I recently started reading several blogs and e-books related to creative thinking. As my job requires a lot of brainstorming and creative solutions, I tried to boost my imagination and get around several useful tips on the topic. As always, I started with creative thinking Don’ts, blocks, and barriers.
First I tried to find an answer to the question: What exactly is a thinking block?
The simplest answer I could get is that this is a situation where all of a sudden you just cannot come up with a decent answer or solution to a problem because your mind goes blank. And the harder you try – the more confused you get. Creativity depends a lot on how our brain works. It all rests on which hemisphere the brain is more engaged while thinking.
Science has shown that the left hemisphere of our brain is responsible for logical thinking, while the right one is for creative and lateral thinking. I will try to use both sides of my brain equally while writing this article.
Here are several situations that caught my mind:
There is always another solution
Someone once said it would be stupid to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results. That is why, when thinking, analyzing, making decisions, or brainstorming, you should always look for another opportunity.
Creative thinking is not an exam in which all questions have one correct answer. View things from a different perspective or maybe consult with your colleague or friend, because third-party opinion is always welcome.
Black and White perspective
Because of some current situation, comments, or current personal factors, people have a tendency to switch their attitudes from highly positive to highly negative in just several minutes. This shift in attitude can misguide you and give you a different course of thinking and action. It is far healthier to stay neutral and not let emotions influence. Because things are rarely as good or as bad as you think they are.
Combine play and work
The biggest ideas and innovations are born through play and pooling of different perspectives, not thinking and working in isolation.
Studies have shown that a child’s mind has a greater number of connections because children do not limit their worldview. When you think and play like a child and accept everything without judgment, then you can let your imagination free and use full mental capacity. Creative thinking does not recognize a border between work and play.
Think of details, but always remember the big picture
Not seeing the forest from the trees is one common creative block. Usually, when trying to organize ideas and actions around a specific goal we start with the big picture and then go into details. While striving to do things the best possible way, we spend energy and creativity on inconsequential things, at the end losing ourselves in a dead-end. Keeping the big picture in the front while looking at details will help to put everything in order and context.
Nobody likes them, nobody likes to admit them. But mistakes are part of our everyday work and they are a driver for improvement. Creative thinking is not about being wrong or right. It is about exploring new ways and opportunities, finding new challenges.
As Albert Einstein has said: “A person who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”
‘Others do it too’ syndrome
Even if we hate to admit it, other people’s actions do heavily influence ours. There’s always pressure to adopt the behaviors of the groups we are in and fear of looking dumb.
But creativity is not about standardized rules and regulations. If your idea is, in fact, original, it may stand alone because, well – because it is different.
Denying your creativity
If your starting point is an assumption that you cannot do something because you are not creative enough, then you probably have another creative block. “Thinking outside the box” is true only if our mind creates that imaginary box. Creative thinking skills are as much about attitude and self-confidence as about talent. Creativity is often chaotic, unstructured, and unpredictable.
Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will. – George Bernard Shaw