‘Creative thinking' is a pair of words that we come across very frequently these days. The Boss at our workplace asks us to think creatively if we aren't able to solve a problem; a professor asks his students to think creatively while solving tough exercises; an entrepreneurship counselor asks his client to think creatively and only then start his business and so on. All these suggest that we can become more successful if we are creative.
I am sure that we all unanimously agree on one thing; the fact that problems are the curse of the day and destroy our peace and happiness. Successful is the one who can conquer his problems and live a happy life. Creativity greatly helps us solve problems in practically all fields. However most of us always like to stick to the conventional way of thinking and feel that ‘Creative Thinking' is something which can be done only by a bunch of creative people. You are totally WRONG if you feel you aren't creative or you are less creative than others. Creative thinking is an inborn talent of all human beings. It is our creativity that makes us distinct and sets us apart from other animals in this world. It is because of creativity that we are the most successful being on this planet. When we face problems and aren't able to solve them in the conventional way, we knowingly or unknowingly seek for creative solutions for the problem. The more creative we are at solving problems, the more successful we are.
Whatever our profession may be, creative thinking is something that can make us more successful, make our work easier and more exciting. Here are a few tips that can help us think creatively. The word ‘Problems' used very frequently below refer to troubles we face in day to day lives, problems that employees, students or researchers come across or anything which demands a solution.
Alternate methods for solving the same problem: The best way to gain expertise in anything is to make our foundations very strong. Trying to solve a very tough problem by forcing our brains to become more creative and ending up failing to solve it leads to frustration.
Begin by taking a simple problem with a solution and thinking of various other ways to arrive at the same solution. Ask yourself why the solution proposed by you is better/bad as compared to the standard solution. Think, think and think, whether you are successful or not, for shorter, better ways of solving that problem. Constant practice of such thinking makes your mind to ready to face any problem. You will be able to view various methods to solve a given problem and choose the best depending upon the requirements. Rather than sitting continuously for hours and practicing this exercise, spend a little time; say 10 or 15 minutes everyday, which makes it more effective. You will surely see positive results in a month or two.
Brainstorm: Brainstorming can be an effective way to generate ideas on a specific topic and then determine which idea is the best suited solution. Sit with a group of people who are debating on the same issue and keep proposing new ideas for solving the problem. Listen to others and consider why your idea is superior or inferior to others. Never be depressed if you always find your ideas inferior to others in the group. Sincere efforts to improve creativity will surely make you an expert thinker. Deep thoughts for new ideas and listening to others ideas can greatly enhance creativity.
Criticize and appreciate: Whenever you see an idea, criticize it or appreciate it according to your opinion. Don't be bothered about what others think about the idea. See what you liked about it and appreciate it. Criticize the negative points in the idea. This will make your brain seasoned to good and bad ideas and next time you are trying to solve a problem, your brain will try to solve it in the way you classify ‘good' and try to avoid ‘bad' routes to the solution.
Don't keep your mind always engaged: Give a lot of free time for your mind. Forget all worries and tensions for some time everyday and listen to music that you like or play with children. Avoid TV as it makes you more tired. When we are relaxing, the mind is actually working and putting together things that we were thinking of the whole day. It will come out with creative solutions only if we give it enough time and rest. Always pondering over endless problems keeps our minds occupied and prevents creativity. Let's rewrite an old proverb in this way: ‘All work and no creativity makes Jack a dull boy''. Keep your mind free and unoccupied very often. Go for vacations once a while.
Don't be stuck to a single idea: Getting stuck to one way of problem solving and trying repeatedly the same methods is a common phenomenon among us. Try for a fixed duration to solve the problem. If it doesn't get solved, stop thinking of the problem itself. Relax and get engaged in something else that you have to do. Attend to the problem after some time, or maybe the next day if you have lots of time to give a solution for the problem. You will observe that your mind views the problem at a different angle now and a solution may com out in a flash.
Note down ideas the moment they strike you: As mentioned earlier, your subconscious mind is always thinking of various ways to solve a problem at hand. As such, a good solution may come any moment. It is also very common that such an idea comes when our mind is idle -- when we are traveling, having food alone in a restaurant, attending a function etc. If you don't note it down immediately, chances are that you may lose them permanently. In the early days, we would have needed to take a paper and pen everywhere to make a note of such ideas. But most of us carry mobiles everywhere theses days and you can save the idea very easily in them. Many of such notes may later prove useless, but if at least one were a great idea, your life would be totally different then on!!
All the above mentioned points if practiced regularly will enhance your creativity and make your brains more fresh and alert. You will be able to solve complex problems that you face in day to day life in an easy, different and exciting manner!