The book about you


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Have you seen something brilliant and thought – ‘I wish I’d thought of that’, or ‘I wish I’d done that’. We all have.

This book is about that, it’s about having those good ideas and recognising a good idea when you see one.

Think of this as practical guide to using your intuition, it has been prepared for entrepreneurs, advertising, marketing and communications practitioners or those that want to be.

It’s about how to create change and make better, more informed, more creative and more commercially effective decisions.

This is a pre-publication preview version of my book ‘The book about you’, it will be available on iTunes and Amazon, I thought I’d place it here for free until then.

This was based on a reasonably successful blog of the same name, which had a quite a few thousand downloads – if you’ve been following the blog and wondered where it is, it will be up and live again soon, I’m just changing it to different provider.

This copy of the book is about 95% complete, the final version will have a few small changes and a new cover, other than that it’s pretty much the same as what you’ll find here for free – so you don’t have to buy it.

Please feel free to share this with anyone, just credit me as the writer.

Thank you.

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The book about you

  1. 1. How to create change and make better, more informed, more creative and more commercially effective decisions.the book about you**A practical guide to using your intuition, for entrepreneurs, advertising, marketing and communications practitioners. By Ravi Prasad
  2. 2. The book about youWritten by Ravi PrasadFirst Digital EditionFirst iTunes EditionCopyright ©2012 Ravi PrasadISBN 978-0-9808002-0-3 2
  3. 3. About the book about youHave you seen something brilliant and thought – ‘I wish I’d thought of that’, or ‘I wish I’d done that’. We all have.This book is about that, it’s about having those good ideas and recognising a good idea when you see one.Think of this as practical guide to using your intuition, it has been prepared for entrepreneurs, advertising, marketing andcommunications practitioners or those that want to be.It’s about how to create change and make better, more informed, more creative and more commercially effective decisions.Ravi Prasad 2010 3
  4. 4. Others have said…“I agree with Ravi: dont listen to what other people think. But I do think you should read what Ravi thinks.” Dr Anthony Sams, Consultant Psychiatrist"Love it and I learned something new about both advertising and myself. "Crispin Blackall, Telstra Australia“If it seems a reminder to some of things already gleamed then it is more justification to pass on the message to loved ones.Praise for Ravis wisdom.” Zorica Purlija, Photographer and Artist“Encouraging! (a deeper awareness and time to reflect) Gives you a degree of power over our duplicity of rationality and intuition.”Camille Coles, Regional Marketing Director SAS Asia Pacific 4
  5. 5. The strange talentThis book is about you and you alone.It’s about a useful talent that you have. A valuable talent. And one that you probably don’t even know you have.Working in advertising I’ve been lucky to meet a lot of people: artists, writers politicians, entrepreneurs photographers andbusiness people - and most of the successful ones would speak about following a ‘hunch’, ‘gut feeling’ or ‘intuition’ or that‘they knew were onto something’, one person, with a sense of drama, called it his ‘secret of everything’ – they all knew itwas tied up with intuition, that was obvious.For some, it was behind their best decisions and a secret to their success.Their valuable talent was simple: they knew how to ‘tune into’ that intuition, to recognise it and act on it. 5
  6. 6. As a person that’s made their fair share of bad decisions, I was curious to understand how.And this is where it got weird: I started asking people about how they did it, and found a lot of these people didn’treally know.It’s strange, to have a talent, use it well, yet not really know that you either have it or use it.For some people, sometimes, it just happens, they sort of ‘zone out’ and inspiration hits them. It’s accident.But for some people there were specific things they did, that made it happen.Curiously, it wasn’t until they started talking about it that they actually started to realise what it was they were doing.And they were all doing a remarkably similar things.I’m going to put into words what it was they were doing – and a techniques you can use.For the sake of giving it a name that has some ‘drama’, I’m also going to call that process the ‘secret of everything’; Iliked that description, it has some weight to it and a little mystery.The result is a simple ‘how to’ guide for having and identifying good ideas that result in better, more informed, morecreative and more commercially effective decisions. 6
  7. 7. “The only real valuable thing is intuition” Albert Einstein 7
  8. 8. About ‘the secret to everything’This is not a new way of thinking or some mysterious secret.Nothing that follows is particularly original, it’s all stuff that people far more successful than myself have said to me,suggested to me, or alluded to. All I’ve done is teased it apart a little, catalogued it and organised it into a ‘users guide’.I say this as I want to be clear that what follows is not mumbo jumbo or new age nonsense. I haven’t just made up a bunchof stuff or pulled some random nonsense from my imagination. Instead I’ve set out to carefully try and articulateobservations of other people and their processes. 8
  9. 9. “Profound insight should sound like simple common sense.” 9
