Posts tagged: Fuzzy Forecaster

How to get at that idea stuck in your head

Fuzzy Forecaster


When a great idea flashes in our brain it feels astounding. Startling. Energizing. The adrenaline makes our eyes open wide, our hands clap together, our spine straighten. We might even let out a whoop of joy before we rush off to tell someone.

But sometimes — between the thinking and the telling — we get a little stuck. The solution that was crystal clear in our head minutes ago is sounding more and more like Dumbledore speaking Gobbledegook when we say it out loud.

This is when we get stuck acting like a Fuzzy Forecaster. It comes with its own special brand of frustration because we can see the possibilities, we just can’t fully grasp them. On the upside, reaching clarity is usually more streamlined than other types of stuck moments. Once we know what’s blocking our communication, there are some pretty easy fixes to adjust our thinking.

To fine-tune your
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Groundhog Day: Phil Connors gets unstuck as a Fuzzy Forecaster

His stuck moment: Cynical weather forecaster Phil Connors is trapped in an endless time loop, doomed to relive February 2 again and again. At least he’s got oodles of time to figure out how to seduce Rita, his beautiful news producer. But he can’t figure out the right way to do it.

He imagines success: Depressed and dejected by the futility of it all, Phil asks for Rita’s advice on his “curse.” Her simple and candid response shows him the way to her heart, and he refocuses his efforts.

Unstuck result: Phil wins Rita over with his newfound sincerity, including a stirring tribute to the townsfolk. She bids for Phil at a bachelor auction and, when they wake up together the next morning, the time loop is
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How we get stuck acting like a Fuzzy Forecaster

Inkling. Glimmer. Hunch. This is often how our best ideas start. It may be a flash in our mind or a slow-creeping nag at the back of the brain. Either way, a fledging piece of brilliance is telling us it’s ready for further development.

But sometimes we don’t develop the idea. Instead, it languishes as a whisper — something we know could be great if only we could hear or see it more clearly. But we can’t, so now we’re stuck acting like a Fuzzy Forecaster.

Confusion is the hallmark of this moment. You’re confused about what the idea is. The people you explain it to are confused by what you’re saying. You’re confused some more because you can’t figure out why the concept is so hazy.

You could just let the idea go, but brace yourself for the regret of what might have been.

Or you could try to imagine the idea differently.

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The ultimate idea fine-tuner

In business, the elevator pitch is meant to get a listener’s attention in 30 seconds or less. For our purposes — getting unstuck as a Fuzzy Forecaster — we use some of the pitch principles to sharpen an idea to a fine point.

Think about 3 key messages
• What makes your idea different from similar ideas?

• What is the primary benefit of your idea?

• What do you want from the listener? Is it to gain understanding of your idea? Do you want the listener to help you in some way?

Consider these pointers
• Imagine your listener knows nothing about you. What do you need to convey about yourself?

• Speak in plain language, which means no jargon or highfalutin words. How can you clearly describe your idea so that it paints a picture in the listener’s mind?

• When you first start writing, put the 30-second time constraint aside. Get all your ideas
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5 steps to get crisp about that idea floating in your head

Getting stuck as a Fuzzy Forecaster is like playing a game of tag with a wisp of an idea — and you’re always “it.” You can never quite grasp the full picture, no matter how fast you run.

So stop running. Catch your breath. Then come at your idea from various angles, putting the picture together piece by piece. In writing. It’s almost uncanny how thoughts get clearer when we write them down.

Check out these other angles to approach your ideas:

  1. What do you see as the end result? In other words, when this idea comes to be, you’ll know because….
  2. What problem are you trying to solve? How is this problem being solved now?
  3. Who will care about this idea? Why will they like it or not like it?
  4. How is this idea different from other ideas about the same topic or issue?
  5. What does this idea require in order to get off the ground?

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Diana Ross’s Stuck Moment as a Fuzzy Forecaster

Her stuck moment: When Motown announced that Ross would play Billie Holiday in an upcoming film, critics ridiculed the casting, claiming Ross and Holiday were “miles apart.”

She imagines success: To close the divide, Ross steeped herself in all things Holiday, from music to drug clinics. And she decided to focus on Holiday’s vocal phrasings rather than trying to imitate her voice.

Unstuck result: “Lady Sings the Blues” was a major success. Ross was nominated for an Academy award and won a Golden Globe.

(All information comes from public sources and does not imply endorsement of
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Terry Gilliam’s Stuck Moment as a Fuzzy Forecaster

His stuck moment: During the filming of “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus,” the star, Heath Ledger, passed away, leaving Gilliam with only one third of the movie complete.

He imagines success: Gilliam reimagined the lead role, inviting Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell to sign on as three-way replacements for Ledger’s character.

Unstuck result: The film was well-received at Cannes and was nominated for two Academy Awards—best art direction and best costume design. 

(All information comes from public sources and does not imply endorsement of
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Billy Beane’s Stuck Moment as a Fuzzy Forecaster

His stuck moment: When he became GM in 1998, Beane couldn’t pay the same player salaries as other teams, but was still expected to run a winning ball team.

He imagines success: Instead of hiring known talent (which he couldn’t afford), Beane used sabermetric principles to recruit undervalued players.

Unstuck result: By 2006, the A’s ranked 24th out of 30 for team salaries, but made the playoffs that year. (Bonus: Beane is portrayed by Brad Pitt in the movie “Moneyball.”)

(All information comes from public sources and does not imply endorsement of
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