Heraclitus and I made the current issue of BusinessWeek. BusinessWeek had a recent article on the the growing acceptance by the business community of the wisdom of the Bhagavad Gita, the ancient book of Indian spiritual teachings. I sent them my comments about this subject, and they ran them as the lead letter in their magazine (you can see it HERE in the digital version).
In honor of this occasion, let's crack open another of Heraclitus' enigmatic epigrams. Today's is one of his most famous: "You can't step into the same river twice."
I believe there's a creative strategy in this insight: "Escape from obsolete ideas." Follow along, and see if this applies to anything you are currently doing.
Like a river, the world is constantly changing. New laws are enacted and others are no longer enforced. New styles of behavior and expression become fashionable and others are relegated to the dust-heap.
Thus, the strategies we employ need to be appropriate to the problems and opportunities before us.
For example, it's said that the Prussian King Frederick the Great (1712-1786) lost the Battle of Jena even though it was fought in 1806. This means that for twenty years after his death, the Prussian army perpetuated his successful organization instead of adapting to meet the changes in the art of war. Had his generals questioned Frederick's military tenets, they might have fared better against Napoleon.
Remember: every right idea is eventually the wrong idea.
Innovation means not only generating new ideas, but escaping from obsolete ones as well.
As you think about a current problem or issue, you might ask yourself these questions: "What assumptions should I update? What is no longer true and should be discarded? What's now possible?"