There is this story Gordon Livingstone tells in his book about Vietnam. As a young luitanant in the 82d Airborne he tried to determine the position of his platoon. His platoon sargeant walked up and asked if he knew where they were.
Livingstone answered: "according to this map, there should be a hill around here. Yet I don't see it." To which the sargeant said: "If the map doesn't agree with the the ground, the map doesn't work".
Our minds work quite the same way. They do not make sense of reality.
Because humans are irrational. We know this. And as marketers we try to exploit this. Only in order for that to work, we have to be able to step back and as Chuck D said: "Dont believe the hype".
Bob Hoffman once pointed out something about car commercials. We know that the buyers of cars are older. Yet the ads are created for an different audience. Because the map we (as irrational humans) have hinders us from agreeing with the ground.
Now having a wrong map is not always the problem. Daniel Kanheman tells the story of people who were lost in the Alps.
When they returned to base and their commanding officer asked how they had made their way back. They replied, "We suddenly found a map." The officer looked at the map and said, "You found a map all right, but it's not of the Alps, it's of the Pyrenees."
The map, however wrong, gave them confidence to seek out a path down the mountains. In many ways this is what entrepreneurs and marketerts do.
The singles most important, and I would argue most difficult, skill is being able to see what is there. To just observe and notice, without starting to make assumptions. Without connecting or to letting your mind create reality.
It is something Zen Buddishm calles shoshin, beginners mind. But it would be more than just having no preconceptions or judgments. Being able to see what is there requires you to be able to focus and to be aware.
Focus, awareness and absense of judgement are the starting points to doing work that is, unexpected, capturing and effective.
Rob talked about investing in stressmamangement to help employees become better at their work.
To actively start training the mind, not to learn, but to be able to shut down the constant stream of thought it generates.