Your brain’s desire for quick gratification. Obvious likes to find an answer then move on without over-stretching the mental muscles.
Why the habit exists
If you had to exhaustively think about your options and decisions all the time, you’d spend forever deliberating actions, never getting anything done. Obvious helps you filter out the clutter and focus on things that are most accessible and simplest to action without exercising its thinking muscles unnecessarily. In neuroscience terms this is ‘salience’, a thinking bias where most focus is placed on the most easily recognisable things.
The role of Obvious is to find the quick route without stopping off to explore other directions. If there’s clearly a workable solution, that’s the one it will tell you to go for, then you can move on without working any harder than you need to.
This makes Obvious a bit lazy as it is always on the look out for the path of least resistance where quick answers and easy wins lie.
How it holds you back
Obvious can make you feel good about coming up with a solution but once a satisfactory answer is found, there is no motivation to stretch the imagination and look any further. You could miss opportunities because Obvious focusses your decisions on how quickly you can find a viable solution. You don’t take time to dig deeper and look at new angles and concepts. And if you can easily come up with solutions, you can be sure your competitors can too.
When solving problems, Obvious can trap you within the confines of the most apparent options rather than encouraging you to find other more inventive ways of going about them or investigating more challenging options.
Practical options are more appealing than the more obscure and imaginative because you can readily see how to implement them without too much dilly-dallying. Obvious has a soft touch that mollycoddles you and prevents you from stretching for more creative alternatives.
How you can train it
To overcome the laziness of Obvious, you can consciously choose to change your mindset in the following ways:
From satisfactory to stretching
Ideas are limitless and the harder you try, the greater gems you are likely to find. If you are only doing just enough and answers come all too easily, you will be falling short of your creative potential.
From conventional to original
Exploring different concepts and novel angles primes your imagination to go beyond the straightforward answers and you’ll be finding ideas that set you aside from others.
Set yourself an ideas target. Aim for 10, 20, 50, 100 as long as it pushes you. If that seems too hard, then great. Once the easy answers are exhausted, you’ll have to stretch. That’s when the magic happens.