Why Didn't I Think of That?
Upon release of a new feature or invention, I hear people say, “I wish I had thought of that.” Depending on the topic, I occasionally hear people say, “I thought of that, I could be a millionaire!”
Just last week, I opened my Kindle reader on my iPad and tried the “continuous scroll” feature. I was immediately caught up in the simplicity of the idea, but realized I had never thought to read a book this way despite all my years of reading on the internet. Books were made with pages—you have to turn the page when reading a book! Obviously I was mistaken and simply trapped in my pre-conceived boundary of how one can read books. Breaking out of this boundary is difficult for many of us no matter how creative we are.
Yet, had my first Kindle app only offered continuous scrolling, I might have put the app back on the shelf and read with a Nook or something else that made me more comfortable. I love to try new things and would like to think I would have been an early adopter, but the reality is we all like things that are familiar. My Kindle app was comfortable to me originally because it stayed within my preconceived boundaries of what a book is. It was tough enough to get me to give up paper for digital books. In fact, it took years to get me to leave paper books for digital books, although I now read digital books more than 80 percent of the time.
So, why didn’t I think of continuous scrolling? What held me back from realizing that is the best way to read a book? I could argue that it is because I don’t control the app and wasn’t able to impact the way I read books so I just accepted it, but that has never stopped me before from wondering why a feature wasn’t available. I was stuck in an artificial (and perhaps comfortable) boundary. In this particular case, it wasn’t life changing, but rather just a really awesome improvement to how I read books (I never have problems highlighting on page turns). Yet, it was a reminder to me of the importance of being curious and questioning why things are the way they are. I can’t change everything, but in questioning why something is the way it is, I might just find a solution that allows me to be different than my competition.
What boundaries are you accepting that you don’t need to accept? What can you do to make others say, “Why didn’t I think of that?”