How the opposite of an expert opinion can lead you to your muse
Sometimes finding good advice is like selecting a juror. Those who have no prior knowledge of the situation or subject might be better able to give an unbiased and original opinion about your creative choices. Like a good friend you can ask about a family matter or a therapist who can approach you with a completely open mind, the advice of a non expert can open up new possibilities and approaches.
What they don’t know
It makes sense that you would want to know an expert’s opinion on certain matters. You would not, for instance, go to your dentist to ask for legal advice, unless you really think that brushing twice a day is going to make your legal problems go away. However, sometimes these experts that you are asking will give you an answer that can either float over your head or be riddled with bias.
For example, you might ask your dentist why your teeth hurt and he might go into a long monologue riddled with medical terms that make your head spin, or you if you ask the lawyer who represents the other side whether you should sue, he is most likely going to tell you that you absolutely should not sue his or her client. For some problems, especially creative ones, it might even be a good idea to seek advice from those who know as little about the subject as possible. A mind that is not weighed down with extraneous information and biased opinions about a subject will sometimes be able to come up with more illuminating answers to your questions.
Think about a jury and how they are selected because of what they do not know about the trial. This is so that they come into a trial with an unformed opinion willing to weigh both the arguments without bias. Just like you need a juror with an unbiased mind to reach a fair verdict, sometimes you need the opinion of someone who knows nothing about your creative subject in order to reach a decision or find the answer you are looking for.
If you are a cook thinking to fuse two vastly different styles into a single entrée, you might get a better idea on letting someone who is not a professional cook try it out first. A master chef might just take one look at your brave new food concept and immediately dismiss it because it goes against the lore of cooking, but a person who merely knows good food when they taste it, might approach the entrée with a more open mind and give you their honest opinion of the dish, which will probably do more for you and your dish than the dismissive words of a fellow cooking professional.
Like a friend who has nothing to gain or lose in the situation, a therapist who listens to you without bias, or even a random person off the street who has no set opinion about the matter, the opinion of those who know very little about the subject at hand can be a great source of inspirational ideas. Their raw ideas can give you a different creative perspective and allow you to see your work from a completely different angle.