Down and In
At the center of Down and In thinking is our own desire for safety, familiarity, and comfort. Most corporations employ Down and In strategy. After they’ve hit on a good idea they dig in and go into preservation mode. Thus begins the slow death of innovative thinking and the birth of chronic mediocrity.
But artists, too, have a tendency to return to what worked before because, if it worked before it’ll work again. Not always so.The real problem with that kind of thinking is that convention tends to collapse in on itself like an imploding star. It creates a sort of black hole with tremendous gravity that’ll swallow you whole and all you’re light with it.
You should avoid Down and In thinking like the plague because it is the plague.
Up and Out
Up and Out thinking, though, wrestles with the primal urge for safety and sees the value in stepping into situations where failure is not only possible, but likely. It knows that, in order to have a good idea you must first have a lot of ideas–more than you can shake a stick at because most ideas die young. But that’s energizing not demoralizing.
Up and Out thinking is obsessed with doing interesting things in life, flipping convention on its head, and coopetition–the idea that no one totally owns any idea and, by cooperating with your competition, new things can arise. It’s counterintuitive, but it’s true. Revolutions are begun this way.
It lets go instead of hangs on. It sees connections in unlikely places. It’s fueled by boredom and dissatisfaction, but is inspired to action by them.