As a society we’ve been taught to think in a very linear way. When it comes to problem solving, the school system has told us that there is one right answer. In order to get the question right we reproduce a formula that we’ve learned in the past and apply it to the data set in front of us. Creative thinking was reserved for the arts and more expressive tasks. But as we’ve gained experience over the years, not only have we learned that there often isn't any right answer, but there are many potential and viable answers. Through this we’ve learned to appreciate creativity in problem solving to discover new ways of doing something well that are more efficient or higher quality.
This is called divergent thinking and it’s best represented in this thought experiment. Answer the question - What can you do with a brick? Well of course you can build with it, you can use it as a door stop, you can pin a piece of paper down with it. You can even get really creative and say that you can use it like chalk and draw with it. But then even expanding upon that, what if you could make the brick different sizes, different shapes, different materials? That opens up a whole new world of potential uses.
Divergent thinking is realizing that there are multiple perfectly suitable solutions to one problem, or reasonable answers to a question. Instead of being fixed in the normal, traditional ways of doing something, you can be an innovator that gets resourceful and creative.
When it comes to the problems you encounter in your life, I encourage you to try divergent thinking. Let your imagination run and think outside the box, you never know what you might come up with! To help that integrate today let me ask you a question to ponder - What should you be approaching with more creativity in your life?
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