The Importance of Being Unreasonable

Would you consider yourself to be an unreasonable person? What would your friends, family and colleagues say? Surely you’d want them to answer with a resounding ‘no’. Surely you’d want them to confirm that of all the qualities you possess, being reasonable is one of them, because reasonable is good. Reasonable is likeable and easy to get along with. You’re never going to get any trouble from reasonable. However, reasonable just accepts and herein lies the problem.

What will you accept?

Welcome to the world of Counter Conventional Thinking. In this reality, it pays to be unreasonable. Have you ever noticed that amongst all of the people who change the world or experience phenomenal success there exists one common factor? They don’t think like everybody else! In fact, they’re on a completely different plain of consciousness. Whereas most people look at the world and see an endless stream of rules, obligations and boundaries, they see a playground where they can do what they like. What’s more, the counter conventional thinker doesn’t accept situations that are imposed upon them or that they’re life is going to be anything but what they want it to be.

It’s this difference in acceptance levels that really separates the reasonable from the unreasonable mind. We’re conditioned to believe that it’s reasonable to accept that life has limitations, that there’s a certain level beyond which we can’t go and that we should do as we’re told. A reasonable person just adapts to these ‘truths’ and works within the parameters that have been given to them. However, the unreasonable person does no such thing. Instead of accepting, they question and this defiance leads them to an insight that carries with it one of the keys to greatness.

Progress depends on the Unreasonable

Despite conditioning to the contrary, the world needs its unreasonable people. Where would we be if Gallileo accepted what the church wanted everybody to believe that the earth was the centre of the universe? Where would we be if the Wright brothers accepted that because of man’s lack of wings there was no way we could fly? And where would we be if Steve Jobs hadn’t demanded absolute perfection from everyone around him in the creation of his computers and phones? This insistence on completely ignoring what is considered reasonable is what leads to all of the great breakthroughs and discoveries of mankind. Therefore, positioning yourself in that space outside the boundaries of conventional thinking becomes an absolute MUST for anyone looking to maximise their potential.

How to become Unreasonable

The secret to becoming an unreasonable person may sound too easy to be true. All you have to do is BE YOURSELF. Now I’m sure you’ve heard this little piece of advice time and time again from Disney movies to personal development books, but in this case it rings true. However, the reasoning behind WHY it will transform you into an unreasonable maverick on the cutting edge of your field is something you may have overlooked.

The greatest irony of the reasonable/unreasonable debate is that it’s completely unreasonable to accept the world as it is! It’s only because living in a warped system is the norm for us that we view people who are true to their desires and dreams as unreasonable and possibly even selfish. It may be hard to digest, but our standards are all skewed. Surely any person who is true to themselves and their desires will honestly admit that they want more than the life that is presented to them? How could we not? We’re not here on this earth for the main purpose of making money to survive. We’re not here to work endless hours in jobs we secretly hate. And we’re not here on a never ending journey to consume more ‘stuff’. Ironically, it’s the reasonable people who’ve got it all wrong.

So when they tell you that you’re setting your sights way too high or that the world just doesn’t work that way, the worst thing you could do is actually listen to them. Just keep being true to what you want to do with your life. The world may call you unreasonable but it will thank you in the end.


Joe Barnes is the author of critically acclaimed ‘Screw the System: A Modern Guide to Greatness’ (www.screwthesystemnow.com/books) and runs the www.screwthesystemnow.com website. He’s committed to ‘unplugging’ people from the system’s reality and helping them to live the life that they want. He also works as a hypnotherapist and NLP practitioner.

21 Responses to The Importance of Being Unreasonable

  1. Dan Erickson says:

    I like the idea of being “yourself.”  I think we need to pick our battles based on our own beliefs.  Sometimes that might be unreasonable, but more often I think it should include reasoning with others. “Come let us reason together.”

  2. Absolutely fantastic article! What you are saying is so true. As a recovering reasonable person myself, I can attest that “going with the flow” will get you nowhere in life — at least nowhere you’d want to be.

    But it’s difficult to just “be yourself” when you’ve been reasonable for most of your life. It’s something I struggle with daily. You almost have to relearn who you are in the first place.

    A nice thing about that though, is that as you rediscover yourself,  you can improve upon what you find.

    Thanks for the great post.


  3. hepsoj says:

    To reinforce your point I wonder about the word unreasonable. Perhaps uncompromising would be better? Having reasoned what is reasonable to do without unreasonable constraints. Life is a playground to be explored within reason.

  4. Lee Ferguson says:

    Joe, I absolutely love this!  I have probably heard, “I can’t believe you’re being so unreasonable!” more in my adult life than I did as a child! Ha!  Thank you for writing this, it makes me feel better!

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  6. KnowJoe19 says:

    Thanks Trevor – much appreciated! 
    ‘Recovering reasonable person’ – I like it!!

    Will check out your blog – sounds good.

  7. KnowJoe19 says:

    Yes, uncomprimising works just as well. I just got attached to ‘unreasonable’ after I was inspired by the George Bernard Shaw quote,

    ‘Reasonable men adapt themselves to the world,
    Unreasonable men adapt the world to themselves,
    That’s why all progress depends on unreasonable men.’

    Thanks for comment hepsoj

  8. KnowJoe19 says:

    Thanks Lee, really pleased you liked it.
    Yeah, I’ve heard that a lot too!

  9. KnowJoe19 says:

    Thanks Dan, it’s funny how so much in life coes back to having the courage to ‘be yourself’

  10. Being “unreasonable” often times goes along with having a passion so deep that most other people are unable to comprehend it. I love how you point out that it’s up to us as to how much we are willing to accept, and how much we are willing to push for. The only person who determines your limits is yourself!

  11. Pam Sallegue says:

    You always have to be “YOU”, you don’t need to pretend and always go with the flow. People will know you even more if you know how to take side, and defend what you think is right, but of course always do it in a nice manner. Great blog! Helping people realize the importance of being unreasonable. :)

  12. KnowJoe19 says:

    Thanks Michael, appreciate the comments. Great to see you ‘got’ where I was coming from.

  13. KnowJoe19 says:

    Thanks Pam, really glad you liked it. Cool blog name by the way – Optimist Creed – like it!

  14. Greg Narayan says:

    This is awesome Joe! All I needed to kick off the day.

  15. KnowJoe19 says:

    Thanks Greg

  16. Pam Sallegue says:

     Hi there Joe! Thanks a lot, I appreciate the compliment. I’m very new to blogging and writing, but I believe I’m going to learn a lot from this (writing and reading), and your blog is one of my inspirations. :)

  17. KnowJoe19 says:

    Thanks Pam, that’s nice of you to say. You’ve probably checked it out already but if you haven’t, they’ve got a great ‘WRITING’ section under ARTICLES on the tab above (on this site). This gives some great tips about blogging and writing. One article I think is really good is this http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/george-orwells-5-rules-for-effective-writing/ . Hope it helpes.

  18. Pam Sallegue says:

    That’s really cool Joe! Thanks a lot, you’ve been a great help to me.. :)

  19. Ghandi says:

    A lot of people are unreasonable not for the sake of self growth or some major belief; rather they are unreasonable only to be an ass to everyone around them. That’s why the word “uncompromising” would have better suited this article because to me that signifies having a worthy cause that you’re fighting for and no one will tell you otherwise.

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