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THE FLEXIBILITY MACHINE

October 24th, 2019

Ever try to make a point and the response you get is

 

that’s a bit of a stretch…

 

No doubt we all have. 

 

The comment simultaneously recognizes that we are trying to connect things that aren’t usually connected and points out that these things also have too much distance between them. 

 

And yet this is exactly the reason for which we praise powerful imaginations.  Great ideas often come from connecting things that no one had thought to connect before.

 

So where lies the difference between the work of a powerful imagination and another instance that’s less convincing, that turns out to be a bit of a stretch?

 

The value must come from the nature of the connection, and not the things we wish to connect.

 

It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it.

 

Is a ubiquitous prescription that comes to mind.

 

Presumably everything in the universe is connected to every other thing in some way.  That’s the what, and that notion doesn’t really make much of a spark in the mind.  It’s like saying ‘we breathe air.’ 

 

Yea, ok.  So what?

 

The truly incredible thing to point out would be to describe how everything is connected to every other thing.  This is the perennial goal of physcists.  To uncover a T.O.E., or Theory of Everything.

 

A powerful imagination doesn’t see that two things are connected, it sees how those two things are connected.  The manner of connection becomes the substance of persuasion when pointing out the connection to someone else.

 

When someone reacts by saying that the connection is a bit of a stretch,

 

it doesn’t mean that connection isn’t there,

 

what it most likely means is that we have not effectively communicated how these things are connected.

 

This is somewhat an entirely different problem.  This is an issue of human communication.

 

We can approach the same exact situation from a different angle with a different context.

 

Ever listen to a teacher or friend give an explanation of something and it just doesn’t make sense?  So they pull out a pad of paper, make a quick drawing and make the same explanation while pointing to different parts of the diagram and suddenly it all clicks?

 

The change in the medium of communication aids the communication.  It’s not that the point they were trying to make was somehow flawed, it’s that they couldn’t communicate it very well through just words alone.

 

When someone reacts to your point by saying it’s a stretch, it may not be that you’re wrong.  It may just be that you haven’t yet found the right words.

 

Again just with the particular connection you see, it’s not what you are trying to tell a person that makes a difference,

 

it’s how you do it.

 

In order to find a better way, the same imagination that had the flexibility to see a new connection needs to stretch again to see how our idea connects to the incredulous person before us.

 

 


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Podcast Ep. 557: The Flexibility Machine

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