I’m Ozan Varol.
I’m a rocket scientist turned author and law professor.
But at heart, I’m a contrarian.
Contrarian /noun/. A person who takes up a contrary position, especially a position opposed to the majority view, regardless of how unpopular it may be.
Dick Fosbury was a contrarian. You may not have heard of him, but if you’ve ever watched an Olympic high jump event, you’ve seen his technique in action. In the 1968 summer olympics, Fosbury dazzled the world by flipping the high jump script. Instead of jumping face first parallel to the bar like everyone had done before him, he jumped back first.
His approach at first invited ridicule. One newspaper called him the “world’s laziest high jumper.” But he proved his critics wrong by taking home the gold medal—by doing the exact opposite of what everyone else was doing.
The Fosburys of the world are a rare breed. We’re genetically programmed to follow the herd. Thousands of years ago, conformity to our tribe was essential to our survival. If you didn’t conform, you’d be ostracized, rejected, or worse, left for dead.
Not anymore. Continued success in the modern world requires continued innovation. The ability to disrupt established methods and find new ways of looking at old ideas is one of the most sought-after qualifications in all fields.
It’s a super power that allows you to be right when others are wrong.
Yet this super power is becoming increasingly rare. We’ve been brainwashed from an early age to toe the line, use # 2 pencils, and color between the lines.
Good boy. Good girl.
But here’s the hard truth.
You can’t get ahead if you’re simply following.
The status quo can be a straitjacket. It can hide nuances and obscure possibilities.
Escaping the status quo requires a fundamental rewiring of our brain and a reprogramming of our approach to life.
This isn’t just a “think different” platitude. Thinking is one thing, but doing or saying the opposite of everyone else is something else. Fosbury didn’t just think about jumping differently than his competitors. He did it. He challenged the status quo and found a better method.
Although the term contrarian is often used in the investing context, this website is not about investing. In these pages, you’ll find new ways of looking at old ideas from fields as diverse as art, astronomy, politics, and psychology. You’ll learn from famous contrarians who excelled in life precisely because they refused to sing the same tune as the crowd.
When you learn how to challenge the status quo, you won’t just change the way you view the world.
You’ll be empowered to change the world itself.
They say I should end this page with a pitch to join the website and sign up for my weekly newsletter, The Contrarian.
But I’ll do the opposite. Here are reasons not to sign up:
- The newsletter will call into question all sorts of conventional wisdom.
- The claims will be backed up by research or case study.
- The newsletter won’t tell you what’s right or what’s wrong.
- There won’t be any simple answers. Innovative thinking is hard.
- You may begin to look at life differently.
- Your friends and family may think you’re crazy.
- You may be inspired to get off the couch and take action.
- Additional side effects include sweating, headaches, and diarrhea.
If these haven’t dissuaded you, click here to sign up for The Contrarian (here’s an example).