Tuesday, May 5, 2009

How to Think Like a Fool # 5: Try a Really Bad Idea

RISK: Try a Really Bad Idea
You are absolutely, positively sure this idea won't work. You don't even have to think about it. What a perfect time to try it out before you discard it into the dustbin of stupidity.

Recently, I've been watching Laurel and Hardy movies, and often something will happen like this: Stan will start to chop branches for the fire on the counter. Ollie will tell him to do it on the floor instead. Knowing them and their movies, where everything that can go wrong, you can see coming a mile away, I shout, "Don't do it!" and inevitably Stan chops off the front of Ollie's shoe (although the toes escape amputation by retreating). It's a bad idea just to give one of them a sharp object.

But there are benefits to following though with apparently misguided ideas. When you say no right away, you start building blocks in front of a brainstorm. At least write the idea down as if you planned to come back to it, which will keep your mind well lubricated. And this idea may lead you towards a better one, or, after some thought and experimentation, might be a great idea after all.

If all you have to lose is the front of your shoe, start chopping.

Think: Is this idea good or bad? Who cares? Let's try it anyway! In fact, what's the worst solution I can think of for this problem?

Recently in the NY Times: Searching for Value in Ludicrous Ideas - Allison Arieff Blog

Tomorrow: How to Think Like a Fool #6: Scare Yourself

Previous "How to Think Like a Fool" Posts

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