Creative ignorance and the perfect swing


Creative ignorance and the perfect swing


On the 25th of October I had the pleasure of taking part in the TEDx event in Bologna.


It felt to me like a burst of fresh air and sunlight after being trapped in a traffic jam inside a tunnel for an hour.
A celebration of “ideas worth spreading”, offering illumination, refreshing enthusiasm and a cascade of positive human and professional stimulation.


The first speech was by Professor Piero Formica, and its title was “In praise of ignorance”. To condense his reflections: we ought to push ourselves more often to break away from the schemes and rules which we generally use for approaching professional problems or situations, in order to leave space for creativity, for observation freed of habit and limit, to open the door to fresh ideas, new possibilities and improved solutions.


I’ve been reflecting on this, and thinking that maybe the need to cling so strongly and stubbornly to the rules we know must be connected to a profound sense of insecurity and anxiety somewhere inside us, accumulated through numerous factors: the competitive necessity to assert our own professional identity, the fear of falling without a safety-net, of jeopardising our future, and also, perhaps, the very human need to feel part of a group identity and to be seen and accepted by others as sharing its values and attitudes.


So, how can we step outside ourselves and learn to be creatively ignorant?
Overcoming fear and letting go.
Letting what go?
Thoughts, sensations, tensions… visualizing our objectives without straining, leaving our breathing and our ideas free to weave around us.


Think about a golfer’s swing, for example… (you don’t have to have ever played the game): the perfect swing evolves through performing the same action tens of thousands of times, through hundreds of hours of practise, achieving total physical mastery of this action, attuned to every little muscle involved. Then, at the end of such massive preparation, all this technique and tension must be transcended and… forgotten. In the decisive moment, the mind must be freed to imagine the ball’s journey to the hole, the muscles relaxed, the focus opened onto calm: the body is released to do what it has to do without forcing, powered simply by belief.


Hole in one!



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