Do You Think BIG And Creatively In Your Personal Development? 

By Ange Fonce

"A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds." ~ Mark Twain

I have a lot in common with the above quote... especially the “idea”...   and being a “crank” and often although not always... the "succeed" part... so let us now deal with the question...

Do You Think BIG And Creatively?

Let us start from this point first... as it very much "connects" with the first question?

How Do You Get A Big Idea? 

I want to talk about and “share” with you two recent books I have read...  Imagine by Jonah Lehrer and Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson... and what they had to say about “creativity” and “innovation.” 

And what they say... in both cases had a lot to do with “how” the widely accepted way to be "creative" was good in “theory”... yet rarely in “practice” in the REAL World. 

The history of "innovation" is not rich with "free association" exercise and hug filled "brainstorming sessions"... oops cannot say that now... politically incorrect... "brain showers sessions" is politically correct now... "Doh"... as Homer Simpson would say... who come up with that “idea?” 

In "reality"... it is rather more of an untamed story of accidents and errors... delusions and suspicions... and the great random havoc of the "human experience." 

As both books make the case... that a lot of what you need to do is to get a "truly great idea" or to make something "great" and "new" happen... seems to happen outside of “your control”... as Seth Godin pointed out in his book... Unleashing The Idea Virus... 

“A great idea is one that spreads like a virus and others can buy into and brings about a complete culture change and a new way of thinking and behaving.”

Some of historys most famous flashes of genius... including for our purposes... some of the greatest inventions of all time... turn out to look more like mere luck than anything else to the hapless "creator" with a deadline... am I right? 

No dear reader... I am not.

Because it turns out there ARE ways to increase your “creative thinking"... both in "speed" and "quality"... and anybody can do it too... because if I can do it... as a young boy I was labelled "stupid"... you can do too.

One way... which is to simply "stop" being such a “cry baby” about "criticism." 

Criticism... the "constructive" kind... does not stifle "creativity" or quality "innovation"... it actually helps "encourage" it... and there is more... here is another one... 

For instance... 

Fail Big And Fail Fast... 

Like Tomas Edison trying 6,000 ways to light a light bulb comes to mind... he made 5,999 mistakes and made it "right" once... the rest is history and the World at the time... "transformed." 

Make mistakes... and I have made many... some WHOPPERS... I can assure you... it does not JUST mean that you will be whittling down to the "best outcome"... sometimes "mistakes" can be openings to a "success" you never ever "considered" or even "thought" off... "mistakes" themselves can often be "new opportunities" to explore... to "know" and "understand" what is there... Science itself often progresses this way... new "knowledge"... new "understanding"... new “ways” of doing things... new “inventions”... through "creative mistakes."

It turns out... says Johnson... making obvious "rookie mistakes" in the "creative process" actually "encourages" people to "think" more "creatively" to find "solutions" to "problems" and "issues."

There has been many "research studies" done where "problem solving" groups were randomly planted with a “secret idiot" who intentionally gave “stupid answers”... and those groups were faster at "solving the puzzles" than the "perfectionist" groups... were “everything” had to be “perfect” and they got “nowhere”... VERY SLOWLY... and “solved nothing” or “produced” very little of "value" and of any “benefit” to anyone... and related to that is this... 

The Power Of "Q"...

Lehrer writes about "how" someone was trying to figure out what makes for a hit Broadway musical... he looked at as many elements as he could line up... including the "degree of relationships" between the collaborators who put the show together... those shows where the collaborators all knew each other well and had spent a lot of time in the business were assigned a "high "Q" factor"... those that were working together for the first time or who were all inexperienced had a "low "Q" factor." 

What the researcher found was... almost across the board was that very "high "Q" and "low "Q" productions were both critically and commercial unsuccessful... yet when the "intermediate "Q" was present... where there was a mix of "experience" and "new talent"... there was "familiarity" or lack thereof...  had a remarkably record at producing hit shows with long runs... commercial success... and high acclaim... the lesson says Lehrer... is that "mixed collaborative groups" do better than "all newbie" or "all expert" groups. 

All "expert" or "all new" is "familiar"... and is of course... the most "comfortable"... and that there is where the "problem" lays... being in the "comfort zone" of what is "familiar"... is not the most "productive" or "effective" way... not by a long shot... and "related" to that is this... 

The Value Of "Outsider" Knowledge... 

Now if you are "thinking"... 

"What is outsider knowledge?"

Let me explain... 

When you sit down with someone to "solve a problem"...  he or she is likely to call in all the usual suspects... "blaming... we cannot do this... your fault"... blah... blah... blah... all the "pessimistic thinking" and "feeling" of the situation will be brought up straight away... not a "healthy" place to start from to "solve a problem"... using the "pessimistic" to find an "optimistic" outcome... both Lehrer and Johnson drive this point home with the example of

The story goes... that drug company Eli Lilly was awash in cash from the selling of Prozac... and they needed the next best thing... and Research and Development was coming up dry with "new ideas"... so why not said someone... put the most stubborn Research  and Development questions on the web and see if someone else could come up with answers? 

