We can find ourselves living with a need to reach conclusions quickly, what we might term reaching convergence, but the really interesting things happen when we reman open for as long as possible to as much as possible.
There’s a reason why we don’t want to keep thinking about thinks for too long. Our brain accounts for two per cent of our body’s mass but demands twenty per cent of the energy. Thinking is tiring work. We also have to remember things in a particular way which makes them readily retrievable, and this means we pare off a lot of the detail.
Essayist Nassim Taleb understands this but he wants to remain open for as long as possible. Instead of being a cynical empiricist arriving at judgements based on past experiences and discarding any information that doesn’t fit this view, Taleb encourages sceptical empiricism, an open questioning of what we know and do not know.
I reserve the right to disagree with myself. Divergence is about opening our minds to see more.
Edwin Lands was taking photos along the beach with his daughter when his three year old asked why they couldn’t see the pictures straight away. Instead of dismissing her question because there simply wasn’t this kind of technology in existence, Lands asked himself why this wasn’t possible. He stepped outside of his usual way of seeing and understanding, instead embarking on a twenty five year journey which resulted in the development of the Polaroid camera.
In our slow journeys, divergence specifically means seeing ourselves in a new way, with new images and words, towards possibilities we cannot presently imagine.
SOMETHING TO DO: You can identify your talents through taking the Gallup StrengthsFinder analysis. It’s not a test, more a mirror. You will be provided with your top five talent themes – Gallup stopped giving out the entire list because people were going to the bottom to see how they could improve what they were weakest in. But as we have already seen, a strength is the development of the things we’re highly energised by, not by trying to turn weaknesses into strengths. You’ll find the code for this analysis in Tom Rath’s book StrengthsFinder 2.0 – make sure you buy a new copy.