Get Creative Friday — Breaking Mental Locks — Part 2

Get Creative Friday — Breaking Mental Locks — Part 2

What stifles 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 there are 10 mental locks to be especially hazardous to creative thinking. Here are the second five; see Part 1 for the first five:

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1.   That’s not my area – specialization is a fact of life, and you will benefit from narrowing your focus and limiting your field of view. When you create ideas, information-handling duties can limit you. Develop the explorer’s attitude –the outlook that wherever you go, there are ideas waiting to be discovered.

2.  Don’t be foolish – the fool’s job is to shake, assault, massage, caress and take a whack at rules, habits and conventions that keep you thinking the same way. Occasionally let your “stupid monitor” down, play the fool and see what crazy ideas come up.  

3.  Avoid ambiguity – Most of us are told to avoid ambiguity because of the problems it might cause. In creativity, being specific can stymie you. Take advantage of ambiguity in the world. Look at something and think of what else it might be.

4.  To err is wrong – errors are a sign that you are diverging form the well-traveled path. If you make a mistake, use it as a stepping stone to an idea that hasn’t been discovered.

5.   I’m not creative – the world of thought and action overlap. What you think has a way of becoming true. Believe in the worth of your ideas and have the persistence of continuing to build on them. With this attitude, you will take more risks, and break rules occasionally.

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

How do you break the mental blocks that stifle your creativity?

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