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Have You Found What You're NOT Looking For?

“Can I help you find something?” You’ve heard that before, haven’t you? It’s the usual greeting you get from sales people as you walk into their store. Because I like the inefficiency of finding things on my own, my usual reply is, “No thanks, I’m just browsing.” But on one occasion I surprised myself, and the sales person, with a different response. When she asked the familiar question, “Can I help you find something?” I responded, “No thanks, otherwise how would I find what I’m not looking for.” Thankfully, she laughed. I had thought of giving that response on other occasions since I’m pretty sure that’s the intention of most retail marketers – not just to help you find what you’re looking for but to also "help" you find several other things you hadn’t even crossed your mind. As it turns out, it’s a pretty good response for times other than when you're shopping. B.F. Skinner, one of the pioneers of behavioral psychology, is reported to have said, “If you’re working on something and find something interesting, drop everything else and study it.” Our world is filled with the results of just such pursuits. Creativity guru, Michael Michalko, writes: “In principle, the unexpected event that gives rise to a creative invention is not all that different from the unexpected automobile breakdown that forces us to spend a night in a new and interesting town, the book sent to us in error that excites our imagination, or the closed restaurant that forces us to explore a different cuisine. But when looking for ideas of creative solutions, many of us ignore the unexpected and, consequently, loose the opportunity to turn chance into a creative opportunity.” One aspect of creativity is the ability to see things in new and different ways, to broaden our perspective so that new possibilities can be considered. So, the next time you’re working on a project, or maybe the next time you go shopping, make room for the unexpected. Give your imagination and curiosity a little extra room and let them show you. All the best, Danny

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