Let Your Imagination Soar
Image by metamorworks@iStockThe human mind is vastly underused. It is capable of so much more than we allow. Incredible opportunities are missed because of lazy thinking patterns and a hesitation to let the mind play. It is time to wipe the cobwebs from the brain and let the magical gift of creative thinking (imagination) come alive again.
When children play, you see imagination at its best. I am continually amazed at the scenarios my 10-year-old granddaughter creates and acts out with energy and excitement.
For children, creative thinking comes so easily – even for some adults it appears to be a natural “talent.” Yet, for others, they plod along, wishing they could be more imaginative, but afraid to try.
Stop Being Afraid
Ignore the fear and make the effort. Let go of the restrictions you have placed on your thoughts that are creating a cautious approach to life. It is time to channel all that pent-up creativity into a force for living a happier, more productive life.
The first step is to believe you can do it. Relax your mind, dig deep, and let the creative juices flow – even if others may think you have gone off the rails.
Open Your Mind
The second step is to open your mind to all ideas and opinions. You don’t have to agree with everyone; just listen and learn.
If you have become one of the grumpy old farts who are unwilling to listen to anyone, it’s time to change. Accept the possibility that there may be valuable opinions other than your own. This can be challenging for some, but I know you can do it.
Being open minded is a willingness to look at every situation from more than one perspective. And . . . to acknowledge that others’ perspectives may not only be intriguing, but are often very smart – maybe even smarter than your own. PLUS. . . different perspectives can be a stimulus for new ideas.
Being open to discovery, learning, and giving yourself permission to explore all possibilities is the key to creative thinking.
As adults, we seem to lose our ability to easily access our imagination, and creative thinking seems to happen by chance – rather than purposefully.
What Is Creative Thinking?
Creative thinking is coming up with ideas or solutions to problems that others can’t (or don’t). It is letting imagination run free – thinking beyond the norm, forgetting what is expected and looking for the unexpected or a way to do the impossible.
It can be used in every aspect of life – personal and professional.
One of my favorite stories that demonstrates the power of creative thinking in a business setting is how sticky notes came about.
In 1968, Dr. Spencer Silver, a chemist at 3M was trying to invent a super-strong adhesive, but instead came up with a super-weak one. Dr. Silver sensed that it was an important discovery, but for the next five years, no one at 3M (including Dr. Silver) could think of a way to use the super-weak adhesive.
Finally, in 1974, Art Fry, who also worked at 3M, was frustrated that the bookmarks he used in his church choir hymnal kept falling out. He remembered Dr. Silver’s weak adhesive and tried it on some bookmarks – it worked! The bookmarks could be moved without damaging the hymnal and they stayed in place. Creative thinking had solved the problem and the rest is history.
Art Fry found use for a product that appeared useless, by simply thinking beyond the normal applications for adhesive.
Look Beyond the Obvious
Creative thinkers look for the not-so-obvious answers rather than get stuck on the obvious solutions. They will brainstorm with themselves, or others, and quickly come up with multiple ideas. They are not afraid of sounding silly or being teased about their wild suggestions. Then, from the list they create – including everything from the obvious to the impossible, they find a solution that works.
Once a person has tapped into his/her ability to explore the improbable, it becomes a way of life. They are exciting to be around because they are always thinking beyond the ordinary. These are the problem-solvers of the world.
Problem solvers and idea people add great value to any business. Rather than sitting around exploring the same old, same old, creative thinkers jump in with unusual solutions to problems; innovative uses for products; different applications for technology, etc. And . . they do it without hesitation. The ability to think “on their feet” is extremely useful when facing tight deadlines.
Creative thinkers are nearly unstoppable. When their skill is well-honed, it seems the ideas flow from a bottomless well. Their amazing thought process enables them to work continually at the top of their game professionally; and to improve their own lives and the lives of all those around them.
Are you willing to make the effort to tap into your creative thinking ability? To reach deep inside and bring forth your child-like imagination? To start looking beyond the obvious and seeking the improbable answers?
It’s time to let the magic of the imagination back into your life.
I would love to hear about your experiences with creative thinking. Please share.