There are Experts and then there are Outliers.

Experts devote years to learning an industry or a skillset. They follow processes and procedures handed down to them by previous Experts. This becomes their industry-accepted, well-worn path. They know what they know. The know what works and what doesn’t work.

Outliers, however, almost always start out as Non-Experts. They don’t know what they they don’t know. They are not locked into accepted theories, processes or dogma, accepted as fact by Experts. As a result, they pursue avenues Experts would never pursue – avenues the Experts have decided are dead ends. This causes Outliers to wander and take contrarian paths. And in wandering, Outliers are the ones who find solutions to problems Experts are never able to find, because Experts rarely wander or take contrarian paths.

This is why almost every revolutionary discovery is made by some Outlier.

After my radio interview with Dave Ramsey, CNN wrote a blistering piece on my research. Many “Study Experts”, “Experts” who had never seen my research or discussed it with me, weighed in. Almost every “Expert” derided my Study because I was an Academic Outlier who dared conduct a Study. Since then, my Study data has been validated by various 3rd parties, such as Wealth X nd Chris Hogan.

But I learned that I was not alone. There were many Outliers who were also derided by the “Experts”.

  • Leonardo da Vinci was an Outlier – He was a painter and sculptor who made many discoveries: Arteriosclerosis, that the heart had four chambers (not 2, as the Experts believed), that blood swirls in a vortex at the base of the Aorta, forcing the Aortic Valve to close. None of his discoveries were verified until 1968, roughly 450 years after da Vinci’s death.
  • Benjamin Franklin was on Outlier – He was a printer and politician who discovered that Lightning and Electricity were one in the same.
  • Charles Darwin was an Outlier – A Theologian, he defied the Experts and the Church by postulating the Theory of Evolution.
  • Nicola Tesla was an Outlier – Tesla discovered that electricity was omnipresent – it was all around us and he constructed a large electricity Receiver/Transmitter in Colorado, which enabled him to distribute electricity wirelessly. He called this Free Energy. When JP Morgan found out, he ceased all funding of Tesla, as much of Morgan’s wealth was tied to petroleum products. While Tesla’s Free Energy Device Design has been suppressed by the U.S. Government, six of his Free Energy Devices are nonetheless operating in a small town in Switzerland, made by a Mechanical Engineer who followed Tesla’s design.
  • Thomas Edison was an Outlier – He was the first to control the flow and distribution of electricity, something the Experts were unable to do.
  • Einstein was an Outlier – He discovered his Theory of Relativity daydreaming on a train, while commuting to work as a Patent Clerk.
  • Henry Ford was an Outlier – He was an upstart car maker who got his idea for an Assembly Line after visiting a slaughterhouse in Chicago, forever changing the way cars were manufactured.
  • Richard Branson was an Outlier – Branson wandered into the Music business and changed how the Industry sold records and discovered new talent.
  • Steve Jobs was an Outlier – He and Steve Wozniak were the first to employ the use of Icons and a Monitor in the initial personal computers they built.
  • Elon Musk is an Outlier – He had zero knowledge and expertise when he decided to become a Rocket Manufacturer. The Experts laughed at Musk’s “Reusable Rocket” idea.

Not everyone can be an Outlier. Outliers must have a very thick skin to suffer the slings and arrows of “Experts”, until they prove the “Experts” wrong and, in the process, wind up changing the world.

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Tom Corley

Tom Corley is an accountant, financial planner, public speaker and author of the books “Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals” and “RichKids: How to Raise Our Children to Be Happy and Successful in Life“.  Corley’s work has appeared on CNN, USA Today, The Huffington Post, SUCCESS Magazine, and many other media outlets and podcasts in the U.S. and 27 other countries. Tom is a frequent contributor to Business Insider and CNBC.

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