Have you ever noticed that people who are super-intelligent are somehow always a little bit weird or odd? Okay, some are a lotta-bit weird and odd! There’s that old adage that says, “There’s a fine line between genius and insanity.” Sometimes I look around and feel like I am the only normal one in a room and other times I feel as if I am the one who is mad. Most people would agree that I am definitely the weird one!
The great thing about hanging out with people who are very different from you is they see things very differently. They see solutions to problems that you dismiss as unimportant or even impossible. Their brains connect dots that you can’t seem to find.
While watching one of my favorite vodcasts “The Stuff of Genius” I learned about Norm Larsen born in 1923 in Chicago Taught himself chemistry and wanted to create a substance that would displace water and prevent corrosion The first 39 attempts failed. But the 40th attempt to create a great Water Displacement formula was a success and became WD-40 (Water Displacement 40th attempt). Now come on…would I have even thought that we needed this product? I mean, rust can be quite lovely! Would I have persevered for 40 attempts? Surely not.
What can I gain from hanging out with someone like Norm? Aside from really quiet door hinges, I might start looking at my world for problems that others have given up trying to solve. Maybe I would dig out a project that I shelved 3 years ago to see if there was a new idea that is sparked. Even reading books by authors you disagree with causes you to stretch and dig deeper to either confirm your own beliefs or discover some common ground you share. How about all those social networking sites you belong to? Do you only follow people on Twitter that are in the same industry as you? Does your Facebook account look like an association directory? Sprinkle in a few people who are DIFFERENT.
Go on find some oddballs to hang out with this week. Read blog posts or a magazine in an industry TOTALLY different from your own. I know…CRAZY!
Need an oddball to open your mind? Im available at http://Twitter.com/Ginaschreck