Dont Break the Rules Break the Ruler

Creativity is about originating ideas. Much of what this book covers is the active generation of these original concepts. After all, in today's pit-bull-eat-pit-bull competitive environment, just waiting for creative brilliance to strike is not enough; we need to make it happen when and where we need fresh ideas. Like genetically engineered food, our ideation process needs to be bulked up, and bulked up big, to stay in the game. That said, if you can open your acceptable range of thought and keep it open, that is like keeping your creative soil in a constant state of proper nutritional health so that the bounty of fresh ideas simply grows, blossoms, and reseeds itself for further growth and regeneration, on and on, indefinitely.

That is how the great creative minds work. By constantly exploring new territory. By constantly developing fresh ideas.

As they attack challenges and opportunities, a lot of people say, "Let's break the rules!" But even when they do create new ideas, I too often see people ignore those new concepts that may take their efforts forward in favor of playing it safe with tried-and-true solutions. They may have broken the rules in coming up with ideas, but they have not broken the ruler in measuring the acceptability of their new ideas.

If you break the rules and the ruler, through better understanding and by mastering the techniques in this book, you can bring yourself to an amazing place of discovery. You'll find an exciting new level where there is less to understand and learn, a state of mind that doesn't try to be creative, but simply is creative. At that point, everything and anything is within your acceptable range. At that point, you are a totally realized person in a creative sense.

Timeline of a great idea (continued)

Timeline of a lousy idea (continued)

"I'll never be so quick to commit to that kind of idea again."

Cheat Notes for Chapter 16: Redefining the Acceptable Range

Acceptable range of thinking: when evaluating ideas, the spectrum of consideration that feels comfortable.

Expanding your acceptable range of thought gives you a broader playing field.

To expand your acceptable range, don't just break the rules, break the ruler.

By contrast, new ideas beyond the previous fringe of acceptability make old fringe ideas seem less scary and less risky.

Continue expanding your acceptable range to achieve a state of mind that doesn't try to be creative, but simply is creative — then anything is within your acceptable range.

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