And so the site was born... and every Research and Development "challenge" came with a "monetary reward" some as high as $1 million... they got nothing at first and then answers started to trickle in. 

What was amazing is that some of the "cleverest solutions" came from people working outside their fields... like chemists solving biology problems... physicists solving chemistry problems and more.

And that leads to what might be the biggest "creativity secret" of all... embracing "chaos" and random "connectivity"... and "looking outside" your narrow "field of vision"... in other words... you getting out of your “comfort zone”... and go “exploring”...  some of my "best ideas" have comes from other areas of "expertise" that are "completely different" to my own field of "expertise"...  the "real formula" for becoming "super creative" in your field goes something like this... 

Step One... 

Fill your "brain" with lots of "experiences" and "inputs" of all kinds... "related" and "unrelated" to the "type of idea" you want to "discover"... or "develop"... then await "frustration" and "chaos."

Step Two... 

Become so "obsessive" about the "idea"... your hygiene and other social skills seem in jeopardy... and then try to bump into people... lots of them and "talk" and "share" about anything "related" and "unrelated" to your "idea" and see what comes up.

Step Three... 

Accept accolades and large checks as a reward for the "idea" that comes up or you "develop" to "fruition"... after you have worked over the "idea" to make it "great" of course... because few ideas are "prime time" ready from the outset... and have to be "invested" in...  to “refine” them and make them "viable" and "useful"... Dyson Hoovers are a great example of this... the "cyclonic action" that is employed in their hoovers... Dyson looked at Cyclones in Nature and wondered if he could employ Natures Cyclonic Action... in a hoover... and the rest is now history... he "revolutionised" the "conventional" hoover with a whole "new principle" of "suction power."

You can say the "idea" was already there in Nature... Dyson "thought" about it and come up with a "whole new way" of employing the "physics" of Natures Idea... Cyclonic Action... so we as Humans can "hoover" far more "effectively" with less "waste"... i.e.. there is no need for hoover bags... and you will be "amazed" at "how" many "human ideas" have been "poached" from Nature which has already "done it."

Do you "know" the "aerodynamic physics" of "sharks skin"... is now being employed in the "aerodynamic design" of modern cars and modern aircraft wings ?

I know I am simplifying here... this an article after all and not a full on book... like the aforementioned books... what they both say though is that "great ideas" come "randomly" and "unpredictably"... you have little "control" over that... yet you CAN speed up the "process" by "creating" an "environment" where those "connections" can happen... that means NOT trying to be the genius "working alone"... in the dim light of your own brilliance.

Instead... tap into the "creative energy" of others around you... make your "ideas" collide with others... and see what happens... and I will us the "analogy" of the "carbon atom" here... 

How Did It Become The Basis Of All Life On Earth?

Simple... the "carbon atom" has "4 valence electrons" that make it "connect" easily to other "carbon atoms"... from those "random connections"... we got everything from humming birds to elephants and all that there is in between... including us Humans!

And like "carbon atoms"... the "great human creators" it turns out... are primed to "connect"...  they "fill up" on "open ended stuff" and then bump into others... with "stuff" worth "connecting too"... suddenly something "happens" and it all comes together... and I myself could use so many "examples" of this "connecting" with others... the problem is I would not be writing an article for you now... instead I would be writing a book! 

One or the other of the authors calls this "phase lock"... the "feeling of an idea" coming in a "flash"... and being “born”... and there Ladies and Gentlemen... you have it... the “essence” of “ideas” and “creative thinking!”

And I will add this myself...

“It is not about “thinking” outside the box... it is about getting “outside” of your “comfort zone” and “connecting” with others and letting the “sparks” fly of “creative energy” and seeing “what happens!”

There is a lot more in the books... and a lot more that is "interesting" for me to talk about here... and I am way past that point where a more impatient and uncurious reader is sure to write in and tell me to stop. 

So... I will... other wise I will be writing a book... many books... and there will be readers screaming at me... because their "brains hurt"... STOP PLEASE!

Now.. go "check out" the above books... I "think" you will "like them" and will give you lots of "ideas" to "think" about and "connect" with!

Remember... Intelligence is a "valuable asset"... so do not "waste it"... always "invest" to "personally develop" yourself to make you... BETTER!

Thank you and may you enjoy a Prosperous and Dynamic day!

Yours Sincerely

Ange is an  Author... Speaker... and Dynamic Peak Performance Personal Development Consultant... and Humanistic Counselling Psychologist who works with men and women on line and real world who desire to "personally develop" themselves and their "relationships" to become Dynamic Lifers... "creators" of their own life and wealth!

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