Published April 20, 2017

The Curious Creature of Habit—2017 GLS Faculty Spotlight

We are delighted to announce that Fredrik Härén, one of the world’s experts on creativity, will be joining us for the Global Leadership Summit in 2017. The following excerpt is taken from his bestseller “The Idea Book.”

Break Old Ways of Thinking

We humans are curious creatures of habit. If we were not curious about the world, then we would still be living in caves.

However, at the same time we are confirmed creatures of habit.  As soon as we have learnt something, we keep on doing it in the same old way. And it is just as well, for if we were continually to question everything, then we would probably go mad. The problem is, however, that our brains trick us into thinking along the same old lines a bit too successfully.

It is, after all, natural for us to imitate. Most animals imitate their parents thus learning how to fly, hunt, swim and so on. In the same way, children listen to their parents and learn a language. It is natural to imitate. To learn and then do the direct opposite is unnatural.

An idea is similar to the transformation of information. Give 100 people access to the same information and 99 of them will consider it to be a fact. One person out of 100 will think: “Mmm, but what if we could….” Just as in nature, 99 percent of these information exchanges are not so successful, while the hundredth one makes sure that development goes forward.

There is a story about an advertising executive in Los Angeles who was so fed up with being stuck in a rut that he forced himself to find new ways of getting to work every day. He never took the same route to work in his nine years of commuting. (Toward the end, he was forced to reverse down one-way streets in order not to repeat himself.)


Identify something at work that you always do in the same old way. Next time you come to do that task, ask yourself if you can do it in another way instead. Consider it a creative challenge to find 20 ways of doing that routine task and do not give up until you have succeeded.

The idea is not necessarily to find a new solution to everyday tasks, but to help you identify all the things in life that we do out of pure habit.


 Fredrik Härén is a business creativity expert who has authored nine books, including “The Idea Book”—credited as one of The 100 Best Business Books of All Time” He’s a global speaker who has been invited to speak to leaders in more than 60 countries on six continents on the importance of creativity in solving problems. Recognizing how challenging it is, Härén provides practical steps to hep individuals and organizations become more creative.

Guest faculty members are invited to participate in The Global Leadership Summit based on proven leadership abilities in their field of expertise. Their beliefs may not necessarily reflect those of Willow Creek Association and Willow Creek Community Church, and their presence at the Summit does not imply blanket endorsement of their views or affiliations.

About the Author(s)
Global Leadership Network

Global Leadership Network

GLN Staff Writer

The Global Leadership Network is a community committed to learning from each other and using our influence to accomplish God’s purposes on earth. No matter where your influence is, when you commit to grow your leadership, everyone around you wins—businesses work for good, communities are transformed and churches thrive! Both global and diverse, our network includes partners in 1,400+ cities and 135+ countries. We are committed to deliver fresh, actionable and inspiring leadership content both at The Global Leadership Summit, and year-round through our digital platforms.

Years at GLS All