How to think out of box

Outside the Box Thinking | How to Solve Problem Creatively? (Part 2)

Have you ever thought about, what is it that helps you to generate creative ideas? How to escape the ordinary patterns that control your thinking?

Read on if you want to learn how to become a creative problem-solver and discover new ways of thinking.

In this Part 2, you will learn about the Power of Dreams, how to Think Out of Box, how to apply the Random Key Word Input, how to manage the Problem Set in Reverse, how to Test Different Types of Thinking, how to apply and use the Mind-Mapping Cloud and how to set the Meaningful Problem-solving Environment.

The Power of Dreams 

There is a creative way to program your dream.

Before your bedtime, make a note of your problem on the paper. Just before drifting into your dream, say out loud: “Tonight I will use the power of a dream to find the solution to my problem”. Let your dream flow and in the morning make sure to note down everything that came to your mind regards the problem.   

Think Out of Box

If you want to learn to think out of the box, you must learn to think outside your usual and routine ways of thinking. This requires blocking any natural tendency towards premature critical disapproval or judgment before allowing your idea to go through the creative process. This is where creative techniques can help. 

Let’s look at house techniques in turn. 

Random Key Word Input

Things that have no relevance to your problem issue can trigger new ideas that can provide unique solutions. For example, use tools available online to generate some relevant “keywords” or use the online dictionary to look up specific “definitions” or “synonyms or antonyms”. This is a powerful technique that allows you to look at the same issue but allows you to consider that from different angles. This enables you to disrupt your existing patterns of thinking and allows you to make a new connection in your mind, which results in an instant alternative solution. This technique helps you to develop associations and then apply these out-of-context associations to the problem at hand.

Keep in mind that almost any random word will stimulate ideas on the subject. Your brain is a self-organizing system and very good at making connections. Remember to consciously shut off evaluative reflexes and let your mind flow.

Problem Set in Reverse

Human behaviour consists of attracting to opposites. Learn to see things backward, inside out, and upside down. This technique requires you to state your problem in reverse. You can apply this in the following way: 

  • Turn a positive statement into a negative one;
  • Define something that “IS” that is “NOT”; or
  • Identify the “counteraction” or something opposite to the “affirmative action”.

For example, if you need to achieve financial success, list things that you could do to decrease your chances to become financially successful. Then, reverse those actions in a positive way. 

This technique enables you to change your perspective and look at a problem from an opposite point of view. 

Test Different Types of Thinking 

When you think about a problem to solve, test out and apply different types of thinking:

  • Intuitive: use your intuition, gut feeling, hunches, feelings, and emotions; let your emotions react and do not seek to justify that.
  • Positive: think positively; focus on the positive outcomes and benefits; enable your optimistic viewpoint that will focus on the benefits of the decision and the positive value in it; this will enable you to spot all the good opportunities that come with it and help to keep going when everything looks gloomy and difficult.
  • Creative: apply creativity, available alternatives, and freedom of choice; this can help to develop creative solutions to the problem; avoid critical thinking or adverse judgment; remember that “creative” can also mean “interesting” or “provocative” solutions to the problem.
  • Negative: apply judgment and caution enabling to evaluate things pessimistically, cautiously, and defensively; this allows to question why ideas and approaches might not work, why the proposed solution does not fit the facts, or its application does not work; this enables to identify weaknesses in a plan or course of action and then make plans tougher and more resilient by identifying and eliminating problems, by altering your approach, or by preparing contingency plans.
  • Process: this is focusing on the thinking itself, the overview, or wider control mechanisms; this state of mind requires considering what type of thinking to apply and does not require focusing on the problem itself.
  • Analytical: focus on the data available, evaluate past, present, and future trends; use and apply historical data, research the given information and identify what you can learn from it; try to spot any key opportunities or gaps and take the necessary action based on that.

Remember to try to apply different thinking styles in a problem-solving and decision-making process when different angles of thought are required. 

Mind-Mapping Cloud

You have probably come across the process when using pictures or symbols to capture any key themes or ideas. This idea was introduced by Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, and Joseph D. Novak's "concept mapping" techniques. Mind maps are designed to help creativity by generating, visualizing, structuring, and classifying thinking, ideas, and information.

Action: draw the mind map diagram for your creative idea. It should focus on the central keyword or idea and be arranged to represent ideas, tasks, or other items linked to that. It will be a drawn diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks, or other items linked to and arranged around a central keyword or idea.

Meaningful Problem-solving Environment

We all have a natural inclination to unconsciously engage in personally meaningful problem-solving. This intrinsic motivation originates in the instinct for self-preservation and adaptation. Remember that the perfect problem-solving environment includes not only the right physical conditions but also the right emotional and intellectual climate, including a positive attitude. These factors foster your natural potential.

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