What does it mean to subtract?
I woke up with this question in mind, and I thought that challenging myself to answer in 15 minutes would be a fascinating challenge.
As we wrote in our book, Subtraction, boundless innovation is mystical in nature. It requires us to expand our awareness to access all dimensions of the self and express them. When we do that, we access a potential beyond what our limited human mind can fathom. As counterintuitive as it may sound, to expand our awareness, we need to embrace a process of subtraction that will allow us to remove all conditioning that holds us back from our immense creative potential.
To subtract then means to take away from our life anything that limits our ability to express our extraordinary creative potential. Subtraction may happen at any level of our life.
At the physical level, subtraction means detaching from any material item holding us back. Over a lifetime, we collect stuff in our lives, in our spaces. When we get attached to what we have, the fear to lose it limits our ability to explore, take risks and be curious. We focus more on protecting what we have than creating the new. And that limits our creative potential.
The same thing happens at the social level. We develop relationships; we join groups and communities. Slowly, the need to belong and feel good gets stronger. Anything that can compromise the wellbeing of our tribe or push us out of it becomes a threat. After a while, we stop looking around for opportunities, and the innovation's well dries up.
Ops, time's gone. Fifteen minutes are really short when you’re having fun. I guess I'll have to continue tomorrow.