Be more like Velcro.
Velcro works like this: On one side is a series of hooks going in lots of random directions. On the other side is a series of loops going in lots of random directions. When a hook meets a loop, they connect. It is in the connection business.
I didn’t realise this until I gatecrashed Russell Davies ‘How to be Interesting’ Do course, (if he ever does one again, I would strongly recommend going along), but he talked about how Velcro worked.
His point was the randomness of the hooks and the loops were important to Velcro working, but they were also important to us if we want to be interesting. We need have lots of random hooks and loops. If we read the same old books, we get to know more about the thing we know lots about already. We need to subscribe to magazines that we wouldn’t normally subscribe to; we need to go to places that we wouldn’t normally go to, eat at places that may not be our kind of place.
We stay interesting when we don’t just stay in our groove. We keep pushing; we leave what we know behind for a bit.
This is important from the point of view of coming up with ideas. If your reference points are different to others, then guess what, your ideas are going to be different. To think different, do different, read different, travel different, eat different etc.
Velcro goes in many different directions in order to make a connection. If we are interested in new ideas, so should we.
Georges de Mestral, a Swiss engineer who, in 1941 went for a walk in the woods and wondered if the burrs that clung to his trousers — and dog — could be turned into something useful. After nearly eight years of research (apparently it's not so easy to make a synthetic burr), de Mestral successfully reproduced the natural attachment with two strips of fabric, one with thousands of tiny hooks and another with thousands of tiny loops.