  10. 10. Some contextThe ‘secret to everything’ in itself is really simple. It’s actually something I can write out in just a few lines – and I will later.But the strange thing about the ‘secret to everything’ is that it’s something you have to ‘get’ for yourself. You can’t just betold it. In fact if I just told you what it was here and now you’d be pretty disappointed as it sounds like simple common sense.It’s interesting how often that you find profound insight sounding like simple common sense.To really ‘get it’ requires some sort of context. This context is provided by a short journey through some very simple ideas.Each idea in itself a way of ‘tuning in’ to an intuition.Anyway, I’ve set out to provide this context, and again, this stuff is not mysterious, it’s simply a lot of stuff other really smartpeople have led me to.On the surface, this context may look like a list of mostly unrelated things. You’ll read it and wonder where the hell it’s goingand what it’s got to do with ‘the secret of everything’.But if you want to get to the secret of everything you’ll just have to go with it for while. 10
  11. 11. That little voice in your headMost of us have heard it from time to time.If you haven’t, stop reading now, put this thing down and go and watch TV this is not a book about you.Still here…ok.That little voice - call it whatever you want - a ‘hunch’, a ‘gut feeling’ an ‘intuition’ or ‘that little voice in your head’, when itspeaks to you, listen. That little voice knows more than you do.The thing about that little voice is that it seems to come out of nowhere.Somehow, without you knowing it, from somewhere in the mysterious darkness inside your head, something has been goingon and your brain has come up with something it wants you to know about – and that little voice or ‘hunch’ is its way oftelling you.There’s a good case to be made that what this little voice has to say is going to be a whole lot better than anything yourconscious mind will come up with. 11
  12. 12. When you hear it, forget about what your conscious rational mind is telling you. Your rational mind likes to be in charge ofproceedings and is in the habit of bossing around that little voice in your head. So, try to ignore that rational thing and gowith your instinct- we’ll talk in detail about the reasons why later in the book.To get the secret of everything you need to be able to listen to and trust that little voice.The real trick is in hearing it and there are ways of tuning into it – and we’ll come to that soon. As I said, our conscious mindlikes to be the centre of attention and is loud, bossy and opinionated so it can tend to drown out what that little voice istelling you.And there’s one other thing guaranteed to drown out that little voice more than anything else: other people.Other people are trouble. Ignore other people. This is all about youIf you have a good idea, don’t ask anyone else what they think. Forget about other people, they are strangers and impossibleto understand.Also, if you ask other people what they really think, they’re not always going to tell you the truth. At best, you’ll get politesupportive happy talk. So forget other people. They’re not going to be much help and will only confuse things.Here’s why.If you’ve got an idea and a hunch that it’s right, it probably is. Too much input from others means you have a bunch ofpossibly conflicting opinions to weigh up. From this comes doubt uncertainty and before you know it, that clarity you had isgone.That certainty you had is lost. So you end up not doing anything. We’ve all experienced this.So you need to listen to that little voice in your head. It’s a quiet voice and it’s easily drowned out. That little voice is the oneyou want to tune into. That hunch or intuition is all that’s important.This is all about you and what you really think: ignore everyone else. 12
  13. 13. This horse walks in to a bar...*The other thing about other people is that there is stuff that some of them will never get.They sometimes just won’t get your idea.It’s like telling a joke – you can tell someone a joke and they will laugh – they get the joke.If they don’t get the joke you can explain it to them, they’ll then understand why it’s funny, but they still won’t really get it.The joke is only funny if you get it. An explanation kind of ruins the fun.I work in advertising, communication and marketing and I come across a lot of people who just don’t ‘get’ what advertisingpeople or designers do, or understand why all those small subtle things we care about are even the slightest bit important. Ican explain why they are important, but that doesn’t mean they get it.It’s frustrating, because sometimes the people who need to ‘get it the most tend to be the ones who understand it the least– and therefore the hardest ones to convince they need it. We’ve all experienced this. It’s a conundrum.Ok, so other people don’t ‘get stuff’, but the thing is there is probably stuff that you currently don’t ‘get’ yourself –sometimes it’s jazz, sometimes it’s synchronised swimming, sometimes it’s eating oysters, sometimes it’s why one shade ofblue is more ‘right’ than another - it can be anything.But that stuff you don’t get – with practice it is gettable.Deciding you want to get stuff that you don’t get is a big thing. You may wonder why it’s necessary at all. But it is, and whywill become clear a little later in the book. 13
  14. 14. If you want a rational reason right now, think of it this way: in business, management, marketing, communications andthings where the mastery of subtle and important details are concerned, if someone gets something you don’t they mayhave the upper hand. Learning to ‘get stuff’ levels the playing field. It can even tip things your way.To get to the secret of everything deciding to get stuff you don’t get is it’s a decision you need to make.How to know when you need to ‘get stuff?You’ll know you need to get stuff when you think any of these three things:1. I don’t get it.2. I don’t see the point in it.3. It’s just detail and it’s not important.It all sounds pretty obvious and it is, but you’ll never ‘get it’ if you don’t recognise that you don’t get it. The thing to know isthat stuff you don’t get is always get-able. You can and will ‘get it’ if you want.You can get anything. Nothing is un-gettable. Knowing with certainty that you can get anything is a big advantage.There is an exercise you can do to help you ‘get stuff’ – “The Drill”. We’ll get to The Drill in a little while.*This horse walks into a bar, sits down, and orders a Cosmopolitan. The bar tender looks at the horse and says why the long face’. The joke of course being that horses have long faces. A funny thing about human nature is that some people who don’t get a joke will laugh along anyway. 14
