6 Simple Steps to Creative Thinking
How many times have you felt that a particular problem you may have just cannot be solved? How many times have you caught yourself saying that you just don’t know how to find the answer?
I know how you feel, for many years I found problem solving almost impossible, and at times completely overwhelming. Despite examining all possible options I still found myself, frustrated, tired and absolutely out of fresh ideas. Until, that is, I discovered these simple but little known problem solving techniques that the world’s most successful people have been using for thousands of years to help them with their creative thinking.
The success I have achieved using these techniques has been nothing short of miraculous, as I have gone from a problem solving rookie to a business powerhouse with problem after problem melting away like ice in the springtime.
So read on my friends as I reveal my 6 simple steps to creative thinking that if you follow, will propel your life into the stratosphere! (You WILL be surprised how simple these are).
Step Number One.
Understand the problem. No! REALLY understand the problem. Get right down and dirty with your problem, get right to the bottom, take a real hard look at what the problem is. Brainstorm with your peers or colleagues. Once you know how it works, EXACTLY what the problem is, then you have a MUCH better foundation towards solving IT.
Try to identify the different entities within your particular problem and what their relationships with one another are. Write down ALL of the things you stand to gain and those with which you will lose. Once you have done this you will have made a simple statement of EXACTLY what the problem is.
6 Simple Steps to Creative Thinking:
Step Number Two.
Solve the problem in parts, from the top down, that is take a general view across the whole of the problem, then down through the more detailed parts. So, write down the question, and then try to come up with a one-sentence solution from there. Your answer should be only a general statement of the solution, then from here you develop it further, and if necessary increase the complexity a little piece at a time.
Step Number Three.
When trying to solve a problem using creative thinking, it helps if you also keep a fairly critical mentality throughout the process. So whilst thinking up the solution, and arriving at a possible answer, you must continue to analyse further by constantly looking for any weaknesses.
But it is worth remembering at this point that we are trying to be creative with our thinking here and although it helps to have a certain amount of critical thinking onboard as you attempt to solve your problem, you simply MUST keep your creative juices flowing by searching through your answers (whatever they may be), with a fine tooth comb. If you constantly try to be creative, guess what? you eventually WILL BE!
6 Simple Steps to Creative Thinking:
Step Number Four.
I am sure you remember that old adage,” two heads are better than one.” Well, it’s true, especially when you are problem solving. I have already alluded to the brainstorming of a solution in step number one, and this is a way for you to always remain open to new ideas and solutions.
So discuss other ideas, it can ONLY benefit the creative thinking process you are involved in. You are not on your own here, DO NOT be gung-ho, organising collective thought is a MUCH better and simpler less stressful way of doing things.
Step Number Five.
It is very important to know that there is probably more than just one answer or solution being developed at any one time. So you must develop a system that keeps track of all the solutions and their progress. Remember, it is EXTREMELY rare for there to be ONLY one answer or solution to any particular problem. (unless, of course you are a mathematician)
6 Simple Steps to Creative Thinking:
Step Number Six;
You must be patient. As long as you persevere, and keep thinking, there is always a solution WILL present itself. Remember that no one was able to create an invention at the very first time of trying.
So that’s it, my simple 6 step process to creative thinking in relation to problem solving. By following these creative thinking exercises YOU can easily become a champion problem solver.
Finally, I would like to leave you with a simple mental exercise which you can use as an aid to strengthening your creative thinking muscles:
Take a piece of paper and write any word that comes to mind in the centre. Now concentrate and focus on that word, and then write the first two words that immediately spring to mind. Then do the same again with these 2 words. Keep doing this until you have built a whole tree of related words. This will help with your analogical skills, and also helps to strengthen the creative processes.
So, the very next time you see a problem you think cannot be solved, then think again, because the answer may well be staring you right in the face, and all it takes is a little bit of creative thinking.
I hope this helps you.
All the best
What does it take to be successful?
Ask all the self-help Gurus, Life Relationship Career Coaches, and anyone who promotes personal growth and self-development, and you will most definitely get different answers as to their formula for success.
The truth is success does leave clues. You can achieve the success you desire by observing some basic principles, paying attention to them and putting them into practice.One of my favourite quotes about success is from Collin Powell. Here is what he has to say about success:
“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure.”
These principles are actually quite simple; in fact they are considered to be common sense, but most people do not take the time to follow them.
Let’s take a look in more detail at what Powell is actually saying.
Do you know where you are going, what you are doing and why you are doing it?
People who are prepared do.
Preparation means having a vision, a destination, a purpose, a goal and putting a clear action plan in place to move you in the right direction.
You don’t have to be rigid about your action plan; some flexibility is often required. Regardless, however, to achieve the success you desire, you must focus and put positive energy into what you want to achieve and then, through your action steps, work towards preparing for the moment when the opportunity knocks on your door.
You don’t have to wait for everything to be perfect. But you do have to move and take that first action step and then just keep going.
“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”
Famous words from Benjamin Franklin.
· Reading, attending workshops webinars conferences, acquiring new knowledge and skill
· Connecting to a mentor or coach to improve accountability, learn new skills
· Joining a Master Mind Group to integrate learning and to gain ongoing support.
You can prepare for success or you can prepare for failure, but those most likely to succeed are the ones who invest their time and energy in doing what it takes to succeed – and this includes preparation.
2. Hard Work
Success needs hard work. Hard work means taking bold actions, working smarter and going the extra mile. It is about working on the right things and doing them in the right order. Another Collin Powell quote:
“A dream does not become a reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.”
