Like conventional thinkers, unconventional thinkers need mentors in order to grow and expand, to teach them what their gifts are, and to help them hone them. The problem is that they can’t find such mentors within the conventional community. The school system doesn’t promote unconventional thinking, and our current economic and social structures don’t support it. Most parents are too fearful to encourage their children to be different in any way. So, most unconventional thinkers end up frustrated and unfulfilled. They hide out and never let their gifts into the world.  

Unconventional thinkers rarely find mentoring through formal education, but they can find it informally. I spent a lot of my life reading books, attending seminars and seeking out my own teachers and experts to help me learn what I needed to know. Fortunately, we now have the Internet which has given voice to people who never had a voice before, and a lot of these new voices are unconventional thinkers. Though most of us outliers have spent our lives living away from the crowd, we need those connections to flourish fully into our gifts and who we are.

Say for instance, your gift as an unconventional thinker is to see the big picture. You look at a current societal problem, like drug trafficking, and you can see all the broader implications of that problem and the network of issues that need to be resolved (addiction, poverty in drug-producing countries, corruption, etc.). You may even have big ideas and proposals about how these issues can be tackled. But as the big picture person, you may not have the handle on detail and logistics that others have. In this case, you need to build an eco-system of those who believe in your ideas that can support you in implementing them.

Many of us outliers and unconventional thinkers have not been great at working with others or forming communities, often because the communities that surround us have tried to coerce us to conform to their ways of thinking. But when we go it alone, our power and impact is limited. We have to learn to create those eco-systems, those communities that can exponentially expand our reach and impact.

This is critically important because the only ones who will be able to create significant change in our society and our world are those who operate outside of the prevalent community consciousness, the unconventional thinkers. As outliers, we are not deeply embedded into the norms of society, so we are able to see possibilities that conventional thinkers cannot see. We have that different “observation point” of a dot that’s not clumped with all the other dots. And now, because technology can connect us, unconventional thinkers can form communities and partnerships to mentor and support one another in a bigger way than ever before.