When I was in Zurich I met a Swiss student who is starting his own clothing brand company and is already selling t-shirts to peers. I encouraged him to continue on his entrepreneurial path and he told me something that really rang true: “All it takes is thinking just one degree differently from everyone else.” It reminded me of a piece of advice my old mentor Anthony More told me: “Don’t think outside of the box – people who do are crazy. Just expand the box in which you think.”
Let’s take the never ending quest to come up with new ideas. All too often I see people who exhaust their energy (and confidence) by searching for the next world-changing idea. Maybe they’ll throw up their arms and say “All the good ideas are taken!” Yep! Most new ideas are just combinations of existing ideas or it is looking at an existing idea just a little bit differently. Brainstorming – and entrepreneurship – doesn’t have to be this arduous task where if you’re not some mad genius you fail. It’s actually much cleaner and simpler (“work smarter, not harder”) in my opinion. Think about things just one degree differently and you may be pleasantly surprised. Now…HOW do you think about things one degree differently? That’s a subject for another time!