If you want to be an innovator, you can benefit from listening to people who are wrong. Or at least, people who you think are wrong.
If you exclusively consume news media or blogs that affirm your specific political or religious views, you are limiting your potential to innovate and think abstractly You may have the creative drive of Picasso, but if you only choose to listen to the loudest voices in your personal school of thought, you’ll be as effective as the master painter sitting in a corner, patting himself on the back reciting: “Good painter… good painter.”
Pardon the cheesy example, but I’m sure you get the point. We, as humans, are creatures of comfort. We tend to take the path of least resistance. If you’re a staunch, right-wing Christian (who likes to party with tea, perhaps), you might listen to Bill O’Reilly and cheer aloud when he mocks the President. If you are a progressive, left-wing liberal (who scoffs at the idea of a higher power) you might get excited when Bill Maher bashes religion.
Here’s the point: both Maher and O’Reilly are experienced, intelligent (if verbose) media personalities that are extremely opinionated. If you listen exclusively to one extreme point of view, particularly one that you agree with, you rob yourself of the benefit of seeing how others view the world. By thinking differently, forcing your mind to understand someone else’s point of view (even if you can never agree with it) you train your mind to look for other solutions.
Alternative points of view, and even contrary points of view, to our own, can be the exact catalyst we need to pioneer new, creative territory.
We all come with experience and expertise in different areas. You could learn about how to invest from a farmer, or how to be a better artist by talking to a trigonometry professor. You can discover the joy a carpenter finds in the grain of a beautiful piece of wood. Or, the nuggets a researcher unearths in a new survey. Open the circle of your network to include people who think differently, with different strengths and even different ideology and see what you might uncover.