Brilliant thinkers are very comfortable with ambiguity — they welcome it. Routine thinkers like clarity and simplicity; they dislike ambiguity. There is a tendency in our society to reduce complex issues down to simple issues with obviously clear solutions.
We see evidence of this in the tabloid press. There have been some terrible crimes committed in our cities. A violent offender received what is seen to be a lenient sentence. This shows that judges are out of touch with what is needed and that heavy punishment will stop the crime wave.
The brilliant thinker is wary of simple nostrums like these. He or she knows that complex issues usually involve many causes and these may need many different and even conflicting solutions.
Routine thinkers are often dogmatic. They see a clear route forward and they want to follow it. The advantage of this is that they can make decisive and effective executives — up to a point. If the simple route happens to be a good one then they get on with the journey. The downside is that they will likely follow the most obvious idea and not consider creative, complex or controversial choices. The exceptional thinker can see many possibilities and relishes reviewing both sides of any argument. They are happy to discuss and explore multiple possibilities and are keen to challenge conventional wisdom. People around them and subordinates can sometimes consider this approach to be frustrating and indecisive.
Albert Einstein was able to conceive his theory of relativity because he thought that time and space might not be immutable. Neils Bohr made breakthroughs in physics because he was able to think of light as both a stream of particles and as a wave. Picasso could paint classical portraits and yet conceive cubist representations of people…
[continues at www.lifehack.org]