Everything interesting happens out on the fringes

My son during his punk rock days

Everything interesting happens out on the fringes.

Admit it. It’s true.

Artists continuously challenge normal convention to come up with new, innovative expressions. They, along with  chefs, scientists, performers, and other passionate people thrive out on the fringes. We as humans instinctively are drawn to them. They are the quintessential “cool”.

Take the stodgy world of network television for example. While regulated, every generation of new shows have been attacked by conservatives as immoral and sure to doom the minds of the young people. The industry constantly pushes away from center to the near fringes, which is the only way they can keep the attention of their audience. See, we naturally are drawn away from our center.

Can you imagine living in a society where the conservatives don’t feel threatened? That would be one bland world. Let them clamor, so we’ll know that we are really living.

The most interesting music, the most interesting foods, the most interesting art, the best experiences of our lives are on the fringe.

For me, the first taste of Vietnamese snails, French tartare, English black pudding, Korean silk worms, or even real sashimi were all “living” experiences that I will never forget. Live!

One of my sons is an adrenalin junky and a bit fringy. As a young teenager, he was arrested for jumping between the ledges of two buildings three stories high. When he played in a punk rock band, they insisted on singing a crass Blink 182 song about being molested by a grandfather. Tough to take as a parent? Definitely. Interesting? Certainly. He’s now a straight A student in college with his most conservative girlfriend to date.

My entrepreneur spirit is in many ways is a reflection of my desire to test the fringes: Take the risk and figure out a way to start something from nothing and create eventual tangible value. For me, that’s living.

Everyone has a comfortable center. From there, let’s challenge ourselves outward, farther out to the edges. Your heart might pump a little faster. Your mouth might become a bit drier in anticipation. Yeah, your life will just be more interesting.