Take Detours — Get Lost



In a sense, any act of Creativity is a detour. Any act of Creativity relies on your ability to go somewhere unexpected, sometimes physically and sometimes mentally. Getting lost is an essential part of the game.

When you rush toward your destination, you take the main route and miss potential, surprising discoveries.

When you avoid the shortest path and allow yourself to get lost for a while, you create an Experience. When you are in an unfamiliar place (physical or conceptual) or free from concrete and immediate goal, you become more perceptive. You notice more and allow things to leave a mark. You are more curious, and you are more likely to marvel at the things you see. Getting lost is an Experience, and it is a great setup for the next functions in The Creativity Operating System to work in.

Taking Detours and Getting Lost creates the setup for unexpected things to happen and be discovered. These surprising ingredients are like rare spices that can turn a creative dish into a masterpiece.

actionable steps

Plan to take physical and mental detours and even to get lost. Don’t always take the fastest, shortest, or predictable route. Make room for detours no matter where you are heading.

Wander aimlessly physically and mentally from time to time. Explore places you don’t know, but also wander in familiar places. When you don’t have a concrete destination and an immediate goal, your brain will be more receptive and engaged in an Experiencing mindset.

Make space to explore uncharted territories and playgrounds.

When facing a problem, allow yourself to get lost in a search for a solution.

Save some time to do nothing but to get lost in thoughts.

Record what you Experience when you take detours and get lost.


Example 1

Take a walk in a street you do not know or haven’t visited for a while. If you allow yourself to get lost (for example, by avoiding using a navigation app), you will feel like you are on a trip abroad. Everything around you will seem new, and you will perceive more details. It will be an Experience that leaves a mark.

Example 2

It is tempting to search for a well-known solution to a problem you are facing. But if you take the time to get lost intellectually and think of a solution, you will have an Experience. Whether you will come up with an optimal solution or not is less important. You will always have the fallback of searching for a known one. But the process of coming up with your own solution is packed with Observation, Imagination, Wondering, and Fusion — it utilizes your Creativity Core Functions, and therefore it has immense value regardless of the outcome.

further exploration

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