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If Babies Come From Storks, Where Do New Ideas Come From?

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I met someone new last week at lunch. We were introduced by a mutual friend. Wow, she had great energy, insights, and perspective. We spent two hours sharing ideas over Kung Pao Chicken. One of the things we discussed was the challenge in getting people in our respective organizations to dream bigger. To aim higher.

The difficulty with dreaming bigger is that we dream in the realm of what we know. So if what we dream about is limited to what we know, and what we assume, and what we have experienced, then our dreams will be fairly similar to the reality that we have been part of up to this point.

My dad used to help people solve problems and generate ideas for a living. Cool job. His theory is that when we are looking at an issue, thoughts about the issue generally fall into three categories. 1) Things we precisely know. 2) Things we approximately know. 3) And things that are apparently irrelevant.

It’s three o’clock is something that we precisely know. It’s supposed to be  cloudy today is something we relatively know. And things that are apparently irrelevant kind of speak for themselves when discussing any specific issue.

Here’s the deal. The apparently irrelevant ideas, the seeming ridiculous suggestions, and the hair-brained thoughts; that’s where ‘new’ is born. How many times has the great idea come to life from someone’s silly comment.

If we want bigger dreams, new ways, and ‘impossible’ accomplishments, then we should spend more time cultivating the absurd, irrelevant, and crazy, and less time on the what we’ve done, what we know, and what’s already been tried.

Subscribe to: Pete Hanson’s Daily Blog.

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