Unlearning and Innovation

People are happy when they are doing what they like. So why is it that people don’t get to do what they really like? The most prominent reason seems to be the insecurity of losing the comfort one has build around him. It’s a cycle. People find a job because they want to earn money. They invest this money in buying comfort. Comfort in terms of fancier furniture, fancier clothes, fancier bikes and cars, fancier everything. Then they earn more money to live better. In an illusion of heightened comfort, they invest once more to buy better things, better than what they already have. This thirst for better comfort never ends. Hence, you want a better job to ensure you are able to afford better comfort. All that is infact adding is more burden to your life. The more comfortable you are, the more vulnerable you are. This is a never ending pursuit of comfort. This hunger for money drives most lives. Hence, the unhappiness from what you don’t really like doing. As a child, you were taught to live a better life than your parents. All your parents wished for was a better life for you compared to what they had. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that. Except in view of getting prepared for a better life, they intentionally or unintentionally pushed you into some field/professional education that they thought would help secure that better life. Hence, you carried with you the extended dream of your parents, transforming that into a belief. The folks who had the knack for what they were pushed into excelled and did well for themselves. The ones who didn’t, suffered and yet dragged their lives along spreading that roots of frustration to their kids and so on. Well, its quite possible that you were smart enough to realise that this was all some bullshit for a rat race to earn more money. Those who realised quit their degrees and quit their professions and ended up doing what they really liked. Most people we know today as successful entrepreneurs that made it big belong here. Essentially, most people didn’t get to do what they really liked. Well, it’s quite possible many didn’t even know what they really liked, because they simply never tried all the possible things or have even given it a vague thought.

Since you have been very young, you have been fed many illusions that today turned into a precedent to your lens to the world. Imagine you have always seen this quest of a guy to find the perfect woman and vice versa. The amount of time and effort invested in trying to find someone, win them and then keeping them is probably more than 25% of your life in many cases. All this has been brought upon on to you because you always believed having a woman in life or support is the channel to happiness. Well, it definitely is one of the channels to happiness. What if for someone going to a forest and finding a rare breed of butterfly gives more happiness than sitting in a bar with a bunch of friends trying to compete and win a girl. Maybe it’s the societal pressure bogging you down from doing what you like or worse, even discovering what you like. For all you know, caressing an underwater plant gives you more pleasure than kissing a girl. But, you will never ever get to discover it until you break free from these induced illusions. And so will the society stay the way it is for ages to come.

Now, what does this have to do with innovation? Innovation stems from people doing what they love to do. Now that we have so many people who don’t even know what they like, of-course innovation is a dream. Innovation can happen at different levels. As tiny as being able to invent a new way of making your coffee and as big as inventing a cure for mortality. The farther you are from reality, the more influenced you are by these induced illusions, the tinier your innovations are.

Best of the ideas are the ones that are at ground level. An aeroplane. A bulb. A wheel. None of them have a precedent of any sort. They aren’t improvements of something pre-existent. As you learn more about things (any industry/profession/field), the more your thoughts are limited. With every new thing you learn that teaches you this is how ‘it’ works, you are cutting down the possibility of ‘it’ working some other way. You hardly tend to question why it should be the way it is. The more you have been taught by this faulty education system, the more you have been corrupted. Unlearning is a prologue to Innovation. Extrapolating this to work environments, there are these set processes that companies want you to follow. Especially, the big companies, to which you are basically a sheep following a set instructions to complete a task, your probability to innovate diminishes with everyday you spend there. Your accolades and identity is dependent on how well you are able to follow these processes and how well you have completed the task at hand according to the company standards. To paraphrase, it’s basically how well you were able to kill your creativity and become part of the herd. People have tend to become so dependent on support systems that almost everything you do is a copy of a copy of a copy. The closest to innovation that I’ve seen most people do is an amalgamation of two different ideas from two different competitors and claiming to be new. The moment people hit a thought-block, they start to look at competitors and see how they solved the problem. This will only help us build a better version of what already exists with that competitor. How will we ever innovate if we are just trying to seek support from existing solutions, ideas and thoughts?

If your job tells you what you need to do and how, how could innovation happen? What if I didn’t tell you what to do and how? What if all your job was to sit 8 hours a day and think? You don’t get to fire up your laptop to see what other people did. You don’t get to do anything that is going to corrupt your brain from others ideas. You are given a problem at the highest level possible. Now, all you have to do is sit at your desk, think about the problem and record your thoughts. I would like to find some smart people who broke free from all these induced illusions. Get them to think and problem solve. Nothing else. Would it help innovate better? What do you think?

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