Hey, what's up?
I seem to be getting a lot of messages hitting my radar that essentially concern the idea of being a little more discerning in your thinking.
I tend to be a kind of scatter-gun thinker in that I fire everything I can think of out there and just trust that something will hit the mark. To be honest, I think that works quite well for me, but I think it can also be quite irresponsible (when giving instruction to others). And that's something I'd like to change and upgrade in my life.
Creative thinking often requires that you take off all the brakes and just go for it. But the top creative thinker gurus like Edward de Bono (see video posted here
a few days ago) really don't like that approach. They see it as lazy and ill-disciplined. But I think it's a good way for people who don't normally think of themselves as creative to bust loose from their self-imposed straight jacket and get to feel a sense of creative freedom -- and to start to create an identity of being a creative person.The negative and positive faces of creative thinking
Let's get real about this though. Creative thinking can be used positively to affect a benificial result or it can be used in ways that actually end up limiting you. Let's give an example of that.
Okay. You are home alone. You hear a noise in the daytime and you think, 'oh that's just the hot water pipes' and you ignore it. But if you wake up in the middle of the night, the same noise occurs, and immediately your mind starts spinning creative thoughts of burglars, rapists, monsters, ghosts and ghouls, earthquakes, rats, or whatever your particular brand of fears are. Same data but under different conditions your creative ability has run in different directions. One way served you and the other left you in a state of irrational fear and dread.The brain is a solution machine
Creative thinking occurs all the time. It seems to be intimately involved with the way you process information hitting your senses and understanding the world. Where there are breaks in your factual knowledge the mind creatively fills in the gaps with ideas of what a thing 'could' be. So, where the ancients had no factual knowledge of the world, they made up tales of powerful superbeings called gods who made it all work. Somehow the mind would rather have an explanation, even a false one, than to persist in a state of unknowing and mystery. If you closely examine your own life, you will find lots and lots of examples where you trade in such falsehoods in order to feel a greater sense of security in the world.Upgrading your answers
Developing discernment about your answers requires more effort, there's no doubt about that. That's why so many of us shy away from it. It gets hard to stay thinking on a subject. We exhaust our thinking muscle all too easily. But there has to be a critical thinking component if you want to make sure you don't get trapped in old, out-worn, limiting and parochial ways of thinking. The old myths and legends from different cultures around the world make for great stories, but I wouldn't want to get caught in that limited mindset anymore than I would wish to go through life with a mental age of three. When we look back into history, we kind of smile indulgently and laugh inside at what people used to think. But we only have to project forward in time and imagine what future people will think of us to have the smirk wiped from our faces. No doubt, we are thinking in limited 'crazy' ways today -- and don't even know it. That's why you have to examine what you are accepting as fact. You have to test your beliefs from a perspective that demands honesty, clarity and real 'value-for-money'. Really the search is always for a better answer.Questions that create control
Once you start to think of yourself as a creative thinker, then it's useful to channel your ability in practical and profitable ways. This requires that you create frameworks within which you can do your thinking, and have an evaluation system to continually push for upgrades in your ideas and results. Triggering profitable creative thinking obviously requires that you focus in on a particular problem, challenge or form of creative expression.You can use questions to kick-start your mind's solution machine qualities...How can I boost sales of this widget by 15% within 4 months?What could I add as a bonus to my sales offer that would immediately increase conversions?What could I do for our anniversary weekend that would absolutely blow my wife's mind and give her the biggest and best surprise of her life?You can then use critical thinking type questions to evaluate your answers, and improve upon them...Is it really realistic to think that you could project an advertisement onto the surface of the moon, or would it be better to focus on maybe getting ad space on the foam cups at the local ball game?Hmm, do my gardening ebook customers really want a bonus ebook on 'How to care for your fence' or would they go for something more tasty like, 'Where to get garden plants at wholesale prices!'?Is donning that fireman's uniform and performing a full monty strip show at her office really the way to show my appreciation for 20 years of marraige? Or could I do something more thoughtful, like take her to that place in France she's always dreamed about?
Okay, okay, not the best examples of critical thinking you've ever seen but I want to keep this light hearted and I know you are wise enought to get the main idea.
And the main idea is simply this. To focus your creative thinking in useful, productive and profitable ways that enhance and benefit yourself and others. To question and evaluate the fuzzy thinking in your life, and push to upgrade it. To fill in the gaps in your knowledge with facts and truths rather than creatively spun ideas. To push beyond what you are being force fed and ask, is this actually true in all situations? Could there be a better explanation?
I think that when we do this, we are part of the evolution and progress of humanity.
Okay, gotta go, take care,
Labels: creative thinking, critical thinking, discernment