The 2nd Right Answer


“Children enter school as question marks and come out as periods.” – Neil Postman

During the course of the early years of life…somewhere along the beaten path…our innate sense of creativity seems to slowly become jaded.  WHY?  The education system, our culture, friends, society, norms, expectations, etc… somewhere @ some point in time, we were told to grow up into adulthood and let go of many of many of our natural inclinations.

While that is fine by all means and a very necessary progression along the journey of life…but there have been some very unfortunate and unintended consequences as a result.   We’ve been told to think a certain way, to solve problems in a certain fashion and to only give select answers…

…well…it’s time to BREAK the MOLD!  This primarily stems from the way that we answer questions…as well as the questions that we ask them.  GROUP THINK instills biases in the best of us. 

Example…when a question is asked or a challenge is presented…there may seem like 1 right answer, aka the “logical choice.”  This is usually the one that (1) has worked before (2) is socially excepted (3) is reasonable and convenient (4) “you fill in the blank for this one!”

But innovation often doesn’t surface until the 2nd, 3rd or even 4th answer.  Now these answers may first come off as a bit distant or even far-fetched, but if you discard them on that basis alone, you may let an opportunity pass you by.  For it is in that frame of thought that some of the proverbial big ideas spring forth. 

Go back to when, as a child, you had no dispositions…no limitations as to what could occur if you could shoot for the moon.  Imagine what could happen if there were no constraints, if your resources were unlimited and if failure held no weight. 

“Nothing is more dangerous than an idea when it is the only one we have” – French Philosopher Emile Chartier

A helpful technique is to change the wording of your questions.  So the next time you’re faced with a critical decision to make, resist the urge to stop the thought process with what seems to be the “right answer” and continue down the path of creativity. 

By Micah Davis

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