Ever wondered how to think differently?

Have you ever wondered how people identify trends? Nah, me neither. But I read Non Obvious by Rohit Bhargava who identifies trends and looks to understand how the world works. It was about more than just how to spot a trend, and talked about how to understand the world and think differently.

Photo by Nick Fewings | Accessed on Unsplash.com

Main impacts

  1. Stay curious and wander intentionally.
  2. The poetry (and power) of language.
  3. Do deep work offline.

Stay curious and wander intentionally

A big part of this book was talking about how to find inspiration from every where. It’s important to stay curious and wander intentionally, meaning to try new things and expose yourself to new ideas.

There are so many ways to wander intentionally, all you have to do is do things differently. You can change your routine and just look around you. Get outside your bubble (or industry) and try to understand the world. As soon as you start making adjustments, you can be exposed to new perspectives and see things differently.

When you’re looking for inspiration, make sure to look across diverse sources, such as various industries for trends that may affect you or ideas that you can apply elsewhere.

The poetry (and power) of language

In this book, Rohit stressed the power of using the right language to describe trends, but it seems applicable to so many other areas of life.

He stressed the importance of using the right words to both capture the idea and catch people’s attention. When selecting words to describe a trend (or anything else) it needs to both explain what it is without being too vague or unclear, while also being catchy and noteworthy.

Rohit notices that poets are really good at this. They understand the importance of using exactly the right word, and that often less is more. Understandably so, since poetry leaves little room for extra words.

Recently, I’ve been hearing people talk about how elegant the prose is when an author starts as a poet and moves into novels or stories. There’s something to be said when you’re used to picking each word with care, and when each one has to add value.

I feel like this can be useful in any role that requires you to use words (aka everything). If you’re intentional about the words you use, then your message can be clearer and more effective.

Do deep work offline

Another piece of advice is to do your deep work offline. Find a way to capture the information you need and work on it without distractions.

Rohit’s example of this for identifying trends is to capture all kinds of stories that you think might be relevant to trends in a physical way, either in some kind of folder or printed version. Then, set aside some time to deliberately pour over the stories and analyze them, to find what is similar and start to develop trends.

Really, what’s important is to both set time aside for this and to do this work offline – away from devices or distractions. However that process looks like for you, the idea is to do deep work in a way that removes all distractions.

It’s important to take time to process the ideas you’re working through. That may mean different things for people, depending on how you think things through. Sometimes you need to take a break and come back later with a fresh perspective. You never know when inspiration might hit.

I think this is a really valuable reminder. Not everything needs to be done without distractions, but your deep, thoughtful work can really benefit from focused work. And like most things, this needs to be intentional.

Final thoughts

Even though I’m personally not interested in being able to identify trends, I found there was useful information on how to understand the world. Obviously, there were sections that I found less interesting or applicable to me. But I think what this book emphasizes is to be open to information from all places and actively seek new sources of inspiration. And I think that’s one of the most valuable lessons to learn.

Have you read this book? I’d love to hear your thoughts in a comment below!


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