As a minimalist it always amuses me how clogged people get in their thinking. What really tickles me is how repetitive people are in their thought process, especially in solving problems.
Even with the advent of readily available information on the internet, people still seem to choose a solution that is cluttered with past failures. Around and round the problem they go. Some attempt to try old solutions - just quicker! Or, they try failed thoughts, but increase the VOLUME! (Obviously problems are afraid of noise?) Basically, people keep attempting the same solutions they always have, ending with the same, or very similar, results each time.
Hoarders of redundant solutions lose creativity. A minimalist mentality allows me to “let go” of old thinking patterns that don’t serve me. I am free to trial and test new thinking patterns, until I find a solution. With this “clean lines” approach to thinking, I create space to be creative and adaptable with information about the problem.
Oh please, that does not mean I chuck away learning experiences of the past for common problems. If the solution fits, it will be utilized until it has worn out, or the problem changes. After all, why fix something that isn’t broken.
1. Explain your problem to a six year old in a manner he or she can understand. Often the act of breaking the problem down to its most basic language reveals the true nature of the problem. But don’t run away with your new understanding of the situation until you have asked the child for a potential solution. Be patient, listen without judgment and allow the innocence of youth to offer you some creative solutions. You may be surprised at the responses you get!
2. Explore the power of “and”! I have seen it often. People get stuck with the “either or” mentality. Sometimes the answer does not lie with selecting the “right” solution to the problem, causing a dilemma of – is it this solution? Or is it that solution? Maybe the answer lies in – it is this solution and it is that solution.
3. Options Galore. In light of the above statement I enjoy creating multiple options that can be used as solutions to the problem. The more options I have, the easier it is tor refine and even combine options to get the most effective solution possible. One option is no choice. Two options is a dilemma. When I have three or more options I genuinely have a choice. I like choice. Don’t you?
4. The Turn About Option. Creating so many options is what seems to stall people’s momentum. Use the Turn About approach to help you create a few more possibilities. This approach involves taking the problem and turning it to face the opposite direction. Yup, 180 degrees. Maybe the problem is “pulling”? So, try pushing as an option. The problem is “taking”? Try “giving” as a solution.
These are four very simple techniques I like to use when faced with a problem that challenges conventional solutions. Adding a little creativity to problem solving makes discovering the answer fun. Changing a mood about the problem also allows you to see the problem in a new light. A different perspective is beneficial in finding solutions.