In the final instance, nothing worth having comes easy; if it does, you will not value it as you will not see it as being important.
Having a powerful vision is crucial to focus your energies and inspire and motivate you; however, it is “hard work,” a willingness to learn and go the extra mile, and a dedication and commitment to working on yourself and your goals that will lead to successful achievement, as well as building your character.
3. Learning from Failure
Successful people do not shy away from failure, they do not see it as such. Failure to them is just information – important information on what is not working.
Thomas Edison found 10,000 different ways of how a light bulb doesn’t work before he successfully found the right way. Had he not continued on with his experiments the world might still be in darkness.
Failure provides us with lessons, it gives us insight into what we need to do differently. The failure comes from when we do not heed the lessons; this is when we fail to learn, fail to change and fail to grow. Failure is thus success, if we take the time to learn from it.
By adopting this mindset, by turning each failure into a learning lesson or opportunity, we will always succeed.
There is no failure unless we actually give up.
“Your dream does not have an expiration date. Take a deep breath and try again.”
Preparation, hard work and learning from failure are the fundamentals to building a successful, bright future. Armed with these three powerful principles identified by Collin Powell, you now have a potent formula for success. Use it and you will be well on your way to achieving the success you desire.
It would be impossible to list all of the things people have considered crucial to success in life. Honesty, energy, bonding, modeling, control of fear…all are important. For my whole life, I’ve searched for the answers in this arena, and treasured the gems that have been revealed.
In July of 2012, I went back to Longview, Washington, where I’d lived for nine years, raising my daughter. When we left, we packed much of our house into two storage units, planning to return once we had our roots properly planted in Los Angeles. Going through the storage units was bittersweet—my wife and I didn’t have a huge amount of time to carefully examine every item in every box. But one book fell out of one box, almost as if it intended to jump into my hands, refusing to be junked. It was called MASTERY (now out of print), and its author was an old friend of mine, Tim Piering.
Tim was (and is) one of the best men I’ve ever known. A husband, a father, an engineer, a Marine officer, black belt in four martial arts, Tim is a gentle giant with a gift for teaching and coaching. During the 80’s, it was my honor to be part of a group with which he shared extremely high-level neurolinguistic and hypnotic patterns, advanced body-mind work that still, twenty years later, seems ahead of its time. Hands trembling, realizing how close I’d come to throwing away one of Tim’s few books, I opened it, and came to page 47. there, it said that if you only had two tools in the world to help you succeed, they would be:
1) Well defined WRITTEN goals.
2) The ability to take action despite the “Radio Voice” in your head.
And I was stunned. Never have I heard anyone, anywhere, state the secret to success more clearly, or succinctly. The impact of those earlier days flooded back to me in a moment, and I realized how much of my own accomplishment I owed to just this simple understanding.
Why are these so important, and what EXACTLY does it mean?
We all understand goal-setting, and most of us are aware that writing our goals down increases our odds of accomplishing them by at least 10X. There is a quiet magic in the act of writing goals, and anyone who has practiced this art will know exactly what I’m talking about. If you doubt it, just check around and find out how uncomfortable the average person is in performing this simple, basic act. They KNOW that a written goal, unlike a misty dream or hope, is a contract between your conscious and unconscious mind. A written goal is half-way between a thought and a reality, marking the way to the future.
But what is the Radio Voice? It is the voice in your mind that doubts you, that questions, that offers seductive alternatives to performing the daily tasks that make up our lives. You want to write a chapter—it tells you that your work is crap. You want to exercise—it tells you that it is too late, that your body is beyond repair, why bother? You want to find a healthy relationship, and the voice tells you that all the good men, or women, are gone.
Don’t believe you have one? Just sit quietly for two minutes and listen. Go ahead, use a kitchen timer. Listen.
Did you hear that voice saying “what voice? I don’t hear a voice!”
That’s the voice.
It is imperative to become aware of it, aware of its power, aware that it lies. Aware that the voice in your head IS NOT YOU.
No. You are not the voice. YOU are the one LISTENING to the voice. And this is so important to understand that I cannot overstress it. Please go back and read that again. And again.
All over the world, there are literally thousands of meditation techniques designed to “turn off” or “turn down” the voice of failure. The voice, composed of the memories of teachers, parents, friends, and our own past selves, can make us doubt ourselves even in the midst of victory.
Whatever you do, whatever you desire in life, you MUST find a way to either quiet or ignore those voices, or your results will suffer.
One of the most powerful ways to turn the voices off is physical flow. This is the state reached in Tai Chi or Yoga when your mental and emotional commitment to the technique becomes intense. You can find it in jogging, when you reach “runner’s high.”
In meditation, you can observe a candle flame, the smell of incense, or even your own breathing or heartbeat for 15-30 minutes at a time, on a daily or thrice-weekly basis. When you try to do this, believe me the voices will freak out and try everything in their bag of tricks to get you to stop.
This mental/physical practice is directly applicable to any other activity in your life. To large degree, your chances to succeed in life will be in direct proportion to your capacity to maintain “flow”, or relaxed concentration, under mental or emotional stress. The depths of this trance state vary, but we’ve all heard stories of artists, inventers, writers and poets so absorbed in their work that they didn’t hear the phone ring, or even a tree fall through a window! THAT is concentration. THAT is the ability to shut up “the voices,” and that is the state you must approach to find your own greatest genius.
Thank you, Tim, for reminding me of that lesson.