Your brain is malleable. It often makes new connections when you push yourself beyond what you know. What?! Yep. Humans yearn for the comforts of sameness and routine. When you are wanting to reinvent yourself or some part of your life or business, the problem of breaking beyond the known into the unknown requires some effort.
How to get to that bigger idea? Research out of the South American innovation center SARAS gives some tips on how to create bigger breakthroughs. One is to expose yourself to different things, new ideas, or random information. In the case of this study they set up a commons area for students from all disciplines to have discourse and unplanned interactions. The kinds of things you see, hear, taste or feel when you get outside your own comfort zone can catapult you to a new level of thinking.
Then, they suggested that you allow yourself to stop thinking about the problem you are trying to solve and do something else, like nap or have a coffee or clean your house or walk the dogs. In this altered state you can daydream and let your subconcsious do the work. It takes those inputs and mashes them together into the perfect solution for you.
If you aren’t able to get up and randomly meet with colleagues, here’s an experiment to try that will help you trick your brain into getting beyond the known:
Now draw some arrows that extend from the box out to the edge of your page. Open a magazine or go to your bookshelf, find a random quote and write it down. Do this to get about 5-6 weird things.
Time for the Bigger is Better technique.
Exaggerate the holy hell out of everything in the end state you desire. Imagine you came up with the most brilliant solution. Fantasize about the press you received or the changes it brought. Take one of those quotes or pictures and daydream about it. Then capture outside that box all the random and huge things that you can imagine happening – no matter how bizarre and disparate they seem.
Leave that paper alone and go get a coffee or tea or water.
Look again at your paper. What do you discover? If you continue to work with the bigger space your brain will begin to make connections there that will help
Ramachandran calls this the “peak shift principle.” The basic idea is that animals attracted to a particular shape will be even more attracted to an exaggerated version of that form.
The truth is you are an animal! You can trick your brain into magnetizing the bigger solutions, the better you, the reinvention of something you are passionate about exploring. You can step into a bigger room. You only need to challenge yourself to expand your thinking into it.