The Net and The Butterfly is filled with anecdotes about people who have achieved major breakthroughs in thinking—László Biró and the ballpoint pen, Archimedes and volume, Chuck Yeager and the sound barrier, William Watts and round bullets.
There are four types of breakthroughs: eureka, metaphorical, intuitive, and paradigm. Eureka breakthroughs happen fast. Metaphorical breakthroughs appear as metaphors or analogies and require interpretation. Intuitive breakthroughs come with a “knowing” or “gut feeling.” Paradigm breakthroughs affect all of humanity and change how we see the world.
Breakthroughs come when your mind is challenged with something new, you’ve stopped wrestling with the problem and are taking a break, or you’re experiencing (physically, mentally, emotionally) something you’ve never seen, heard, felt, or tasted before. The Net and The Butterfly helps us capture (net) those elusive ideas (butterflies) to break through our conditioned thinking and recreate the process again and again. Once you know the type of breakthrough(s) you resonate with, you’re on the path to having more.
To get into the breakthrough habit, the authors give some illuminating exercises:
- Try the Seven Essential Innovation Questions (p. 58) and gain new perspective.
- Use Pattern Recognition (p. 62) to create something new out of something old. James Cameron did this with Avatar.
- Put on a different hat with the Six Thinking Hats (p. 86) and fire up your team.
- Or build a constraint box (p. 97) and turn your negatives to positives.
If you’re worried about the fear of failure (not having a breakthrough or coping with the consequences of one), it’s unavoidable. Fear shows up as the impostor syndrome, inner critic, perfectionism, and maximizing. You can’t avoid fear but you can learn to work through it with the exercises in Chapter 7. And the SuperTools in Chapter 10—higher purpose, altruism, and meditation—will almost guarantee a breakthrough.
We all look at health, work, relationships, etc. through our filters of friends, family, education, community. When we’re stuck it often seems there’s no way out. Let The Net and The Butterfly be your guide to new perspectives. You can find a way.
Get ready for a breakthrough!
[Originally published in the Conscious Life Journal, May 2018]