The Natural Order of Things

John Naughton posted this quote from Douglas Adams on his Memex blog HERE.

“Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.”

I agree with the principle but not necessarily the exact ages. It made me think of the “Bell Curve” or as one person in audience corrected me, “It’s a Gaussian Distribution Curve” I have since discovered (stats not being a subject of which I retained any knowledge) it’s also known as normal distribution – or extra normal if you wish. In this case it shows the Diffusion of Innovation Theory.

As Jim Lovell (of Apollo 13 fame) said, “There are people who make things happen, there are people who watch things happen, and there are people who wonder, ‘what happened’?.” In Dentistry I think that most new graduates tend to be to the left of the midline – they are curious, learners, enquiring about the world into which they have been released so they become Early Adopters and Early Majority. As time passes, excitement is tempered by experience in many who want a “simple” life, they get into groove, which becomes a rut which is of course only a grave with the ends kicked out. They slide gradually to the right of the curve and settle into the Late Majority (watching what happens) or eventually The Laggards (what happened?).

Others get a handle on things and hit their straps later on, often realising that their jobs with businesses on the right of the midline are taking them nowhere and so they head in their own direction, start enquiring and looking into alternatives, revelling in their curiosity and enthusiasm. The tide can carry you to the left but it can be hard work and it can sweep past you and, as your energy wanes, you find yourself drifting backwards to the right being passed by “the bright young things”.

I have seen this happen with dental societies that are started with energy, flourish and then consolidate and eventually wither, plus contemporaries who finish up putting in the years until they can take their pension and get out. Other dentists I know have kept striving, looking over the edge, investing in themselves and their businesses loving what they do right until they hang up their handpieces.

  • I love working with Early Adopters and Early Majority people because they keep me on my toes.
  • Innovators tend to burn me out, but that’s fine because it’s a great ride. a blast whilst it lasts.
  • The Late Majority can be fun to push and often convert into “Earlies”.
  • Laggards just can’t see the point of anything.

 

09/2020

Published by Alun Rees

Dental Business Coach. Analyst. Troubleshooter. Consultant. Writer. Presenter. Broadcaster.

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