An original idea, like a good ghost story, is the product of an Unusual Mind.
Defined as the ability to discover the basic and invariable meaning of something before it becomes apparent to others, Unusual Mind talent comprises half the reason an enterprise succeeds. The other half is comprised of the talent to sculpt persuasive messages.
Unusual minds operate in stark contrast to intelligent minds. An unusual mind discovers basic and invariable meaning before it has become apparent. An intelligent mind stores and recalls data that is already apparent.
Store and recall ability is a highly regarded attribute, but it does not lead to the discovery of basic and invariable meaning. Anyone who has “put a bunch of smart people in a room and hoped for something new” can appreciate the distinction.
The Unusual Mind of George Ballas had an idea that the brush action which removed dirt from a car could be used to cut grass. Before the Weed Eater plenty of intelligent minds had made improvements to bladed trimmers by adding motors, batteries, wheels and handles. But George Ballas came up with the Weed Eater, which gave the intelligent something new to think about. The Weed Eater also did away with bladed trimmers.
Ideas are possible representations of the world that we hold in our head. Words are ideas we can pronounce; pictures are ideas we can see; gustatory and olfactory sensations are ideas we can taste and smell; tactile stimulations are ideas we can literally feel.
Facts are representations of the world we hold in our head that we believe actually represent the world.
Before the Weed Eater, the idea of cutting grass with a swirling brush could not exist in the mind of a person who represented the world solely by facts. In such a mind the desire to cut grass could only be satisfied by recalling the appropriate grass cutting fact — a blade.
Children are natural Unusual Mind practitioners because children regard everything they come into contact with as ideas, not as facts.
Turning the messages we encounter as young people into the facts we cling to in later life is the very definition of growing up. It is also the change of conviction that most inhibits Unusual Mind talent.
Which brings me to the following ghoulish exchange that took place, a couple of Halloweens back, between my 4-year-old niece, Madeline, and myself.
I asked, “Madeline what are you drawing?”
“A ghost,” she said.
I said, “That’s nice but how do you know what ghosts look like?”
She pointed at her drawing and said, “They look like this.”
An Unusual Mind Ghost Story
November 15, 2007 by Matt Manna
Version: 0062E6B2(R04) • Feb 13, 2014
Picture by Madeline Manna, Age 4
An Unusual Mind Ghost Story (PDF)