I wrote an article for On Innovation a few weeks ago and it was published yesterday: Finding your crayons: Innovation inspiration from the young. Initially I wanted the the article to be titled ‘A young mind is a healthy mind’ but I guess that didn’t say much, but here then is what I mean in a nutshell:
To be strategic is to be unconventional
The unconventional is the province of the young who are not comfortable with conventions and take great pleasure in flouting them. The danger is that as we age, we need more comfort and predictability and lose our taste for the unorthodox. This is how one of the finest strategist in the history of our world, Napoleon, declined as a strategist: he came to rely more on the size of his army and on its superiority in weapons than on novel strategies and fluid maneuvers. He lost his taste for the spirit of strategy and succumbed to the growing weight of his accumulating years.
You must fight the psychological aging process even more than the physical one, for a mind full of stratagems, tricks, and fluid maneuvers will keep you young. Make a point of breaking the habits you have developed, of acting in a way that is contrary to how you have operated in the past; practice a kind of unconventional warfare on your own mind.
Keep the wheels in your mind churning against the soil of precedent so that it doesn’t settle on the conventional.