In college, I was exposed to a book called Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance that had a lot of impact on me. In it, the author drives himself mad questioning the concept of "quality." What made it influential wasn't any particular idea or philosophy, but how relentlessly the author question his actions and beliefs. Just reading it and putting myself in his shoes initiated an attempt on my part to challenge the notions by which I live, no matter how innocuous or useful they seemed. I only bring it up to explain my passion for exploring the difference between perception and reality, overcoming those biases, and considering how they affect design.
For no great reason, this bit of brainfeed from TED inspired my post.