Unconventional Thinking

Rodin's The Thinker (source: Pixabay)

Rodin’s The Thinker (source: Pixabay)

A few years ago, when Angry Birds were super popular, my children decided to craft a slingshot and pig hovel to shoot down. (For those unfamiliar with Angry Birds, you use a slingshot to shoot angry birds at things constructed by pigs.)

My kids’ slingshot (made of paper towel tubes and string, I think) was ineffective and my daughter was suggesting some things to my son that might improve the slingshot. At this point, he just turns to her and says, “Let’s just throw the bird.”

While one school of thought says giving up on the slingshot shows a lack of fortitude and stick-to-it spirit, giving up on the slingshot also shows unconventional thinking.

I bring this up because I think sometimes people stick with an approach because they don’t want to be a quitter. But, that’s sorta like saying, “I’m never gonna quit smoking because Momma didn’t raise no quitter.”

Some things deserve to be disregarded.  While others deserve to be fixed. In the field of self-publishing, people give all sorts of advice, and sometimes it can be uniformly applied (get your work edited) and sometimes it only works for certain people (you should produce one book a month).

When you’re looking at advice and problem solving, it’s not always going to work the way you want it to.  That means you can try tweaking the strategy you have or you can go nuclear, blow it up and do something entirely new.

The key in life is figuring out when to take the nuclear option vs. the tweak option. I think people are inherently reluctant to change, so the nuclear option generally is less appealing. But, don’t rule it out as quitting (the bad kind). Not all quitting is bad. When you quit because there’s logic involved, because it’s a strategic decision, because you’ve weighed all the options and quitting is best, then it’s a good decision. Quitting simply because you’re frustrated and just want a change (regardless of whether its good or bad), then that’s a bad kind of quitting. And quitting a strategy is a good thing, while quitting reaching for your overall goal is a bad thing. Because quitting a losing strategy is a good way to win.

So, when it comes to strategy, sometimes it’s good to think unconventionally. And sometimes it’s also good to reject unconventional thinking. The other day, I was working on my manuscript, and I said, “Ugg.” My son asked what was wrong, and I said, “I need to finish this story, but it’s just not coming together.”

“Just kill everybody,” he told me. “Then you’ll be done.”

So, I rejected that unconventional thinking, despite the lure of being finished.

And that is it for today. Have a good one.

About RJ Crayton

RJ Crayton is a former journalist who now writes fiction. She's reported for the Kansas City Star and Wichita Eagle, as well as the smaller publications Education Technology News and Campus Crime. She has two published novels, Life First and Second Life and blogs for Indies Unlimited and the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. For exclusive content and first looks at her new work, sign up for the newsletter at http://rjcrayton.com/subscribe.
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2 Responses to Unconventional Thinking

  1. Exactly. One definition of insanity is doing the same thin over and over and expecting a different outcome.

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