Challenge the status quo … regularly!

Okay, well done for making it this far.

You’re about to learn another tool of “disruption”. Before doing so, let’s quickly rehash the tools you’ve been given so far to be sure they remain clearly differentiated in your mind

Random Starting Points (Lesson 2) can be put into action very quickly and easily. Visualize a shotgun that’s always at the ready to knock something out of the sky.

Alternative Perspectives (Lesson 4) is a more “targeted and considered” disruption technique. Visualize a sniper rifle kept for those occasions you have a specific target.

Provocative Operation (Lesson 5) is about disrupting the views of yourself and others (often without their consent or knowledge LOL.) Visualize yourself pulling the pin on a grenade so that everyone is forced to run away.

Are you beginning to see how different tools have different strengths and advantages for different situations and purposes? 

This next tool is about habit.

Challenge Assumptions is about challenging the reason (or the way) we do things. Visualize yourself being a General that wisely considers alternatives before committing your troops.


Let’s get into the lesson proper …


My mind is in a constant “state of war” … and so too is yours.

We all do it.

We imagine the way we wish things had played out.

We imagine conversations and scenarios.

We imagine things we wished were true.

Our imaginations are extremely powerful.

What if we could channel that creativity into positive outcomes by challenging everything that exists in our lives …


When we ask “why?”, we are often asking the more specific question . . . “Is this the only way to do something?”



The drive to IKEA

I recently decided to build my Mom a new kitchen, and I love the ease of dealing with Ikea.

I’m pretty handy with tools, so I measured everything up, went online and saw the options, and designed and priced all the cabinetry and stone tops from IKEA.

On the way there, I decided to channel some of my thoughts to the question:

WHY am I buying the kitchen at Ikea?”


I really did build this.

I turned off the road into an industrial estate to look for kitchen suppliers. By chance, I saw a stone mason’s workshop, so I stopped and spoke to the owner. He told me about better quality and cheaper options that came “fully assembled”.

I SAVED MORE THAN $4,000, and the job took several days less to complete than anticipated.



The train seat

WHY do I always sit right up the front of the train?”

It’s a 45-minute train commute to work and back for me most days. The front carriage typically gets less crowded, so I usually sit there. I know all the regulars up front. I’ve made friends and a great business contact … hmmmm.

Two years later, I know virtually every regular commuter on my route. I’ve made several great friendships and created new income for my business.

To this day, I always move from carriage to carriage to meet new commuters.



The beach walk

We are fortunate to live near the beach.

Whenever the weather is suitable, my partner and I will make the 600-yard bushwalk to the beach early in the morning to get the day off to a good start.

WHY walk to the beach?”

Well … for the exercise. Duh!. Hang on, maybe we could explore different paths to the beach?

We decided to try a different route and found ourselves facing a rather steep and difficult climb. By the time we got to the beach … we really did need a swim LOL.

“Good habits should be introduced early. Try this with the kids someday…”


Child’s play

Why are the plates we eat off round?

(Here we are really asking: “is round the only shape that plates can be?”)

Somebody has already thought about square plates and rectangular plates, but what if we explore the shape and use of plates further? For example:

  • Plates with an elevated platform for sauces and condiments;
  • Plates in the shape of letters of the alphabet or numbers;
  • Plates in the shape of cars or toys that children love;
  • Plates with holders for your cutlery;
  • Plates that glow in the dark;
  • Plates that weigh the food that you eat;
  • Plates with a video screen at the bottom encouraging kids to eat all their food so they can watch their program at the dinner table;
  • Plates that retain or promote heat or cold;
  • Soup bowls with magnetic stirrers;
  • Plates or bowls with a special message that is revealed when you eat it like “Marry me?”, “You’re FIRED!” “I love you Mum and Dad (but I’m PREGNANT!)”, Dad, I PRANGED the car!”;
  • Plates that play music or entertain;
  • Plates with lateral thinking lessons printed on them.

(See: “Lateral thinking games and activities for kids”)

There are NO stupid questions when you come to think of it, only stupid answers. For example, a stupid answer might be “that’s a stupid question!”

Sooooo … the next time your imagination takes you somewhere strange and unproductive (LOL), why not instead use the moment to question “why” you are doing whatever it is you are doing?

Challenge everything … ask “WHY?”

(Applicable for every moment of every day)



Your imagination is powerfully engaged with you during most of your day.

Engage it to challenge everything … your thoughts, your conversations, and your actions.

Make it a habit: Focus idle thoughts on potential positives.


Should you challenge things that are working well?

Escape dominant Thinking

Lateral thinking tool to escape dominant thinking


Check out this precise definition of lateral thinking