Best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell said “the visionary starts with a clean sheet of paper, and re-imagines the world.”

At first glance many of us will tend to disregard this quote because most of us don’t consider ourselves “visionaries,” but that’s a misconception. Everyone has unique thoughts and ideas; we just don’t tend to action on them.

Not so long ago I visited a company to consult on their quality system. While touring their facility one of their senior managers commented they were engaged in developing a new product line. For the first time in this organization’s long and storied history they were engaged in product development as a reengineering effort. In other words they threw out most everything they knew, started with a "clean sheet of paper" approaching this new product from an entirely new perspective.

This reengineering effort required “outside the box” thinking.  To break the existing mold, people had to expand their paradigms of thought. It’s not easily done but certainly doable —organizationally as well as individually.

How many times have we’ve gone about doing a job or a task the exact same way because that’s the way we’ve always done it. How many times, because of rushed time-lines or convenience, have we fallen into old patterns, thoughts, behaviors and actions? While these may be workable solutions, they might not give us the best results. Although we have confidence in a process that has proved successful in the past, what are we potentially giving up? We are quite often settling for less than might have been or at least the potential for greater achievement.

The history books are riddled with people who have come up with new ways of looking at the status quo and revolutionized an industry. For instance, Henry Ford, commonly accredited with the mass assembly line, challenged the status quo. Ford switched perspectives of the time to expand his paradigm.  Using many concepts of Fredrick Taylor to simplify worker tasks, Ford simply moved the car down a moving convey past the worker. Perhaps without knowing exactly what he was doing, Ford gave the problem to his subconscious and his mental reticular activating system which allowed him to solve the challenge and change the world.

So, what do you have coming up that might benefit from starting over with "a clean sheet of paper?” Remove your current boundaries of thought. Consider that there are no restrictions. If you can dream it, all things are possible. Free your mind and give your reticular activating system the goal of finding a new way to accomplish the challenge. You may find yourself doing something as simple as finding a different route to school or work to save time and reduce transportation costs. Or, you just might discover your own revolutionary way of looking at the future. You might awaken one morning to find that you truly are a “visionary” — aperson who expanded their paradigms of thought to positively create a more enjoyable world, even if it’s just your own corner of the world. Why not you?

Think about it.