To find an idea, get lost.

By Michael Mark, Creative Director/CEO @ NYCA

I’m scared of the usual. I go out of my way to avoid it. So I’m perpetually lost. And I’m good with that. It’s why I try to eat at different places or never sit in the same chair in the conference rooms. Anything to give me a new perspective. New stimuli to react to. Anything to run me off the road of a routine and jab my senses awake.

The safe and well-lighted can be deadly attractive. But the need for originality has a greater power than the comfort of the known, and forces me into the gray. Off-balance is better than balance. I’d rather fall than stay still; I’d prefer to trip forward and land wherever. You have to live in-between, in the synapse, in the fog. Romantic, isn’t it? Yes, and we all love romance but there’s a danger: Will she kiss me? Will she slap me?

That’s the only way I believe you can discover a new way, invent a new road, what we at NYCA call a grow! idea. You gotta make yourself uncomfortable.

I actually like working on trains, planes, in the car. (You ever wonder how you got to where you’re going? Me too.) The motion pushes and pulls me, and my mind shakes free of the everyday. I might see something out the window, and that sparks something. I might hit the car in front of me and that makes me think something else. I might hear something on the radio and that makes me sing something. I might get off at a different exit – not wrong but unexpected – and that makes me see something new. I might not get to where I was going but I might get to a better place. And “I might” is what I’m after, not “I have” or “I did.”

So when my team tells me they’re lost, I know they are on their way. When I hear, “Oh, this assignment is easy,” I start getting tremors. Sometimes it is easy – the vision presents itself in a moment, and that’s great — but more often you bite into it and it’s fool’s gold.

You know that term “losing your mind”? I recommend it. The mind will tell you the rules, the mind will tell you fire burns or that is a bad thought. When you lose your mind, I think you lose your connection to the traditional – the acceptable way of doing something. And you can have originality – let’s call it temporary creative sanity. And what do you replace your lost mind with? A new idea, I hope. If not, get on a bus to anywhere.

So if you’re looking for a grow! idea, my direction to you would be to get lost.

4 Responses to To find an idea, get lost.

  1. dilipnaidu says:

    The learning from this post to me is – being aware of traps that keep us pinned down in our comfort zones. Our thinking becomes structured and stereotyped with little or no chance for creativity. Therefore we need to explore into the unknown and be in rythm with the natural forces.


  2. Robert says:

    so much here to respond to

    #1 bravery – it takes bravery to write like this. I see this same kind of bravery in a self realised Tom Peters. He is secure enough to be venturesome and therefore make himself criticism, to “being different from the pack”, to failure…

    #2 Push me Pull me – It was in the Dr. Dolittle story that the Llama like creature was described. Your article points out the way organisations ask our talent to be like the Push me Pull me. I’ve heard it called the ability to work with ambiguity. We want our people to think in unstructured ways; to constantly think new thoughts. But we also want them to deliver coherent, logical campaign plans. This is all the more reason to value those rare individuals who can actually deliver this capability.

    #3 “lead from the front” – in the old days, this meant ‘do as I do followers’. I think by writing such thought provoking content, you are implicitly challenging your readers to ‘challenge yourself and your behaviours as I do’

    This is completely refreshing communications.


  3. michaelgrow says:

    Thanks, Robert, for sharing your wonderful thoughts. 3 gifts I will enjoy and put in my pocket on my travels, whereever they take me.

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