So far we’ve chatted a lot about the need to think creatively and have even gotten in the habit of using daily affirmations to help us do just that. While I’ve shared a good bit of information about what creative thinking is I haven’t really given you a lot of hands on advice about how to actually start to think that way. That’s about to change. In today’s blog post, we take a look at how we can start to think creatively by looking at a problem from a different angle.
Start With The Obvious And Turn It Around
Look at a problem. Try to figure out how to solve it. What’s the first thing that comes to mind? That’s the obvious answer, the obvious solution. The quickest way to get creative is to take that and completely turn it around.
Let’s say that your problem is paying off your student debt. The obvious solution would be to go after a bigger paying job, a promotion, or a raise, so you have more money at the end of the month to apply to the debt. Turn it around and make a large payment towards that debt at the beginning of the month. This forces you to prioritize, spend less throughout the month, and make due. You’ll pay off your debt in record time without having to wait around for a bigger, better paycheck.
Question Every Assumption You Have
We are all raised to do things a certain way. We make assumptions, and they are what hold us back from coming up with creative solutions. To make sure you can see the most creative and effective solutions, you have to get in the habit of questioning every single assumption you have.
Let’s use something simple as an example. I’m sure you’ve been told plenty of times that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. That’s an assumption that’s been picked up by plenty of doctors to the point where we all believe that it’s true. What if it isn’t? What if you’ve been forcing yourself to spend 20 minutes every morning making and eating breakfast, and it simply wasn’t as important as you think? What if getting those extra 20 minutes back makes you get into the office earlier and helps you impress your boss and get that promotion? (What if?!) What if you’re just fine working on an empty stomach until 11am? (Every body is different.) What if fasting a little longer in the morning was actually good for your health? (It is.)
Don’t take stuff at face value. Don’t do things because that’s how we’ve always done them. Question them and see if there’s a better solution waiting on the other side.
Brainstorm And Don’t Be Afraid To Go Crazy
Brainstorming is a great way to get to those creative solutions. You can do this by yourself, but it works even better in a team. Sit down and just start to throw out possible solutions or ideas. Don’t censor yourself; don’t edit… just start to let it all out.
In the beginning, you’ll get all the obvious answers that you’ve already thought of and dismissed. That’s OK. This is a process, and the conventional ideas have to come out before you are able to get to the truly innovative and crazy stuff. Keep pushing and keep digging for more and more, no matter how outrageous or ridiculous it seems. This is when you and your team start to think creatively. Keep going and see where it leads you. Most of the ideas won’t work, but if you’re lucky you will find the one that’s just crazy enough to work.