June 13, 2013
Jack Covert Selects: Jack Covert Selects - Unthink
Unthink: Rediscover Your Creative Genius by Erik Wahl, Crown Business, 256 pages, $23.00, Hardcover, June 2013, ISBN 9780770434007
Remember when you were a child, and could spend each day creating a whole new adventure for you and your friends? There were no boundaries to the stories you could dream up. Obvious impossibilities had sensible answers, because you could simply make them up. As we got older our brains took on more information, and as we compartmentalized that information fewer possibilities revealed themselves. The solutions to problems became necessarily provable, and our energies were spent on working with what already was at hand.
In Unthink: Rediscover Your Creative Genius, Wahl encourages us to reconnect with our sense of wonder, and offers a variety of ways to mirror the spirit with which we took on new adventures as children. As we get older, we fear the ridiculous, and get hung up on how we’re “supposed” to think. Wahl explains what we’ve lost in the process:
It is the ultimate curse of knowledge: that when we know the most, we are often least able to see new solutions to old problems or new ways to approach entrenched relationships, systems, or hierarchies. Our great knowledge is often the greatest hindrance to creativity in problem solving because the thought of setting all that knowledge aside in favor of a blank slate seems ludicrous. But the blank slate is the secret weapon of every child.
Certainly, we made a lot of mistakes when we were young, but Wahl proposes that if we could get a bit of that old wonder back, combined with our current knowledge, we’d be truly innovative. Wahl invites us to unthink, to “do away with the notion that curiosity, imagination, and exploration are child’s play.” Each chapter represents a quality that we need to restore in our lives: “be intuitive,” “be accelerated,” “be surrendered.” By doing so, we can remember how amazing the world once was, and how it can be again.
Discovery not only keeps your work creative and makes you more valuable to your workplace; it keeps your workplace an adventure. There is an element of mystery that arises when discovery is just as important as data….The point to remember about discovery is that it serves as a practice field for breakthrough creativity. While not every discovery will lead to a breakthrough, every discovery will build your muscles of innovation and increase your confidence in intuition. These resources will prepare you for when a major discovery is really needed.
With Unthink, Wahl presents readers with an opportunity to rediscover something about themselves that they might not know they lost, and what a valuable gift.