As a working mom, I like to think I know a thing or two about creative thinking.
Each day I juggle 3 kids at home, run my own business, put a healthy dinner on the table, fit in exercise, and a conversation with my partner beyond the “logistics of our life”. I’d like to believe that creative thinking definitely comes into play.
But then I have a conversation with my thoughtful, philosophical 6 year old son. And I wonder whether I really know anything about creative thinking at all.
His thought process and creative thinking skills confound and energize me almost every day. With that in mind, here are 3 tips to help you boost your creative thinking powers inspired by 3 actual conversations we’ve had.
Tip #1: Don’t let reality slow you down
One night as I was cleaning up after dinner, my son said to me, out of the blue, “Mom, what if my life is really a dream?” This is one of those grand ‘what’s the meaning of life?’ questions that you’re not really sure how to answer. It was just so existential: “But really mom, how do I even know this is real?”
When you’re brainstorming, don’t let negative, constricting thoughts get in the way. You know them: “well that won’t work in the real world”. Choose instead to operate in that dreamlike state where the impossible seems possible.
Tip #2: Seekout abstract connections - especially when they don’t make sense to anyone else
One morning while we were waiting for his older sister to be done swimming class he offered this gem: “Mom, I’ve been thinking. Volcanos are essentially like dragons, but with no feet.”
I admit, this one took me a few minutes to process. What an awesome observation! He didn’t let himself be bound by categories: animate or inanimate objects. He just focused on the coolest part of volcanoes and dragons – the fire (obviously) – and used his imagination to make an atypical connection.
As Steve Jobs put it:
Easy for him to say right? When you’re trying to boost your own creative thinking, write down whatever comes to your mind, without judgement. Then leave it. Go for a walk. Play with your dog. Do some exercise. Come back and take a look at what you wrote and see if there are any connections that spark.
Tip #3 - Don’t be afraid to question EVERYTHING
Another time we were in the middle of a craft project, he stopped, and thoughtfully asked: “Why is it called a RECT-angle if it’s not ‘wrecked‘?”
His question is a reminder to be relentlessly curious. When you’re struggling for new ideas, put yourself in someone else’s shoes (human or otherwise). Take a look at the situation from their point of view. What other perspectives can you consider? What does it look like from a six year old’s perspective? Or maybe a 96 year old’s? Albert Einstein, a creative thinking icon had it right when he said:
My kids say the hardest things. And some of them are pretty savvy business tips. What tips to boost creative thinking do you use? What’s the craziest thought you’ve heard from a little person recently? Share them with us @andrewperrymktng.
#creativethinking #kidssaythedarndestthings #businesstips