The playwright George Bernard Shaw said, “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: The unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

If this was simply true, success would just mean imposing your will on other people. That’s not progress.

Creatives, innovators, and revolutionaries sometimes share the trait of being disagreeable. This isn’t the only way to do things.

If you have a vision to improve something, overpowering those around you into your version of progress is not your only option. In this day and age real progress comes when we collaborate in great groups and the best ideas are aggregated to the top of the pile. Regardless of who originated them.

Engineers improve and grow when they are working in a safe environment. Where it’s safe to share an idea. Safe to sound stupid. Safe to sound risky. Safe to push boundaries.

HOWEVER… We shouldn’t all agree. Ideas are improved by bumping them off reality and having others poke holes in your theory.

Find a great group that helps you grow as an engineer. Find a group that is filled with great people who make you feel like they enjoy listening to your ideas. Maybe educating you as to why something won’t work. Maybe it’s why they think your idea won’t work. Make sure their reasoning is valid. Push back if you disagree.

Use your intuition to sniff out dogmas of doing things “just because”.

Look for qualified advice. That means seeking out people who know the topic.

A lot of times you need to think bigger to solve a problem. Look for opportunities to go up one meta level. Be disagreeable, agreeable, whatever suits your personal style.  Always be respectful. Enjoy the process!