Being flexible in our approach to the future often requires the ability to inhibit or forget the past.
In 1942, Abraham Luchins published a seminal experiment called the “Water Jug Problem”. In this experiment he asked his participants to answer a series of numerical problems where they had to define an equation based on the capacity of each jug that delivered the desired quantity. The problem could be solved using one solution, or sometimes both the first solution and an alternative simpler one. The experiment was designed in a particular way to explore how their experience of solving the initial problems using a specific formula, prevented them from realizing that the latter ones could be solved using a different, more efficient approach.