Daily Inspiration: “Conventional wisdom is often wrong. When in doubt, opt out!”

Category under: Blog, Daily Inspiration, Growth

“Conventional wisdom is often wrong. When in doubt, opt out!” – Futurist Jim Carroll

Today’s inspiration comes directly from Trend 6 of my “23 Trends for 2023” series: “Opting out”

To opt out is to choose not to participate in something.

Right now, the conventional wisdom – the wisdom of crowds – seems to be that if we are headed for a recession in 2023, we’d better hunker down, scale back, slow down, take it easy, be cautious, reduce spending, defer our actions, wait it out, take things slow, put things on pause.

And that is just plain idiotic. History tells us so – because those who choose to opt out of conventional wisdom are those who win.

The trend that will unfold in 2023 has to do with the decision by many to choose not to participate in the current or upcoming recession, economic downturn, or whatever we want to call this period of economic uncertainty.  We don’t really know if we are in a recession – one moment we seem to be, the next moment not. Clearly, it’s pretty volatile out there and uncertainty rules our future. In the context of that, it’s important to focus on the long-term goal, not the short-term volatility.

Because history tells us so!

Several of my talks in 2022 focused on this theme, and used some powerful insight gathered during my preparatory research based on a theme I was already sharing after the 2001 and 2008 economic downturns: long-term winners are those who chose not to participate in the downturn! It seems simple but is pretty critical – when uncertainty stares you in the face, double down on innovation and transformation, and refocus on the long-term view!

Here are two key things we learned from the 2008-09 global economic meltdown. First, ‘winners’ grew at a 17% compound annual growth rate during the downturn compared to 0% among the ‘losers.’

Second, those ‘winners’ locked in gains of 13% CAGR in the years after the downturn compared to the ‘losers’ stalling at 1%.


In other words, by opting out of the common narrative – ‘it’s a recession, cut back, hunker down and make sure you ride it out’ – and by choosing instead to go into future full throttle, they emerged much better positioned for that future.

It’s a powerful lesson. Watch this short clip from my keynote in London, UK earlier this year around this theme – and my story about what goes wrong if you fall prey to a mindset of negativity driven by economic gloom.

The story in the video is key to my ‘innovate for the future despite uncertainty’ message – it’s early 2009,  and the global economic meltdown from the crash of 2007-08 is well underway. I’m on my way to see my client Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids, Iowa – and the radio is advertising this book of doom and gloom on the radio. That didn’t sit right with me – and so I began to explain why! Watch the video to get the gist of the story – this is important stuff with respect to dealing with doom and gloom.

Bottom line: if you’ve got a recession now staring you in the face it’s a pretty brutal time to think about the future. it’s a pretty easy time to be depressed and spend your time focusing on the negativity around you. Yet that is absolutely the wrong thing to do.

So what do you?

Don’t do that. It’s simple!

Refuse to take part in the recession.

Opt out.

Just decide it’s not for you.

Maybe it’s for other people, but it’s just not for you.

“I’m just not into that!” Mindset matters!

Because the future is about growth, opportunity, the future, trends, and fascinating new opportunities.

Because you don’t need to take part in a recession if you don’t want to.

History tells us so.

Opt out!



THE FUTURE BELONGS TO THOSE WHO ARE FAST features the best of the insight from Jim Carroll’s blog, in which he
covers issues related to creativity, innovation and future trends.