Want to be Innovative? Embrace the Unknown.

Photo by Matt Palmer on Unsplash

“When cynicism becomes the default language, playfulness and invention become impossible. Cynicism scours through a culture like bleach, wiping out millions of small, seedling ideas.”

An inherent skepticism is critical to keep us from falling in with modern day phrenologists and conservatives, but it needs to be balanced with that often-neglected sense of wonder. Skepticism without wonder sets us up for a life limited to the proven ideas of others. Or, as Carl Sagan once described, “You become a crotchety old person convinced that nonsense is ruling the world.”

A Catalyst for Innovation

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” is Arthur C. Clarke’s 3rd law, explaining our typical awe when we encounter a new technology for the first time. And just as a new advancement may seem magical to us, often that first spark of a new idea comes from a similar pursuit of the unknown.

“In the dusk of the evening as I stroked Macak’s back, I saw a miracle which made me speechless with amazement. Macak’s back was a sheet of light, and my hand produced a shower of crackling sparks loud enough to be heard all over the house … My mother seemed charmed — ‘Stop playing with the cat,’ she said. ‘He might start a fire.’ But I was thinking abstractly. Is Nature a gigantic cat? If so, who strokes its back?… I cannot exaggerate the effect of this marvelous night on my childish imagination. Day after day I have asked myself, what is electricity?”

When we’re young, we’re often surrounded by the magical and the mysterious. We play pretend and listen to fairy tales. We read about superheroes and believe in all sorts of fantasies.

Look for What Doesn’t Make Sense

“The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.” — Eden Phillpotts

How often do you hear someone say, that something just doesn’t make sense?

“The secret of life is to appreciate the pleasure of being terribly, terribly deceived.”

Thanks, as always, for reading. If you enjoyed this or have any suggestions, please let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you. And if you found this helpful, I’d appreciate if you could help me share with more people. Cheers!

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Jake Wilder

Jake Wilder

I don’t know where I’m going. But at least I know how to get there.