There's a popular view in the startup world that some of the best founders are contrarians. This idea was spearheaded by PayPal founder Peter Thiel, who was also an early investor in Facebook. For those unfamiliar with the term, it's someone who rejects popular opinion and in doing so, is able to create exceptionally successful products. If this opinion is truly the key factor to a strong entrpreneur, then I have a future Mark Zuckerberg on my hands.
Maisie is the ultimate contrarian. Here is a list of things she's opposed this week: that when you run out of blueberries while on a walk, you should be able to have more even if you're blocks from home, that the TV works even after you push the off button, that you cannot fit her and three babies into her toy car, that 9 comes after 6, that someone you are talking to on FaceTime can pick you up to hold you. All of these items, when I've told her can't or don't exist or occur, solicited a confident "no" from her.
Remember when I naively thought I could convince Maisie to not say no by introducing other words? Remember when I pushed the power of yes? I'm starting to be glad I let her be her own person.
You see, instead, for Maisie, "no" is a power word, not a word of weakness or defeat. My daughter sees a world of infinite possibilities. A world not confined by convention.
Maybe it's having a toddler or trying to manage three businesses or doing renovations on a new home, or all of the above, but I'm starting to have a renewed appreciation for the word no. Instead of seeing it like I once did, as a conversation stopper, I'm beginning to view it as an idea launcher. However, the contrarian view of challenging the accepted norm is the most fruitful though when you can finally learn which things are worth opposing and which are not. Life experience can help you with that decision. For that reason, I have a bit of an edge over Maisie.
Here's my favorite thing with contrarians, or most importantly, my tiny contrarian. Just when you think nothing is right, that there's no hope, they say yes. And it's even more rewarding.