So there they were, CD vs AD wrestling the idea to the floor. Tired from slapping the obese brief around the mahogany boardroom table, a lull settled into the room - that awkward quiet in a brainstorm session when you know inspiration has long left the building, and all that's left is a ball of stale ideas stuck under the boardroom table like 10-year-old chewing gum. Silence descended while the doodling on the layouts pads became more frantic.
What we have here is a well-known creative condition called "analysis paralysis". Fuelled by our incessant hunger for information and meaning, we have created a society too focused on the thinking and less so on the doing, overanalysing ourselves into a full stop. And the only way to move passed the stupefying white page staring back at you is to practice the art of Unthink.
Make room for the unknown
Unthink is not the cessation of thought. On the contrary, it is suspending all that you do know to make room for the unknown.
Think of a golfer as he's about to take that swing, a swimmer poised to dive, a pianist seconds away from playing that first note - they all share one thing in common. They go into a trance-like moment, free of critical voice or fears, and let go of all they know to make space for that intuitive, gut-feel to take over and guide them.
We need to do more of that. Trust what you know and then let go. Stop over-analysing every single idea into the ground. Research and statistics don't belong here because Unthink can't breathe in the space of logic.
It's an interesting fact that, the more experienced we are in a particular field, the more in danger we are of getting stuck in old ways and thought patterns. We question and do less. And delude ourselves into thinking that our experience is unmalleable.
Well, sometimes experience can be a bitch and needs a big fat "L" sign stuck to its rear. Because, sometimes, not knowing something is a wonderful place to be in.
Maria Berrios-Carter is a freelance copywriter and creative consultant, with over 12 years' experience in the communication industry. She loves the smell of freshly squeezed ideas in the morning, working with people who believe in what they do and finding a Vida Lindt in her pocket. Email Maria at and connect with her on LinkedIn.
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