Articles Personal Developent
More than One Way to Skin a Cat: Adventures in
Creative Thinking
How many times have you caught yourself saying that there
could be no other solution to a problem – and that that problem
leads to a dead end? How many times have you felt stumped
knowing that the problem laying before you is one you cannot
solve. No leads. No options. No
solutions.
Did it feel like you had exhausted all possible options and
yet are still before the mountain – large, unconquerable, and
impregnable? When encountering such enormous problems, you may
feel like you're hammering against a steel mountain. The
pressure of having to solve such a problem may be
overwhelming.
But rejoice! There might be some hope yet!
With some creative problemsolving techniques you may be
able to look at your problem in a different light. And that
light might just be the end of the tunnel that leads to
possible solutions.
First of all, in the light of creative problemsolving, you
must be openminded to the fact that there may be more than
just one solution to the problem. And, you must be open to the
fact that there may be solutions to problems you thought were
unsolvable.
Now, with this optimistic mindset, we can try to be a little
bit more creative in solving our problems.
Number one; maybe the reason we cannot solve our problems is
that we have not really taken a hard look at what the problem
is. Here, trying to understanding the problem and having a
concrete understanding of its workings is integral solving the
problem. If you know how it works, what the problem is, then
you have a better foundation towards solving the problem.
Not trying to make the simple statement of what problem is.
Try to identify the participating entities and what their
relationships with one another are. Take note of the things you
stand to gain any stand to lose from the current problem. Now
you have a simple statement of what the problem is.
Number two; try to take note of all of the constraints and
assumptions you have the words of problem. Sometimes it is
these assumptions that obstruct our view of possible solutions.
You have to identify which assumptions are valid, in which
assumptions need to be addressed.
Number three; try to solve the problem by parts. Solve it
going from general view towards the more detailed parts of the
problem. This is called the topdown approach. Write down the
question, and then come up with a onesentence solution to that
from them. The solution should be a general statement of what
will solve the problem. From here you can develop the solution
further, and increase its complexity little by little.
Number four; although it helps to have critical thinking
aboard as you solve a problem, you must also keep a creative,
analytical voice at the back of your head. When someone comes
up with a prospective solution, tried to think how you could
make that solution work. Try to be creative. At the same time,
look for chinks in the armor of that solution.
Number five; it pays to remember that there may be more than
just one solution being developed at one time. Try to keep
track of all the solutions and their developments. Remember,
there may be more than just one solution to the problem.
Number six; remember that old adage," two heads are better
than one." That one is truer than it sounds. Always be open to
new ideas. You can only benefit from listening to all the ideas
each person has. This is especially true when the person you're
talking to has had experience solving problems similar to
yours.
You don't have to be a gungho, solo hero to solve the
problem. If you can organize collective thought on the subject,
it would be much better.
Number seven; be patient. As long as you persevere, there is
always a chance that a solution will present itself. Remember
that no one was able to create an invention the first time
around.
Creative thinking exercises can also help you in your quest
be a more creative problems solver.
Here is one example.
Take a piece of paper and write any word that comes to mind
at the center. Now look at that word then write the first two
words that come to your mind. This can go on until you can
build a tree of related words. This helps you build analogical
skills, and fortify your creative processes.
So, next time you see a problem you think you can not solve,
think again. The solution might just be staring you right in
the face. All it takes is just a little creative thinking, some
planning, and a whole lot of work.