  15. 15. Other people are trouble.Ignore other people. 15
  16. 16. Other people are weirdOk, back to other people again for a moment. Other people are a mystery – who knows what they are thinking and feeling.Who knows why they do what they do.Other people are weird and should be ignored.But other people are also really important. Unless you can give them a product or service or something that they really wantor like, you’re not going to get anywhere.There are ways to find out. Market research can help, but there are often biases in qualitative and quantitative information,don’t get me wrong it can be useful stuff, but it has its limitations.If you want to know what other people are really thinking, and why they do all that weird stuff they do, the best thing to dois to get to know yourself a little better. You can’t really know anyone else until you know yourself – at least that whatphilosophy tells you. 16
  17. 17. I’m not going to get all ‘deep and meaningful’, or describe a process for getting to know yourself a little better (there arehundreds of books on that already) or even get into the philosophy of it (that’s what Hinduism, Buddhism and other spiritualpractices are for) , it’s just that we’re all largely the same. Mostly we all respond to the same things in the same way. Thereare some things that are just ‘naturally resonant’ with all of us. Irrespective of where you are, what you do, race, religion andall that, we’ve got a lot in common with each other.Understand what you like and respond to and you’ll find that it’s pretty much the same as the stuff a whole bunch of otherpeople like and respond to – there is a lot of common ground.There are whole industries that rely on this simple fundamental truth – without this Hollywood would cease to function.And it’s this common ground that holds ‘the secret of everything’.The secret of everything involves understanding that some things are just naturally resonant - and then listening to yourself.What resonates with you?This is all about you. This naturally resonant stuff is important and I’ll get back to it a little later. 17
  18. 18. You can be weird tooSometimes we make bad decisions because we are worried about what others will think.Now, if you consider how weird other people are, it becomes clear that worrying about what they think is a weird thing todo. But we worry about it anyway; it’s just how we’re made.Sometimes, fighting against that little voice in your head is another little voice – the negative little voice.The role of this voice seems to be to second guess what other people are thinking or will think. It spends its time worryingabout what other people think of you.This negative little voice is not your intuition speaking. It’s your enemy. It’s meek, fearful, worried about appearances,superficial and stupid. It’s also very persuasive.We all want to please others and have others think well of us and take us seriously – so we tend to give that little voice moreauthority than it deserves. A power it is willing to abuse.As a rule of thumb, when you have these negative thoughts, ignore them, ignore all of them. So not only do you have toignore what other people think, you have to ignore what you think they think.Focus on your instinct, not on that negative voice.It’s tricky, because for some reason people tend to fixate on negatives, but that’s not going to get anyone anywhere. 18
  19. 19. What that stupid little negative voice forgets that you knowThat stupid little negative little voice will worry itself about nearly anything.Sometimes it’s worried about what that venture capitalist will think of your ‘out there’ idea or that million dollar client willthink of your ‘left field’ business name or brand.It worries what the consumer will think of that really ‘creative’ ad, or how your friends will judge you by what’s printed onyour business card.It worries about what that special new person in your life will think about your secret passion for steam trains (or whatever)– it’s a crazy paranoid little voice and there’s no telling what it will prevail upon you to do.It tries to get you to stop doing stuff you really feel good about.But that stupid little negative voice forgets something.It forgets what you know. It forgets that you know we are all a lot alike. It forgets that we’ve got a lot in common with eachother. It forgets that merchant bankers, venture capital folk, clients, customers and friends are people too.It forgets all about the common ground.It’s so worried about judgment that it forgets that other people will often think and feel just like us. And that if we like it, orbelieve it, there’s a good chance they will too. 19
  20. 20. There is too much at riskto make safe decisions. 20
