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7 Innovative Creative Thinking Techniques
Creative thinking is often the mother of invention or achievement. Most successful people are not afraid to think ‘outside the box’ and pursue ideas that others may have never considered. But how to you cultivate these creative thoughts? In our connected world it is very easy to just go along with popular thinking and lose track of your individual creativity. These seven techniques are aimed at helping you to keep your individuality and letting those creative juices flow.
– Brainstorm. This technique involves simply writing out as many different ideas on a topic as you can think of. Start with a general topic at the top of a page – say ‘Ideas for a Restaurant’. From there, just jot down whatever pops into your head as fast as you can write. Most of the ideas will probably not be worth pursuing, some might not even make any sense at all – but it only takes one good one to make the whole exercise more than worth your time.
– Be Contrary. When working on a particular idea or problem, go out of your way to view each point from the opposite side that you would normally see it from. Force yourself to argue for the other angle and you just might find some merit in a viewpoint you would not have otherwise considered.
– Look Backwards. Sometimes to see the future we must look closer at our past. If you are trying to think creatively about a specific subject, look carefully at where that subject stood 10 or 20 years ago. Could people of imagined where it would stand today? Think about the path, and creativity it took to get it where it is. This process can be incredibly eye opening. You may find yourself inspired to think more outside the box when seeing just how much things have changed.
– Be Cranky. Okay – so you shouldn’t really be in a bad mood on purpose. But when one comes along, try to use it to your advantage. When you are cranky and feeling negative, your mind searches for other alternatives that will alleviate your problems. That feeling of searching for an answer is often where great creativity is born. Hopefully your bad mood doesn’t last long, but try to make the most of it while it hangs around.
– Make Things Harder. The easiest solution might take the least time, but it also requires the least amount of creativity. When trying to solve an otherwise simple problem, make things as hard on yourself as possible. The obstacles you put in your way will require a creative approach to tackle successfully.
– Use the Absurd. Our brains naturally try to make sense of the world around us – it is just what we do as humans. If you are trying to challenge your brain to think creatively, place it in the most absurd circumstances possible. Read a book that is known for being ‘off the wall’, or watch a movie in the same vein. Stepping out of the logical world for a while will force your brain to fight through the absurdity and make sense of what’s going on. When you come back to reality, a whole new creative approach may be waiting for you.
– Meditate. As mentioned above, our brains are always working to make sense of the world around us. If they have to work too hard at that during our daily lives, there will be no brain power left for creativity. Meditation is a great way to keep your mind ‘organized’ and promote creative thinking. Make a habit of setting aside at least a few minutes each day for quiet meditation. Those peaceful moments will strengthen your brain for the creative process.