Jonah Sachs on six key components of unsafe thinking and practices

In Unsafe Thinking, Jonah Sachs identifies six key components of unsafe thinking and practices “that help us overcome the impediments to its use.” My own experience suggests that safe thinking can become perilous when hostage to what James O’Toole so aptly characterizes as “the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom.”

Here’s how to gain or regain a creative edge and unlock the creativity of those around you. Briefly:

Courage: Explore “the role discomfort, and sometimes outright fear, plays in trapping us in safe thinking.”

Motivation: Determine the energy we need to sustain experimentation with new and uncomfortable approaches to our work, even in the face of setbacks.”

Flexibility: Untangle the seeming paradox “that while we need expertise to do successful creative work, we often suffer a decline in learning and performance once we become experts.”

Morality: Carefully consider “insights into the power and limits of intuition and the advantages of generating ideas that seem counterintuitive, even ridiculous, to most but in fact contain genius.”

Leadership: Focus on effectively working with others to “break through the social pressures that work against creativity.”

These are widely recognized as the WHAT of creative thinking and, indeed, for creative living. The great value of the material that Sachs provides an explanation of the HOW.

Whenever I encounter someone with a “great idea,” I share Albert Einstein’s suggestion: “If you can’t explain it to a six-year old, you really don’t understand it.” If they fear that someone would steal it from them, I share Howard Aiken’s observation: “Don’t worry about people stealing an idea. If its an original, you will have to ram it down their throats.”

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Jonah Sachs is an author, speaker and viral marketing trailblazer whose work helped spur the 21st century values revolution. Sachs’ pioneering new approaches to digital media were critical in bringing the ideals of social change — such as equity, empowerment, responsibility, transparency, and advocacy — to the forefront of business and popular culture.

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