  21. 21. Safe decisions seem like sensible ones.It seems rational – if it works for others, why not do the same thing ourselves? So people pretty much tend to go along withthe crowd and fit into whatever the dominant paradigm is.And there’s that negative voice to contend with: it’s another reason why we don’t always go out on a limb – we’re scared oflooking foolish and of what others will think, so people make what they think are safe decisions.We are failure adverse and we equate looking foolish with failure; the irony is that this can result in failure.It’s why there is so much boring bland woolly minded ‘me too’ mush out there. Everyone is keeping their heads down andplaying it safe. You can see it for yourself, take advertising for example; in any given category all the competitors campaigns,propositions and USPs look very similar and all the major players tend to behave in very similar ways.Mostly it’s because a lot of people making what they think are safe decisions – they’re all playing the same game, maybeeven listening to that stupid negative little voice. Which means they end up doing pretty much what everyone else is doing.You won’t do anything remarkable that way – and to succeed, especially in the competitive market, place you need to beremarkable. Which means it is simply too risky to play it safe*.So as I said before, not only do you have to forget what other people think. You also have to forget about what you thinkother people will think.*As an exercise, next time you reject an ‘out there’ idea or a ‘left field’ suggestion, ask yourself why. Listen to that little voice in your head. Question your reasons. Understand the reasons and it may lead to a very different decision. 21
  22. 22. So far…So far we’ve looked at instinct, intuition and that little voice in your head and how to get rid of obstacles to it being heard.Now we’ll look at other ways to put that little voice to work. Ways to ‘tune it in’ and to find inspiration and new perspective,we’ll start by looking at two ‘thresholds’. 22
  23. 23. • The two thresholds: sensation and cognition Imagine you are at a cafe. You’re sitting there with the paper, having a coffee, it’s a lovely day, the birds are singing, the cafe is nice. After a while your mood has changed. You probably won’t even realise that your mood has changed – you mostly only notice these subtle things if you make the conscious decision to reflect upon the moment*. But if you do chance to reflect upon it you may find yourself feeling ok, you’re content – something about the experience and the cafe has subconsciously affected you. And here’s the observation: Things can affect your mood, state of mind, humour or disposition quite profoundly without you realising it. The things that affected you were within the threshold of sensation, but below the threshold of cognition. The threshold of sensation is when your body and your subconscious is capable of picking and responding to a stimulus. The threshold of cognition is when you consciously reflect on your state of mind and realise it’s changed. It’s only when we reflect can we find words to think about things, understand them and describe them. With reflection comes thoughts and descriptions. A lot of the stimulus we encounter in our experience of the world is like this – it affects the way we feel without us realising it – unless we reflect upon our state of mind. It’s stimulus that falls below our threshold of cognition. It’s not new idea or a complex one, it’s a notion that’s been alive in contemporary psychology and philosophy for ages, but to get the secret of everything it requires getting your head around it. The key idea here is that there is a big fat gap between the threshold of sensation and the threshold of cognition. 23
  24. 24. And here’s the observation…Things can affect your mood, state of mind, humour or disposition quite profoundly without you realising it.The things that affected you were within the threshold of sensation, but below the threshold of cognition.The threshold of sensation is when your body and your subconscious is capable of picking and responding to a stimulus.The threshold of cognition is when you consciously reflect on your state of mind and realise it’s changed.It’s only when we reflect can we find words to think about things, understand them and describe them. With reflectioncomes thoughts and descriptions.A lot of the stimulus we encounter in our experience of the world is like this – it affects the way we feel without us realisingit – unless we reflect upon our state of mind. It’s stimulus that falls below our threshold of cognition.It’s not new idea or a complex one, it’s a notion that’s been alive in contemporary psychology and philosophy for ages, butto get the secret of everything it requires getting your head around it.The key idea here is that there is a big fat gap between the threshold of sensation and the threshold of cognition.*There’s a lot written on this subject to, not just psychology and science, but there’s also a Buddhist practice called ‘mindfulness’. You’ve probably noticed I’m trying to avoid quoting an endless list of sources, so Google it if you’d like to know more. 24
  25. 25. Closing the gap...The secret of everything requires that you master the ability close this gap between the threshold of sensation and thethreshold of cognition and do it at will.This is really important. It’s not that hard. And you might do this already.Here’s what I mean: I like wine, but I know nothing about it. I have a sip and I like it or I don’t – don’t ask me why I either likeit or don’t, I simply can’t tell you. But my friend Crispin can.My friend Crispin likes wine. He can take a mouthful of it and describe it in detail, stuff like “there’s lots of oak, but I’mgetting raspberry and some floral notes”. That kind of thing.He’s not being pretentious, he’s not that kind of guy, he’s simply learnt a bit about wine and can tell you what he tastes,what he likes and why.Unlike me, Crispin has learnt to close that gap between the sensation and the cognition.And he’s learnt it by experience and practice; it’s the only way you can do it.The other really important thing Crispin has, that I don’t, is a vocabulary – a bunch of words which he can use to articulateand communicate and think about his experience ‘wood’ ‘floral, ‘oak’.Lots of things we do in the course of our daily lives require the ability close this gap, wine tasting is just one example, thereare plenty – chefs, mechanics, surfers, florists, soldiers, HR people, teachers and heaps of other people all need to trainthemselves to think and talk about the sensory experiences they have in the course of their professional activitiesThis is also what good designers, art directors, photographers and creative people do – some of their best decisions areinformed by this. 25
