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  • Writer's pictureDavid Fiore


Updated: Jan 21, 2022

Yes! Throw it away! It’s not good, you only think it is.

And that’s because every one of us tucks away learnings from every day that help us solve problems in the future. We call on those learnings closest to the surface when we first encounter a challenge.

This is a survival technique we have learned over eons of human history.

Here’s a modern example. Your 6-month old is inconsolable until you start singing The Wheels on the Bus song. Suddenly he’s rapt and his wailing stops. Why? No idea. But it worked and you log it away.

In your mind you say to yourself, “The Wheels on the Bus, I’m brilliant.”

But there’s a problem with formulaic solutions like this – especially ones we don’t understand. They become trite and ineffective. The next time junior starts screaming, you no doubt start singing The Wheels on the Bus. But it doesn’t work this time and he gets louder. Now you’re under pressure and your mind is scrambling for something, anything to alleviate the problem. So you start singing the song louder.

Suddenly, The Wheels on the Bus is no longer the brilliant, innovative solution it once was.

Two points here. One, the first idea you have to answer a complex challenge is probably the one closest to the surface. And it’s highly likely that many other people will also leap to that very same first-out-of-the-brain solution. If your goal is to be unique, you must recognize the likelihood that your first idea will be a common one, and throw it away. Doesn’t matter how much you love it, it’s not new.

Throw. It. Away.

Then clear your mind and come back at the problem anew.

The second point is that adding the immovable pressure of a ridiculous deadline on top of the people who are tackling concepts is self-defeating if you want great, fresh ideas. Because when you force ideators to come up with quick solutions, their solutions will be like everyone else’s. Watch this for proof:

I never get tired of this video.

When concepters operate under the pressure of time we become problem dousers, not dreamers, and we frantically stab at the old solutions that worked before because we need a solution NOW. Please allow the time we all need to be great.

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