The ability to discover basic & invariable meaning and turn it into a product, service, candidate, cause or message of value, before it becomes apparent to others.
The term Unusual Mind was first made prominent by Alfred North Whitehead, an English mathematician who said, “It requires a very unusual mind to undertake an analysis of the obvious.” Whitehead made this comment in connection to a method of thinking called Analytic Philosophy. The thesis of Analytic Philosophy is that the solution to a problem will become obvious only after the basic and invariable meaning of the problem is discovered.
There was a time in the past when worthy products, candidates, litigants and charities could stand solely on their merits and in due course become successful. Those days are gone. In today’s marketplace of abundance it takes more than merit to become successful. It takes the skill of an Unusual Mind.
Manna Groups defines Unusual Mind as the ability to discover the basic and invariable meaning of something before it becomes apparent to others. It’s the kind of thinking that causes one to remark, “That’s obvious. I wonder why I didn’t think of that?”
Unusual Mind thinking is distinct from intelligence. Intelligence is widely accepted as a measure of one’s ability to store, recall and formulaically process data. Store and recall is an adequate way to grade students and reward game show contestants but it is not the same as the ability to discover basic and invariable meaning before it becomes apparent to others. The story of the Weed Eater is a stunningly clear example of the difference.
For many years before the invention of the Weed Eater, intelligent minds improved bladed trimmers by adding motors, batteries, wheels and handles. Then one day the Unusual Mind of a real estate salesman named George Ballas rejected the assumption that grass and weed trimming required a blade. In so doing he not only invented the Weed Eater, he wiped out the bladed trimmer industry.
There is no evidence that George Ballas was more or less intelligent than those who managed the bladed trimmer industry. There is conclusive evidence that he envisioned trimming in an unusual way.
Formulaic thinking constrained grass and weed trimming to include a blade. Unusual Mind thinking permitted Ballas to be unconstrained by blades and in so doing discover the basic and invariable meaning of the problem. The problem was not how to create a better bladed trimmer. The problem was how to better trim weeds and grass. Ballas’ discovery was not conditional upon his intelligence. It was conditional upon his possession of an Unusual Mind.
Today it seems obvious that the process of adding motors, batteries, wheels and sticks to bladed trimmers would be ineffective: wiped out by an unusual way to assemble a popcorn can and fishing line. But everything is obvious after the fact. It takes an Unusual Mind to discover the basic and invariable meaning of something before it becomes apparent to the rest of us!
In fact, the more obvious a newly uncovered basic and invariable meaning is, the greater the opportunity for success. Just ask the inventor of the Weed Eater.