  26. 26. I asked a designer friend to describe the orange I’ve used on the cover of this book in 5 words. As an exercise, have a look atthe cover, think about the orange and how it makes you feel. Then try to pick 5 words to describe it. When you have chosenyour 5 words, read the small print at the bottom of this page.*A designer will tell you about orange and the different qualities of different oranges and how different oranges can make youfeel differently. It’s what they do. They need to think about such things - ask them if they are ‘closing the gap between thethreshold of sensation and the threshold of cognition’ or ‘tuning in’ their intuition and they’ll look at you like you weredemented: they do it, but don’t know they are doing it.It’s probably what you do when you walk into a meeting and size up the people in the room. You’re making judgments basedon a whole range of subtle things, from how they’re dressed, to how they sit in their chairs and how they talk.Think about where else you may do this?Like Crispin with wine, there may be areas where you do this all the time, its worth considering what they are, because ifyou can do it for one thing, you can do it for anything.*My friend chose the words: intelligent, bright, happy, energetic and positive , and you? – Would you agree? There’s nice a book about colours called Colour Image Scale, you may enjoy it. 26
  27. 27. Getting it….A while back in ‘this horse walks in to a bar...’ we talked about how some people don’t get stuff and how we sometimesdon’t get stuff ourselves.Central to the secret of everything is being able to teach yourself to get stuff. Like Crispin with wine.If you consider the chapters ‘The two thresholds, sensation and cognition.’ And ‘closing the gap’ you’ll find that it suggests alittle technique for ‘getting stuff’ that you may have never gotten before.It’s a technique called ‘The Drill’ and it’s the subject of the next chapter.It’s a tool that can help you look at a thing, an advertisement a place or a product, your competition, anything really, andfigure out what makes it work and why people may like it and from that you can draw some conclusions, learn somethinginteresting and valuable or find some useful inspiration or direction.This is another part to the secret to everything.It’s something not many people know, so knowing it and being able to do it can be quite an advantage. It’s also somethingyou can practice to become very good at. 27
  28. 28. Why do you like what you like? 28
  29. 29. The Drill™Take a sick day or a ’mental health day’ and spend it doing all the stuff you like doing.Listen to your favourite music, Google stuff, update your Facebook status, go to your favourite cafe, flirt with the waiter orwaitress go shopping, read the paper, watch TV, have a nice nap.Listen to your favourite music. Take yourself shopping. Just get out of the office and clear your head a little.Then, here’s what to do: in the course of making yourself happy you’re going to do one thing. You’re going to keep remindingyourself to think and reflect on your current state of mindYou’re then going articulate what you think. Start deconstructing stuff – like the cafe, what do you like about it, what makesit nice? Is it the music? Is it the waitress? Is it the ambiance?If it’s the ambiance, what about the ambiance do you like? Is it the colour of the walls? If it’s the colour of the walls askyourself what is about that colour that you like. Is it a peaceful colour? Is a homey colour?You get the picture. Keep drilling down into the details. Down and down, deeper and deeper.It’s not enough to say ‘I like it because it’s blue’ you need to know what you like about that particular blue, is it calm,optimistic, peaceful, tranquil or positive – you have to keep drilling down as far as you can. 29
  30. 30. Figure out what it is you are really responding to.Often it’s not one particular thing that makes something work. Sometimes it’s a combination of many small things that makethe big picture so pleasing.So, reflect; articulate.The secret of everything is wrapped up in all of thisIt can be found in the nuances of things, subtle things that we don’t usually notice because they are simply a very small partof larger picture.Things that are so small that you’d not immediately think of them to be in anyway important.What we’re looking for can be found one step beyond where we usually stop – it’s why we have to keep drilling down intothe details of a thing, a place, an experience, a colour or an object.It’s why this technique is called ‘The drill’.Sometimes you may drill down to something that feels like an important insight. Sometimes it may be a very, very smallthing. But when you find it, your instinct will tell you and it will be right.It’s like wine tasting. You make a decision to try and interpret the sensory input in a conscious way and then try to put avocabulary around what you find. 30
  31. 31. The more you think, the less clear it gets. 31
  32. 32. Thinking ruins stuff...This is going to sound like a contradiction. It’s the opposite of what we’ve spoken about in The Drill.It’s not, and I’ll explain this in a moment.Sometimes, the more you think about something the more confusing it becomes. Certainty goes out the window.Sometimes the beauty of something is just ‘there’ and pulling it apart into a bunch of discreet details really ruins it.We know that the whole is always much more than the sum of the parts.The purpose of The Drill is to create a greater awareness of what’s going on around you. That awareness provides newperspective. That new perspective provides stimulation for that little voice.So this is where the other stuff comes in, the stuff about listening to that little voice in your head.Do The Drill and listen for the little voice while you do.When you hear the little voice, stop, listen.Use The Drill when your gut instinct isn’t telling you much.There’s a balance to be struck here. Be careful, don’t over think things. Listening to yourself (as you over think things) is justas bad as listening to other people or that little negative voice. You will find that balance. 32
