all the necessary mistakes, learnt from them, and passed that wisdom down to their children AND the kids accepted it without question, there would be no further learning to be had by anyone – ever!

How many times have you tried to give a teenager the “benefit of your experience” only to be told something like “It’s different from in your day,” or “You don’t understand”? How frustrating is it to know exactly what they need to do, only to be told, in no uncertain terms, that your input is not required, so you end up watching them make the same mistakes you made before they learn? Bite your lip and don’t say “I told you so” because the fact is that (take note here) TRUE LEARNING DOESN’T TAKE PLACE UNTIL PEOPLE MAKE THEIR OWN MISTAKES. So you see, they absolutely must be able to take the contrary view. I repeat, it’s what makes the world go round.

Teenagers are perfect to demonstrate the duality of human nature because, for all their contrariness, they’re also the people who, more than anyone, want to avoid appearing to be different or thinking differently to their peer group. A teenager is the most extreme example of this. If someone they admire, such as a celebrity or a friend, spouts an opinion, in the eyes of the teenager that opinion becomes law. This is why there’s a belief that it’s important for the child to have good role models. This also leads to a belief that teenagers can’t think for themselves. Maybe this is true – it’s all a learning process, like trying on different clothes to see if they fit and discarding them if they don’t. Unfortunately, a teenager is more likely to just follow-the-leader rather than consider whether they really do fit or suit.

True learning doesn’t take place until people make their own mistakes

I’m not having a go at teenagers here, though, because you’ll often find that age & wisdom has little impact on actions. There are many people in their 20s, 30s, 40s and beyond who are still acting the same way. People who buy newspapers and believe everything they read, for example. Again, everything written in the newspapers is down to someone else’s opinion. Oh the article may be factual, but the slant put on the article will reflect what the journalist or, more often, the editor, wants you to get from it. And for the most part, this will play on people’s fears. A recent newspaper headline, for example:

“Council Tax Could Rise by 600%”

It doesn’t say it will, just that it “could”. Unfortunately, most people will filter out the word “could” and buy the paper because the headline feeds their fear. This is what papers do, particularly tabloids. Fear sells. It makes me angry because it keeps people down, “in their place” and paralyses them, preventing them from fulfilling their true potential. It relegates them to a life of mediocrity and subservience and, often, fear, worry, doubt and misery.

It’s only my opinion, of course, but I think everyone is capable of and worth much, much more if only they would wake up and stop believing everything they’re told.

Rereading what I’ve just written, some might think my views are quite anarchic. They could certainly be interpreted that way, if taken to an extreme. It’s not what I’m hoping will happen, however. Rather, I want to spur people to think, think, think, THINK! And not just to think, but to start thinking differently.

Remember that there’s always more than one way of looking at the same situation, as I said earlier. I’m suggesting you start doing this whenever and wherever possible.

As an exercise, start questioning everything you read or hear. Ask:

  1. What would be the opposite point of view? Try it on for size.
  2. What does the writer want me to think? Do I really agree? If not, why not and what DO you think?


Maria Davies is a top sales presenter & success coach who works exclusively with women. Visit for a free download of her 101 Presentation Tips ebook & regular presentations trainings delivered by email.