The Many Benefits of Seeing New Possibilities

Here’s an article I just published on the power of possibilities when we engage trusted others to open our eyes and expand our options. Love to hear what you think!

I wonder if my closet is a fair representation of myself - not only in terms of style but how tidy, organized (or messy) I keep it? Someone once told me that the state of your study / desk / work area gave insight into the state of your mind. Mine: cluttered. And that’s fairly accurate. There are times when I need to unplug as you did in order to de-clutter my mind.

Your anecdote of closet shopping suggests this as a gateway to creativity. I’m going to think on that and see if it’s analogous to other creative endeavors. It worked because you invited someone else to look at what you had seen every day (and had become too familiar) in an entirely new way because they were seeing it for the first time and saw other possibilities.

A friend and I once worked on a story in which the protagonist did an annual Spring Cleaning of their friends. Which ones could be let go and which should be reaffirmed? There is a celebrity couples therapist who used to say that her technique was to get people to see their partner as an ‘other’ not as familiar; to return to that first feeling they had when they were first getting to know each other - when the other person was truly ‘other’ (independent and separate) and more exciting because of it. Many married couples know all to well that you can live with someone all your life and not realize that you never really knew them until you get a divorce.

I have been pruning my podcast and newsletter lists lately. I’ve decided that a year is enough for me to establish if any one author has anything meaningful and useful to say. That might come across as very transactional, particularly when I use the word ‘useful’ but I find that as I get older time becomes more precious. I have less time to waste on nonsense.

Many of the financial news podcasts that I’ve pruned were ones that pushed a popular but misguided narrative. At best this leads to sloppy thinking; at worst to dangerous decisions. Here’s an example. Throughout the course of 2022, here in the US, did we experience inflation? Most of the media would say ‘yes’. Even the Federal Reserve said it. Indeed, the prices of many of the things we need and want were relatively higher. But the answer is unequivocally ‘no’; we did not have inflation. There’s too much evidence to the contrary; that we had a USD liquidity crisis most likely spurred on by globally high energy prices and supply shocks due to the pandemic and the war in Ukraine. Even the high USD swap rates relative to every other currency in the world gives you a clue. This is not the effect of too much USD in the money supply but too little. So, no, we didn’t have inflation. We had high prices, yes, but not inflation. It’s another one of those muddled confusions between correlation and causation. Sloppy thinking leads to sloppy decisions and the Fed tightening into a recession is a prime example. How is this going to help the situation?

What I’m getting at is that creativity benefits from other perspectives, yes - just as you experienced with your friend when you went closet shopping. But - and here’s the part that I’m adding - you also need to de-clutter your mind of false narratives. The quality of the outsider’s viewpoint is important to enhancing creativity.

This is easy said than done. People all around you are pushing nonsense and false narratives. Whether it’s intentional or not really doesn’t matter. Humans like a good story and they’ll latch onto anything that makes some kind of sense of the chaos even if it’s woefully misguided.

So, this year - 2023 - I’m on a mission to remove the dross, seek out alternative points (and contrarian) points of view, and stick to people that provide well-intentioned, thoughtfully reasoned, viewpoints and conversation. Like yours :wink:

1 Like