  33. 33. You can be good a fooling yourselfThere’s an idea that many behavioral psychologist hold to be true: a lot of our decision making is irrational. Again, you canGoogle this.We make most of our decisions emotionally; we then seek to rationally justify our actions retrospectively.We decide lots of things based on emotion – fear (that stupid negative voice again) , anxiety, greed, status, or whatever - andthen come up with a bunch of what sounds like rational reasons to justify whatever nutty thing we’ve set our hearts on.It’s why people bought Jaguar cars when for years they did nothing but leak oil and rack up repair bills.Consider that this may be true; consider that we do make a lot of our decisions irrationally. What would this mean for thedecisions we think that we have rationally come to? Would it indicate that another, completely distinct, decision makingprocess could be considered?Consider that this is your cue to listen to that ‘little voice’. 33
  34. 34. SnapYou’ve probably had times when the answer or the right thing to do has come to you almost instantly and it feels right*.It’s the first thing that has popped into your head.You’ve then battled on with you thinking, maybe for days, only to find that you come back around to your first idea anyway. Ifyour instinct tells you that your first idea is correct go with it. Still explore, but don’t dismiss what seems to come easily.Sure, there are times when that can be stupid thing to do.Sometimes its true that the first idea that pops into your head is the first idea that’s going to pop into someone else’s too. So ifyoure after something new you should keep drilling.Another idea will come, they always do. If it doesn’t, go out and walk the dog, take a swim, hang out with some friends orsomething, then come back to it.When that new and better idea comes along you will have a gut instinct about it too.We’ll soon get back to the value of ‘the first thing that has popped into your head’, so hold on to this thought for a moment.*I was not going to credit all the people, books and things I’ve drawn on here otherwise it would end up being longer than this book, however I keep getting reminded that there’s a book called Blink by Malcolm Gladwell about this. So some of this will feel familiar to you if you’ve read it. Blink relates this ‘instant’ decision making to experience and expertise in a subject. 34
  35. 35. Sometimes the more you knowthe less you can make good decisions. 35
  36. 36. Too much informationSometimes the more you know the less you can make good decisions.You have to decide how much is enough. The more information you have, the more shades of grey there are. It can becomeconfusing.You need to make judgments: make decisions based on as little information as you need, no more, no less.Before you decide anything else, decide what you’re going to ignore.Too much experience of something can also make decision making difficult. That negative little voice will only tell you thatit’s ‘not how things are done’ or it’s too hard or it’s not possible. You will only see the obstacles, why something is notpossible, and that will stop you pursuing what you need.If what you’re doing or contemplating is new to you, you will have an advantage. Often People who come from outside don’thave baggage and will often bring ideas that are not blinkered by what they think they know. More becomes possible.It’s hard to step away from your experience. It’s hard to step away from what you think you know. But you can.It’s why children can be brilliant.Children don’t care as much about what other people think, they’re very much focused onthemselves, also their experience is limited, so they don’t see the problems – to them anything is possible.We’ve talked about how important it is to ignore what other people think, but if you really want some advice, talk to a child. 36
  37. 37. Trust flashes of inspirationWe’re back to ‘the first thing that has popped into your head’.Chances are that your brain is a whole lot faster than you give it credit for.After all we know some ideas happen instantly. They just seem to emerge fully formed from somewhere inside you.Why is a mystery; however consider a theory:Our bodies can only do things so fast, for example it takes time for a nerve impulse to reach a fingertip from your brain. Thespeed with which we can do anything is limited by bio mechanics.Our brain is another thing all together, inside our heads, without the limitations of things like the speed of transmissiondown a long nerve fibre, things can happen faster.Maybe it’s why in a dream hours of dream time can occur in only a few minutes of REM.While awake it seems like our conscious brains may be slowed down to better match the speed of the rest of our body. Itwould after all not be much use if our brains were sending out signals so much faster than our bodies could act upon them.Our conscious perception of time may be an artifact of this.However sometimes, in some situations, like when super quick thinking is a life or death matter, our brains will brieflycooperate.If youve ever been in an accident you may have had the sensation of time passing slowly – it may be a related phenomenon.There is a reason for this discussion: when youve had those flashes of inspiration, they may be better informed than youthink and possible worthy of your serious consideration – if you don’t already, trust your flashes of inspiration. 37
