Get Creative Friday — Breaking Mental Locks Part 1

Get Creative Friday — Breaking Mental Locks Part 1

What impedes your creativity?

Most of us have attitudes or “mental locks” that keep us “thinking the same,” according to PH.D. Roger von Oech, author of Whack On The Side Of The Head.

Von Oech has found 10 mental locks to be especially hazardous to creative thinking. Here are the first five; see Part 2 for the second five:

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  1. The right answer – our education system teaches us to look for one right answer and we stop when we find the right answer. That’s unfortunate because often it’s the second, third or even tenth idea which can solve the problem. Ask “what if…” to prompt more answers.
  2.  That’s not logical – logic is an important creativity tool especially in the evaluation phase, but in idea generation it can short circuit the creative process because imaginative thinking is governed by a different logic that is best described as metaphorical, fantastic, elliptical, and ambiguous. Use soft thinking in the imagination face of creativity. The metaphor is an excellent tool to help you “think something different.”
  3. Follow the rules — creative thinking is not only constructive, it’s all so destructive. You must break out of one pattern to discover another one, so be flexible with the rules. Play the revolutionary and challenge the rules – – especially ones you used to govern your day to day activities. If you drive one way to work, change it up and go another way.
  4. Be practicalthe world was built by practical people who knew how to get into an imaginative frame of mind, listen to their imaginations, and build on the ideas they found there. Avoid bringing in your judge before your artist has had the chance to do her job. Premature evaluation can prevent conception.
  5. Play is frivolous — if necessity is the mother of invention, play is the father. Use it to fertilize your thinking. If you don’t have a problem, take time to play anyway. You may find some new ideas.

I became a fan of Roger years ago and have used his ideas to boost my, my team and clients’ creativity.

How are you busting mental locks to become more creative in solving problems and capitalizing on opportunities?

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