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By PASCAL FINETTE

The Heretic is a free dispatch delivering insights into what it takes to lead into & in the unknown. For entrepreneurs, corporate irritants and change makers. Raw, unfiltered and opinionated.

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Jan 19th, 2024 Share: Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn

Edison’s Paradox: It’s Not Just in Your Head

Thomas Edison, the genius inventor, threw a curveball when he somewhat famously said, “I never had an idea in my life.” Wait, what? The man behind the light bulb, phonograph, and a gazillion other things never had an original idea? Yes, that’s what he said…

Here’s what he meant: everything he invented was already floating around in the environment. He just connected the dots. Think about it. Edison, Mr. Innovation himself, basically said the whole concept of ideas popping out of thin air is hogwash. That’s like saying the secret ingredient in your grandma’s famous recipe is actually from a can. Shocking, right? But also kind of a relief. If Edison didn’t pull ideas out of his brain like rabbits from a hat, why are we beating ourselves up trying to do the same?

Creativity, according to Edison, isn’t a solo act. It’s more like a good jam session. You riff off what’s already out there – experiences, observations, stuff you read or hear. It’s not about creating from scratch but about spotting connections no one else sees. It’s like playing ‘connect the dots’ on a cosmic scale.

Edison’s big trick was observation. Not just looking at things, but really seeing them. It’s like those magic eye pictures where you stare long enough and suddenly, bam, a wild 3D image appears. The key? Look at the world, not for what it is, but for what it could be. Those ordinary things around you? They’re not just objects; they’re potential ideas, waiting for someone to twist them into something new.

Edison’s approach is an open invitation to play detective in your own life. Be curious. Poke around. Ask ‘What if?’ And most importantly, collaborate. The next big thing might just be hiding in your daily routine, dressed up as ‘ordinary’, waiting for you to unveil it.

So, next time you’re in a creative rut, remember Edison’s Paradox: The magic isn’t in pulling rabbits out of hats. It’s in realizing the rabbit was just sitting there, in plain sight, all along. And if that’s not a wake-up call to start observing the world a little differently, I don’t know what is.


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