Look for the View Behind You

(image via Aziz Acharki)

(image via Aziz Acharki)

Photographer Lisa Robinson once said, "When you take a photograph, turn around and look directly behind you...look for that which you didn't see."

I love this, for it teaches us to examine the possibilities we never allow--those contrary considerations from our supposed "answers". Among the Lakota peoples there is a tradition that a minimum of SEVEN creative solutions is always offered to any problem. Seven! How do we start to build that kind of creative capacity when we are continuously taught from a young age that there is only one right answer?

I think the secret is to do what Lisa advises. As a practice, try the following. For one month, every time you are moved by a view or something you see, turn on your heels 180 degrees and look behind you. See what else you can find, what beauty or surprise awaits. What is true is that every sunrise illuminates something that sits to your back. Simply put, it is your job to take a few extra moments to find it.

Take this practice into your problem solving. When coming up with solutions ask, "What is the opposite of what I think I should do?" Give it real weight and consideration. Sometimes the best creative solution is to do nothing. For many leaders, addicted to knee-jerk, "time is money" thinking, the 180 degree response of "no action" is often times the best, unseen consideration.

Among seven solutions, "to do nothing" is always an option.