Truth Is Just Perception

The Power Of Ignorance

Innovation outside the box.

Today, I would like to talk to you about two excerpts from the podcasts of Rick Rubin, the iconic music producer I introduced to you in this article. These excerpts, featuring two superstars, revolve around a compelling theme: The power of ignorance.

Firstly, The Edge, U2’s extraordinarily talented guitarist, discusses Adam Clayton’s unique approach to music:

Adam’s probably our least conventional musician in the band in that his grasp of even the basic rules of music is very tenuous. So, Adam brings a kind of unorthodox quality to our work, which is hugely important. He would often do something that no one else would ever have thought of. To him, it’s just as valid as the things that most people would consider to be obvious. To him, there’s no difference. So that’s a huge strength to our band.”

For his part, Arnold Schwarzenegger reflects on his tenure as Governor of California, highlighting how his fresh perspective was instrumental in challenging the status quo:

There are certain things like this, it’s because of my naiveté. I saw that and I found that if you can think that you must do something about it, we shouldn’t have to take that lying down and say, that’s the way it always was. That’s the way they meant to do it 200 years ago. Therefore, we should go along with it. I felt being an outsider, no, this is not acceptable. We got to do something about it. When you are a little bit naiver about things, you just in general don’t accept the status quo. You don’t know what’s impossible.

The Edge (CC) Amanda Friedman and Arnold Schwarzenegger (CC) Governo do Estado de São Paulo

The power of ignorance that The Edge and Arnold Schwarzenegger emphasize is the subject of one of my favorite quotes, from Shunryu Suzuki, the monk who popularized Zen Buddhism in the United States:

In the mind of the beginner, there are many possibilities. In the mind of the expert, there are few.”

In my opinion, this notion leads to two key management principles.

First, innovation should not be confined to comparisons within one’s industry. Benchmarking against entities in different sectors can unveil groundbreaking strategies and methods. The further afield the inspiration, the more likely it is to yield a surprising and effective approach.

Second, while expertise is undeniably valuable, incorporating fresh perspectives is equally important. Newcomers can offer insights and solutions that might elude seasoned specialists. Therefore, it’s crucial to value mentality over expertise in recruitment, providing the necessary training to develop job-specific skills.

As Marcel Pagnol pointed out in a quote most often attributed to Mark Twain, “Everyone knew it was impossible. An ignorant didn’t know it: He did it.

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