Untying the Gordian Knot

Creativity may simply be the realization there’s no particular virtue to doing things they way they’ve always been done. ~Rudolph Flesch

In the winter of 333 B.C., Alexander the Great and his army arrived in the Asian city of Gordium to take up winter quarters. While there, Alexander heard about the legend surrounding the town’s famous knot, the “Gordian Knot.”

The story intrigued Alexander, and he asked to be taken to the knot so that he could attempt to untie it. He studied it for a bit, but after some fruitless attempts to find the rope ends, he was stymied. “How can I unfasten this knot?” he asked himself. Then he got an idea: “I will make up my own knot-untying rules.” He pulled out his sword and sliced the knot in half. Asia was fated to him.

Alexander demonstrated that when faced with a seemingly intractable problem, a very effective, creative-thinking strategy plays the revolutionary, by challenging and changing the rules.

If constructive patterns were all that were necessary for creative new ideas, we’d all be creative geniuses. Creative-thinking is not only constructive, but is also destructive. Creative-thinking involves breaking out of one pattern in order to create a new one.

All too often, we become ensnared by the familiar phenomenon:

·         We make rules based on the reasons that they make a lot of sense.

·         We follow these rules.

·         Time passes, things change and the original reasons for the rules may no longer exist, but because the rules are still in place, we continue to follow them.

This week, release the ensnarement and discover just how many knots can you untie.

Photography by www.bonniemoret.com.


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