Are you struggling to find a solution to an old or difficult problem? Has your wellspring of creativity run dry? Do you feel worn down, tired, or stuck in a rut?
Regardless of the reason why you are stuck, the ability to be innovative, to do something differently, is often the key to becoming unstuck and moving forward. While it’s easier said than done, we must get outside of the square of our old habits and preconceived notions to start thinking differently.
The following are a few tips to help you mentally switch gears and see things in a new light, so that you can find your inspiration, unique ideas and resolutions.
Take a break. If you’ve been spending hours poring over the data and can’t see a way through, don’t be afraid to take a break and walk away from your work for a few minutes and do something unrelated to the task. Sometimes, beginning to think differently is as simple as standing up and walking away for a few minutes.
Challenge your beliefs. Sometimes a situation may seem insolvable because we really don’t understand the issues as well as we believe. Often, if we sit down and think about what we believe that we know about an issue and its key players, and then challenge those beliefs, we will see areas where we formed beliefs based on incorrect or incomplete information. Whether it’s a person, a product, or even your own cultural bias, challenge your beliefs and be open to new possibilities.
Give your left brain a break and reconnect with your right brain. Many difficulties require an analytical, step-by-step, left brain approach to find a solution. Sometimes, however, an inspired, random, emotional right brain approach is needed. To tap the creativeness of your right brain, try taking a break and writing a poem, or drawing a picture that relates to the issue. Even the simple act of listening to music while you work can help you to relax and access your right brain’s creativity.
Flip things upside down and shake things up. Sometimes finding a solution is as simple as looking at the issue from a different perspective or shaking up the status quo. When you have a difficult problem and need to achieve more than one goal, try thinking about how you would proceed if the least important goals were suddenly the most important.
Whether your issue involves your team at work, or your family at home, you can come up with new ideas and solutions by shaking things up a bit and reassigning various tasks and chores to different people. Let them surprise you and one another with their creative approaches and fresh energy.
Of course, there are many ways to think outside of the square to come up with new ideas and solutions. Feel free to let us know in the comments section if you’ve ever tried any of our suggestions or if you have a few of your own that you’d like to share.