.....by Melvin D. Saunders
........Do you think in a restricted or an expanded capacity? Billions of dollars are spent on product advertising each year because advertising works. When you break down a typical ad into its ridiculous components though, you see quickly that it is NOT geared to the thinking, conscious individual, because consumer buying is primarily done on emotional impulse. By improving your thinking skills, you become less susceptible to emotionally directed advertisements.
........Creative thinking and problem solving go hand in hand. For many years, Dr. Edward de Bono, a psychologist and professor of investigative medicine at Cambridge University, promoted the field of creative thinking under the logo Lateral Thinking. Vertical thinking proceeds when you solve a problem by going from one logical step to the next in achieving a solution. Lateral thinking depicts the type of thinking that comes with seeking solutions to problems through unorthodox methods or playing games with the data.
........Expanding your mental capacity with creative thinking can improve with practice. For instance, lay six stick matches on the table and make four equal sided triangles out of them. After struggling fruitlessly in 2 dimensions, you soon learn that a 3-dimensional tetrahedron is the only way to accomplish the task. Learn to "think wild." Let yourself imagine all kinds of possibilities and alternatives, including those you would ordinarily consider impractical or ridiculous. For instance, try thinking about the exact opposite of what normally comes to mind when posed with a problem, then elaborate on it from there.
........ If you have an opinion and another person has an opposite point of view, visualize yourself in the other person's shoes for a change. List all the reasons why his opinion is valid; then list all the reasons why his opinion is invalid; and finally list all the irrelevant points. Many people become stymied by getting embroiled in describing, complaining and criticizing another person's viewpoint, instead of directing their thinking toward action and deciding what can be done about the situation.
........ More than half of the world's greatest discoveries have been made through 'serendipity' or the finding of one thing while looking for something else; but remember, it takes a creatively aware person to recognize an opportunity when it presents itself. In emergencies, people tend to panic instead of using their head to determine their options.
........Many people hold opinions or views because they're blocked with emotional or prejudicial reasons. By expanding your scope to include the opposite viewpoint from your position, you often become quickly unblocked. While the U.S. leads the world in crime, drug addiction and indebtedness, Japan has little crime and drug addiction, and is the most solvent and educated nation in the world. Do you think emotional and prejudicial reasons keep U.S. officials blocked from learning from Japan's example or are there other reasons?
........Now discuss with a partner the opposite of the following assumptions to see where it leads you. Open your mind and think wild.
An Example of an Assumption Proffered by Officials:
With the millions of dollars spent on AIDS research, there is still no permanent cure that has yet been found for the disease.
Opposite Considerations and the Reasons Behind Them:
Now find your own opposite considerations for the following assumptions:
Give yourself 5 minutes on each of the following Assumptions Proffered By Officials:
........ Learn to define your aims, goals and objectives in life's situations. Make a list of all your reasons for doing a particular thing. Even though you assume that you know what your goals are, often hidden or unconsidered goals get in the way. Without a clarity of purpose, all actions are either reactions to a situation or matters of habit or imitation. For example, a tennis player that keeps delivering kill shots into the net might think his goal was to win the game, but in reality it might be just an undetected desire to look terrific.
........In England & Venezuela, Dr. de Bono has made great headway in initiating lateral thinking courses in public schools. Why is the U.S. so disinterested in such education? Could it be that less money could be made off of thinking citizens than gut oriented citizens? Think about it!
........One man though has made some headway within the U.S. school systems -- Dr. C. Samuel Micklus. With his wife Carole, they have developed a program called Odyssey of the Mind (OM). The Odyssey of the Mind Program, under the auspices of OM Association, Inc., a not-for-profit corporation, promotes divergent thinking in students from kindergarten through college. It is a program that offers students a unique opportunity to participate in challenging and creative activities both inside and outside their regular classroom curriculum. In OM teams, students develop self-confidence in creating solutions, evaluating their ideas and making final decisions. It makes learning fun. Now going into its eleventh year, over 350,000 students from the U.S., Canada, Mexico, China and Australia compete internationally on specially designed Odyssey of the Mind problems. To learn how to get your child's school involved in the OM program, write: Odyssey of the Mind, P.O. Box 27, Glassboro, NJ 08028
........The above subject is just one of the many creative alternatives mentioned in the new manual, Creative Alternatives For A Changing World.
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