Can you guess who created more failed prototypes before succeeding: the inventor of the bullet train or the creator of the Dyson vacuum cleaner? The answer may surprise you. It wasn't the engineer behind the marvel of modern transport, but James Dyson, the latter, who created a whopping 5,127 prototypes over 15 years before perfecting his design. This anecdote perfectly encapsulates the essence of what it means to be a true 'original' -- individuals that stand out as unique thinkers, transforming new ideas into reality. Their path to success, however, isn't as straightforward as you might think.
Let's dive into three unexpected yet highly effective habits of these originals, shedding light on the paradoxical strategies they employ to fuel their creativity and success.
1. Embracing the Unexpected Virtue of Procrastination
It might sound counterintuitive, but putting off tasks until the last minute can often work in favour of original thinkers. Yes, procrastination, the archenemy of productivity, can be a powerful catalyst for creativity.
Data from my research highlights an intriguing trend. Individuals who moderately procrastinate demonstrated greater creative thinking compared to those who hurried to complete tasks. It turns out that delaying the finalization of an idea creates a 'sweet spot,' prompting divergent thinking and fostering creative breakthroughs. So, next time you procrastinate, don't chastise yourself; you might be on the brink of a Eureka moment.
Take a deep breath, let your mind wander, and you might find creativity in the most unexpected places.
2. Harnessing Doubt and Fear as Catalysts for Change
Contrary to popular belief, originals harbour doubts and fears just like the rest of us. Their strength lies not in the absence of these emotions, but in the ability to channel them productively.
Consider Martin Luther King Jr., who had doubts directly until the moment he delivered his iconic 'I Have a Dream' speech. However, instead of succumbing to self-doubt, he channelled it into 'idea doubt.' This creative discomfort pushed him to continually refine his speech, enabling him to deliver a version that resonated powerfully with his audience.
To leverage this practice in your life, shift your perspective from self-doubt to idea doubt. Embrace fear and uncertainty as signs that your ideas are pushing boundaries and believe in the potential they hold for transformation.
3. The Volume Game – More is More
When it comes to ideation, quantity champions over quality. Original thinkers understand the power of numbers, knowing that a single success often emerges from a sea of experimental failures. They willingly expose themselves to a cycle of trial and error, relentlessly probing, testing, and tweaking until they hit the jackpot.
Remember James Dyson and his 5,127 'failed' prototypes? His perseverance and relentless pursuit of a solution exemplify this strategy. To adopt this strategy in your work, release the fear of failure. Each idea, whether it succeeds or fails, puts you one step closer to your ultimate breakthrough.
In a nutshell, the path to original thinking is dotted with unconventional strategies. Embracing procrastination, channelling doubt and fear into constructive action, and generating a high volume of ideas can guide you on a journey toward originality. Remember, creativity thrives on perseverance, and innovation demands courage. They might take the road less travelled, but, as Robert Frost famously penned, that's what has made all the difference.