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The Wright Stuff

By Peter Lloyd

Every important innovation travels in uncharted territory. To propel your new idea through uncharted territory, you always have to make and break the rules. To get comfortable with rule-breaking, it helps to develop a good deal of creative arrogance.

You can do this by practicing saying to yourself, "I'm right." Eventually it works. You begin to believe it. If you prefer a rebellious attitude, try "You're wrong." Or better yet, put them together and get used to thinking and saying, "I'm right. You're wrong."

The Wright Brothers were raised more progressively than most. Their parents even encouraged them to play hooky if the boys wanted to pursue another worthwhile interest. So by the time they were in Kitty Hawk wresting with problems of flight, they had invented a peculiar "I'm right! You're wrong!" exercise. A kind of brainstorming process I like to call the Wright Stuff.

When Wilbur and Orville came to an impasse, they'd argue with each other at the top of their lungs. When the debate began to cool, they'd switch sides, each taking the other's point of view, and the debate would rage again. This exercise forced each brother to fiercely defend what he might not otherwise even consider. They discovered angles and aspects of both points of view they would never have discovered.

Before you take a new idea into uncharted territory, try the Wright Stuff. I can't think of a better way to more clearly and more thoroughly develop the creative arrogance necessary to go where no one has gone before.

Peter Lloyd is co-creator with Stephen Grossman of Animal Crackers, the breakthrough problem-solving tool designed to crack your toughest business problems.

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