Two Cents: Forget about it

6 September 2012

A long flight can make you do crazy things.  Once you’re done with all the good movies, things get desperate and you find yourself staring down the barrel of some pretty average films to choose from.

For some, it comes to a point where you have to suck it up and watch whatever gets you through while for others it's a time to indulge in some secret guilty pleasures as I did. Enter Men In Black.

Let me digress. What a ridiculous movie. Second of all, how awesome is the memory zapper thing? In my opinion, the memory zapper thing could be, hands down, the most useful tool for anyone wanting to develop their creative and strategic thinking. Why you ask? Let me explain.

The first few years of your career is a valuable time. You learn the ways of the world, how things work, the boundaries, and what seems to come easiest to most - the things you can’t do.

It's for this reason that I wish I forgot the first few years of my career. Not because it was bad (it was awesome, I loved it) but because when it comes to ideation and creativity it has made me blinkered and cynical, and I hate that.

I’m a pretty blue sky guy - some would say "off with the fairies" - but even I manage to let my so called "wisdom" and "experience" convince me out of something I should be excited about. The functional, executional brain kicks in and immediately shuts a great idea down before it’s had time to scratch the surface. I call these 'thoughts mind trolls', and let me tell you now, they are your own worst enemy.

The sad thing is that it's not just me. The majority of people in the industry are bred on a strict diet of process and structure. Quite simply, everyone is infected and to make matters worse, there is no cure. What has been learnt cannot be un-learnt... unless you have a memory zapper thing.

We have a real problem in this industry with people plagued by these mind trolls. They breed a dormant army of negative Nancys who slip into brainstorms under the radar and specialise in shutting down ideas, offering no alternative solution. If you're saying “but”, “as if” and “we can't”, more than “what if we” “lets” or “how cool would it be?”, then this may be you.

It's for this reason that the ability to forget everything you know is one of the most valuable creative and strategic qualities you can ever own. Wisdom and experience has a time and place but sometimes, a bit of naivety and immaturity can reign supreme.

Let’s also acknowledge that Will Smith has huge ears.

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