Lateral Thinking does for your mind, what electricity does for a light bulb. It is the juice that powers creativity.
Lateral Thinking is a term created by Edward de Bono to describe a process of looking at problems from different angles or perspectives. By doing so you may find an innovative solution that would otherwise remain hidden from view.
The theory surmises the more you look at a problem from different directions, the better your chance of finding a way to solve it.
There are only 3 ways innovation can occur:
1) Something never before seen is created, for example the transistor.
2) Something that exist is repurposed for a different use such as using microwaves to cook food or
3) Something existing is improved by incorporating another existing product or service in whole or in part like the first steam powered automobile.
History has shown of the three, the combining of two existing products or services in whole or in part is the most common method used to inspire new ideas that advance our human experience!
The problem with all of these methods is often the inspiration comes by “chance” after long brain bleeding concentration.
Typically it goes something like this: you spend enormous brain power pouring over a problem you are trying to solve. You go over the problem countless times, like a dog chasing its tail and you get nothing. You’re just about ready to throw in the towel when, as if by some weird magic you have an epiphany! The solution to your problem appears with absolute clarity.
In most cases, these revelations are stimulated by some random appearance of something totally unrelated.
What’s really maddening is discovering the solution to a perplexing problem, was so obvious in hind sight that you kick yourself for being so blind to see it.
I call it my “Homer Simpson” moment where I slap my forehead and say “Doh!”
Why is that? Why do we miss the obvious so often?
Our minds are well trained in logical thinking. We have been educated and socialized in a world where logical thinking is required to function.
Our natural creative thinking ability has diminished to a pitiful impotent level either from lack of development and/or lack of use. Only a lucky few managed to keep their creative minds flourishing through to adulthood.
For most people there is a disconnect between the analytical left side of the brain and the creative right side of the brain.
Our brain contains ninety billion neurons with a potential of one hundred trillion unique connections. New connections are made with each new thought generated by our experience and imagination.
Our mind can not distinguish between the two. We have lots of experiences to form new connections from but as adults we have very little connections created by using our natural creativity, our imagination!
Thinking laterally stimulates our imagination creating new connections linking your logical left side of your brain to your creative right side.
A powerful mind is created when there are plenty of connections between the two sides.
Although opposite to each other Lateral Thinking and Logical Thinking work hand in hand. Lateral Thinking inspires while Logical Thinking implements.
Once your mind embraces the process of lateral thinking, it quickly learns its OK to use the accumulated knowledge you have and combine it in new, often crazy ways to inspire ingenious solutions for any problem you face.
There is a technique called REST (Random External Stimulus Technique) that inspires creative thinking.
Rather than waiting for “chance” to inspire your creativity you can train your mind to look for inspiration.
The biggest challenge you will have to learning the Random External Stimulus Technique is your own logical mind. Your journey to become more focused, smarter, even a genius requires that you practice being absolutely silly!
Yep, get insanely silly!
For starters, expect to be ridiculous, your logical mind has been in control for so long you’ll resist this and may even feel embarrassed. So practice intensely alone. Have fun, laugh at yourself, but seriously push your imagination!
You will be amazed at how exhilarating the experience is!
Just like exercising requires you push your body well beyond what you do the rest of the day, exercising your creative mind requires the same.
Lateral Thinking develops your creativity. For fun solve this problem using REST.
Practice by randomly picking something around you right now. Do this before reading further…
… OK you picked something?
Now using this object as inspiration try to solve this problem:
How many numbers are in ZERO? I’ll give you a hint,there are more than 64,000 numbers in ZERO! Tell me how this can be?
The best way to get started is to write down all the characteristics and origins of the random source of inspiration you picked. Write down everything you know about it while thinking of the problem. Use your uncensored wild imagination, without judgment on the outcome. Makeup stories that may answer this question and write them down regardless how stupid or idiotic they may sound or appear.
Remember this is just practice.
If you really want to have fun with this do some research on the random item to learn more about it.
Once you have exhausted all your crazy ideas and wrote them down, look at them with a logical mind for something that may show some merit or spark a legitimate idea.
The important “must” in this exercise, is the source of your inspiration, it must be totally random!
If you try to pick something that you think (logically) is better to use as stimulus you lose the opportunity to train your mind.
If you come up with the solution to this problem please let me know, I would love to hear from you. You can reach me at my website listed below.