  38. 38. • If you make up your mind quickly, change it slowly If you have acted quickly on a hunch, it can be tempting to change your mind. You’ll mull things over, consider your options, worry you’ve made the wrong choice, panic, start asking people, start listening to the people you’ve asked and before you know it you’re full of doubt anxiety and things like that. That stupid negative little voice seizes upon the opportunity. So you’ll change your mind and ignore that ‘hunch’. It happens a lot. So at a point, you’ll have to decide to stop thinking about it and commit. If you think too much, you often end up doing more thinking than doing. So work to a rule: If you make up your mind quickly, change it slowly. 38
  39. 39. What your brain may be telling youSo let’s say you have had a flash of inspiration, or something just goes ‘snap’ straight away, or you have a hunch or anintuition or whatever.Your brain is clearly telling you something makes sense, something resonates with it, and the decision feels right.The question is why.Which brings us to the next part of the book. 39
  40. 40. Naturally resonant ideas™At the beginning there were a couple of lines that went like this: “we’re all largely the same, mostly we all respond to thesame things in the same way. Irrespective of where you are, what you do, race, religion and all that, we’ve got a lot incommon with each other.”For examples, it’s probably best to look at the feel good stories that you see at the end of the news or on current affairsprograms or in the paper or in reality TV.For now, let’s consider one of these, reality TV. We all know those stories from reality TV where the underdog triumphs andcomes back from adversity to win. The unlikely underdog who struggles, gets knocked down and gets back up again to claimthe prize. We see stories like this all the time. And it’s the same all over the world.Our brain seems to like these things, it’s drawn to them, somehow, for some reason, they resonate with you. They areuniversal.Take the Drill to these stories and you’ll find something interesting; you’ll find that a range of very similar patterns and verysimilar stories keep emerging.These stories seem to have a natural resonance –something about them seems to connect with people everywhere,irrespective of race, religion, country and even of time.I call these ‘naturally resonant ideas’, this is just one example of these ideas. 40
  41. 41. I’m not going to concern us with why they are naturally resonant – Google the subject and you’ll find lots of academicresearch on archetypes and such things. Carl Jung wrote extensively on the subject.What is true is that such things exist.You can look to literature and the arts if you want and you’ll also find a lot of common themes, there are many instances ofbroadly similar ideas and personality types populating works of literature, art, cinema, folklore and legend.They do because they are naturally resonant .They exist in more than just the arts and on TVIf you apply the Drill to products, services, TV commercials advertising campaigns you’ll find something similar.There are ways of doing things, expressing things, constructing things, designing things and communicating things that arealso naturally resonant.They are naturally resonant; people like them. Identify them, know what to look for and you can look at a thing, an ad, aplace, or a product, anything really, and using the Drill, figure out what makes it work - why people like it. Find it and youhave identified something that is naturally resonant - and from that you can draw some conclusions, learn somethinginteresting and valuable or find some useful inspiration that you can apply to your own challenge.Understanding and accepting the idea of naturally resonant ideas is another secret to everything.Find what is naturally resonant, when something you discover is right, your instinct will tell you. 41
  42. 42. The secret language of thingsThis is the most powerful tool for innovation that you can apply.What naturally resonant ideas tells us is that there is a secret language to things. It’s a secret language we can all speak.The shapes textures, colours and sounds of things – and how they all work together, is a universal language.They tell you things. But they whisper them quietly to you so they can become very hard hear amid all the noise and clutterinside our heads.Trusting your instinct - tuning into your instinct - is how we hear, read and speak that language.This secret language is in everything we can experience with our senses.Tuning into your instincts is not just a tool for gaining valuable business or communications insights. It’s also a valid way ofinterpreting everything from the visual arts to dance, architecture from product design to the design of experiences.Again, this is not a new idea. There are books on understanding art or decoding things, for example architecture, such as deBottons Architecture of Happiness. This secret language is universal, consider that what you can take from the arts canperhaps provide lessons or insights that can be applied to your business or project or product or service.This secret language that we all speak is in those naturally resonant things. Tuning into your instincts to understand thatlanguage is arguably the most powerful tool for innovation that you can apply. 42
  43. 43. CreativeOk, back to Naturally Resonant Ideas.You are creative. You are more creative than you think. We are made this way. It is human nature.I’ve had entrepreneurs, accountants, business people and lawyers assert to me that they were not ‘creative’.A lawyer delivering her closing statements knows how to find a language, a ‘voice’ and a rhythm to her address that sets thetone she wants to create. A business person can do the same thing delivering a sales presentation.Look to any professional, look at your own work, and you’ll see there are times when creativity is clear.We all make creative decisions, sometimes as part of our professional responsibilities, sometimes in the course of our everyday social interactions. We simply don’t recognise that these are creative decisions. But they are.A host at a dinner party will set a table, light a room and find the music that sets the mood he wants to create. 43
