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27.09.2013

Einstein’s insight on insanity

 Why do people do the same thing over and over again?

There could be a few reasons. One could be the genuine belief that, what they do would be effective.May be they think that it is what people expect them to do.                                               Perhaps they do not know how to do anything different. May be that they do not know how to think differently.

But why are people not able to think differently?  Have you ever thought about that?

I have been grappling with this question for three decades now. Here is one hypothesis I have.

Sometime ago I wrote a blog  How to defrost frozen minds.

“I just read what wikipedia says about ‘defrosting’.

“Defrosting is a procedure, performed periodically on refrigerators and freezers to maintain their operating efficiency.”

It goes to explain how the ice is formed and subsequently remains there affecting the efficiency of the refrigerator or any other similar equipment.

Our minds are some what similar. Over the years our mind begins to form layers and layers of perceptions based on what we see, hear and experience. These perceptions harden over time if they are not challenged often with fresh new perspectives. Fresh new perspectives enter, only when the doors to our mind is open!

When our mind is full of ‘mental frost’, hardened over time, it is difficult for us to perceive new things. It affects the efficiency and the power of the mind. The worst hit is our power to imagine. Therefore we need to open our minds often.

However, this is easier said than done. How do ‘creative people’ do this? They seek new experiences all the time.

They have a few interesting qualities:

Curiosity: Undying curiosity about life. Unending quest for learning. I saw this in David Ogilvy. He was like a kid, asking questions about things around us; things that we took for granted.

Experimentation: A willingness to test new knowledge through own experience. Willingness to learn from mistakes.

Using the Senses: A keen sense of awareness of all the five senses. Using the senses to enliven the experience. Nothing passes by as ordinary.

Acceptance: A willingness to accept ambiguity in many situations and not pushing for a cut & right, black & white answer. This shows a degree of comfort with things that are new, uncertain and sometimes fuzzy.

Facts & Feelings: Willing to see beyond facts and appreciate feelings & emotions as well. Apply logic and intuition; whole-brain thinking, without bias.

Connections: The ability make unusual connections, and find new expressions. The ability to see the same old thing in a fresh way, by connecting the dots in an unexpected manner.”

I read this and put myself in the shoes of a reader. A question popped up in my mind.

“Your hypothesis makes sense. But give me some tangible help. What can I do to unfreeze my frozen mind? Here and now?”

I created my first tool kit for thinking called the Creative Block Busting Tool Kit. I used that in my workshops. However I realised that the tool kit was not accessible to people whenever, wherever they wanted. That is when I thought of creating a mobile app. I use an iPhone therefore decided on creating an iPhone app. That is how TickleMeThink was born.

Here is what a few people who use TickleMeThink say about it:

“Given the plethora of apps on the App Store that focus on entertainment only, it is a pleasure to have an app that not only tickles you but makes you productive as well.”  Lakshmipathy Bhat, Director at Code Conclave, prolific blogger and avowed fan of all things Apple.

“A fantastic app. Really simple. Helps you collect your thoughts and give it a focus and purpose without diluting the fundamental tenets of creativity! Brilliant! ” Gowthaman Ragothaman”Chief Client Officer, Asia Pacific & Chief Executive Officer, South & Southeast Asia at Mindshare, Singapore

“At $4.99 it is not your mindless run of the mill $0.99c App that you download only to consume your iPhone’s storage space..… But then again where would you find the opportunity to transform yourself for the price of a Starbuck’s coffee?” Dr Ravi Iyer MD, Iyer Clinic, Washington DC, USA.

“The app design is quite neat and tidy and phenomenally simple, almost the Apple way of doing things. It did remind me of creative workshops that I have attended in the past. The best part is that with this app the usual fade-away effect can be stopped once the workshop is over.It eliminates the whole willpower that human beings need to be continuously at it. I quite liked that. I also like the way you have structured the app so precisely. It has all the tricks and yet does not go on endlessly – closing every loop that one opens in a swift way.” - Makarand Kulkarni, Ether Design

“TickleMeThink is like a ‘defibrillator for the flagging mind’. I’ve got 50 new ideas and counting.” – Justin Rabindra, Ace Photographer, New Delhi, India

I go back to where we started. The Einstein Quote: “Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

TickleMeThink is one way to help yourself and escape the insanity trap!

Picture courtesy Mimsen under Creative Commons Licence.