Idea Generation and the Art of Getting Over Myself

I’m a devil’s advocate (you can read that how you want, but I prefer you see it the way Wikipedia does: “someone who, given a certain argument, takes a position he or she does not necessarily agree with, for the sake of argument”).

Nothing brings me more pleasure than to debate and discuss for the sake of engaging a particular viewpoint or way of thinking. My “devil’s advocacy” is particularly activated when I hear faulty information for the purpose of manipulation or sycophant-ism (the art of saying yes when no should be said).

I am also a hoarder of information and knowledge. I have too many books. I have started to read the majority of them, but there is never enough time to finish them all in a single day.

Regardless of my love for debate and the hoarding of information, I realize that the most important action is to share my viewpoint and then immediately get over myself.  Because the minute I become more than the advocate, I become the inquisitor and no longer useful.

I have been reading Edward de Bono’s Thinking Course, an excellent book on how to think better (yes, there is such a thing), and I was hit upside the head with this bit of wisdom:

“Without the willingness to look for alternatives we remain trapped in the past and in what we have always done before. If you generate alternatives you can always reject them if they do not seem superior to the existing way of doing things. But if you never generate alternatives you never have a choice.”