  44. 44. Interestingly, when your host sets out to create the mood, he knows what he is doing. And sure enough if you are there, andyou reflect on your state of mind, you may find yourself in just the mood he has deliberately set out to create .Those things he did, maybe dropping the lights, putting on Karma Police by Radio Head or whatever, sets a tone – that workson you.Instinctively your host knows what works to set that tone – because it was naturally resonant (even if he didn’t quite think ofit that way) - if it works for him, it probably works for you.He understands that certain things have an effected on him, so they may affect you too.It’s communication based on the secret language of naturally resonant things.Radiohead will make you feel the way Radiohead makes people feel around the world – Radiohead makes everyone feel thatway.The roll of the Drill is to better understand what is naturally resonant and why creative decisions based on them work. TheDrill helps you ‘read’ that secret language so you can better use what you discover to achieve your own objectives andcreate your own communications – or brand or product or story or anything else.You are creative.We all understand the secret language and naturally resonant things. We have an instinct for them and we all use them,without even knowing we do.And now we have some words, like Crispin with the wine, to articulate the concept – ‘Naturally Resonant Ideas’. 44
  45. 45. Meanwhile in Amsterdam…Karma Police was also a top 40 hit in Denmark, Finland Belgium, Ireland and a few other places – it’s themes seemed tohave a natural resonance, even in very culturally diverse places. The point is this: the common ground transcends race,religion, sex, age and pretty much everything else, it and identifying it quite important. 45
  46. 46. Here is the secret to everything.I have printed this really small for a reason, I wanted it to look like fine print so that if you scanned the book before reading it you would be less inclined to read this.Now you know why.It’s just as I said at the beginning, you can’t just arrive here, you have to get here and hopefully why will now make sense – anyway, my apologies for the contrivanceof the small type.Also, I didn’t want you to get here first because if this was the first thing you read you’d get the impression this was one of those ‘you can do it’ kind of self-helpbooks. And it’s not.Ok…you have experience, you may do research, you get to understand things, talk to people, seek out other views. This is how we rationally inform decision making.Your rational mind then cogitates on them and with luck you have a decision.However the rational approach may not always produce the best outcome. Things like that little negative voice, too much information, concerns about what otherpeople think, too much conflicting input from others and all the other things we’ve touched lightly upon – they can all bias the outcome of your ‘rational’ process orrender it somewhat less than rational.Trusting a hunch is about bypassing all of that. It’s about taking a punt and trusting in your instinct.And that’s the secret to everything – it really is that simple.It’s about by-passing all the stuff that contaminates the rational decision making process. It’s about informing the rational with something more lateral. And findingwhat is naturally resonant.The tips, thoughts and techniques in this little book are about creating an alternative option to consider. A choice. It’s about reducing heuristic bias.So this is it. It’s about you and your instincts. It’s about trusting yourself.You will often be right, you are creative. Your instincts will often be good.You just need to believe it.END. 46
  47. 47. Ravi thanks…Thank you to John Pospisil who provided some clear thinking, ideas and the inspiration to do this, without John this wouldnot exist. He was a lovely friend and the world has lost much in his passing.There are also a lot of other people to thank. You know who you are. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and ideas withme. I am grateful.Dedication…Dedicated to my wife Zhang Hua (Della) my son Indy and my daughter Miao Miao. 47
  48. 48. About Ravi Prasad…Ravi is a strategist and a former Strategist and Planner for agencies including Clemmenger BBDO and Sapient Nitro. He hasalso held senior positions at agencies including Euro RSCG, FCB, Leo Burnett, John Singleton Advertising and WundermanCato Johnston.He has worked for clients including Sony, Dell, Intel, Gatorade, Mercedes Benz, Tourism Australia, the Northern TerritoryTourist Commission, IBM, Acer Computer, Air New Zealand, Sony, HSBC, the Commonwealth Bank and Nike.Over the years his work has won or been finalist in many major national and international advertising awards, these includeADMA in Australia, the Asia Pacific Advertising Festival and the LACP in Los Angeles.In addition to his work for agencies as a strategist, strategy planner and creative he has also held the positions of Lecturer inAdvertising Design and Lecturer in Advertising Studies. He has also worked directly with corporate clients in brand strategy,communications strategy, digital strategy and was the recipient of the Elizabeth Hastings Memorial Award at the 2004 UTSHuman Rights Awards.He’s also the founder of and a co founder of www.tenveryspecialthings.comYou can contact Ravi at: or follow him on twitter @myintuiton 48
  49. 49. The book about youWritten by Ravi PrasadFirst Digital EditionCopyright ©2012 Ravi PrasadISBN 978-0-9808002-0-3iTunes Edition USD $4.99 49