Janusian Thinking is “to bring two opposites together in your mind, keep them there together at the same time, based on their relationships, similarities, pros and cons, and the interaction, then create something new and useful.”
Two years ago I moved into a new apartment. And, even though it is actually bigger than my current home, I made the difficult decision to cut back on the number of books and tapes to keep. My argument was that there are books I have not read or even investigated for years, tapes that have been collecting dust, and my favorite library will be fund raising book / tape sales. I know there will be others who will enjoy and benefit from buying my old friends.
What has this to do with “Janusian thinking?” But purging and packing, I listened to my old tapes. One thing that was particularly interesting was tape series called Sustainable Thinking of Mike Vance. Vance, a former rector of the University of Disneyland and was in charge of idea and people development for Walt Disney Productions.
When Vance began to talk about creation, he said Janusian thinking. You can not find a word in the dictionary, I did a search and was very pleased with the number of results (all 507 of them – no, I did not read all of them, and discover how many groups embrace the use of Janusian Thinking)
Background :. Dr. Albert Rothenberg, known scholar of the creative process, the process in 1979, he bet, “Janusian Thinking”, named for the Roman god Janus, who had two faces that looked in opposite directions. Dr. Rothenberg has identified traces of Janusian thought in the works of Einstein, Mozart, Picasso and Conrad. The way to use Janusian thinking is to ask “What is the opposite of this?” and then try to imagine both opposites at the same time
Great Einstein Story :. Rothenberg required, after studying 54 Nobel Prize winners, most of the major scientific discoveries and artistic masterpieces products Janusian thinking. He concluded that creative people to actively shape antithetical ideas and then solve them, producing outstanding results.
He cites the example of an account of Einstein’s “happiest thought of my life.” Einstein recalled his first thought of the concept of “the observer in free fall from the roof of a house, it is, in his fall, no gravitational field … in the immediate vicinity. If the viewer releases all things, they will continue, given the he in a state of rest. “This antithetical idea led to the general theory of relativity him. Suggest Rothenberg’s spokesman tray or conflict now accepted ideas to expand the range of views considered
Example :. there are many paradoxes all around us and clichés provide a perfect example. Compare, “He who hesitates is lost.” and, “Look before you leap.”
Remember Janusian thinking is to see both sides of an idea, both positive and negative. Once you understand why the idea does not work, you can then focus on how to make it work. Let’s all try it together!