Often, brilliant people would come to Steve with an idea only to have it immediately shot down and torn apart before their eyes. But a week later, something strange would happen. Steve would return, head-over-heels about an amazing idea he had and recount the same concept back to them. How could he change his mind to such a degree so quickly?
I believe the answer is this: Steve had the ability to occupy the space of an idea.
What I mean is, he could look at it from different angles. Feels its walls. Live inside it, treating it like his home. And just as quickly, take the complete opposite position like walking from one room to another. I think of this as a skill and one that I try to exercise every day.
The thing is, it’s very difficult to change your mind. We spend our entire lives building up a set of ideas; a foundation upon which we stand, a lens through which we see the world. And it’s very difficult to change your frame of reference and occupy the space of another idea, challenging your assumptions about what is and isn’t true.
But, in my experience, it’s also incredibly important. And, if anything, those who are capable of doing this not only open themselves up to new ideas and experiences, but also stand to benefit greatly because you don’t always have the right answer. In fact, often your answer is wrong. And only through truly embracing a different perspective, one that may be completely foreign to you, will you improve your chances of stumbling upon the right one.
That, to me, is design. It’s about consistently questioning yourself and others, and cultivating a sense of fascination with the world and how others see it, in order to improve it.