Saturday, April 5, 2014

Free Your Mind for Creative Problem Solving By Kamilah Paden

Over the years, I’ve noticed that in business a lot of time is spent on just getting projects done, and not necessarily getting them done better.  Often, when looking at a problem, the natural inclination is to go with what has worked in the past. 
However, the business landscape is always shifting. Technology continues to evolve.  How we use technology changes.  People, especially entrepreneurs, have to be nimble, analytical and creative all at the same time.

To remain competitive, and dare I say, exceptional, every problem should be looked at with fresh eyes.  And anyone with the will can do that.   

There’s more than one way to skin a cat.
I grew up with my mother saying this. Now, we weren’t cat-skinning people.  However, I always knew there was more than one way to solve a problem.  If you go in knowing there is always going to be more than one solution, you are more likely to look for multiple solutions and not settle.
Don’t just look at what you are asked to do.  Look at the problem(s) you are asked to solve. There is a difference.  Make it a competition within yourself on how many solutions you can find.

Throw your limits out of the door.
My favorite ad campaign is from Adidas, “Impossible is Nothing.” Do you know why impossible is nothing?  Everyday someone, somewhere does something that someone told them was impossible. That person could be you. Don’t scoff.  Believe. 
I once worked with a technology guy that told me that he could do anything with enough time and money.  I understand we don’t usually have enough time or money.  However, limits are the Kryptonite to creativity.  Pretend that you have unlimited resources.  Then, what would you do?

Clear your mind of clutter.
Most people’s creative time is right before bedtime. Why?  Your frontal lobe is too tired to tell you no. So your mind is able to be more creative.  This also happens when you drink.  However, if you’re drunk, you can’t work.  So you have to balance that out.
I’m more creative in the mornings.  My brain is raring to go and all of my ideas are zinging around.  Find your creative time and leverage it to its fullest.
Talk to different people.

Diversity of thought is great for creativity.  Everyone brings different skills and experiences to a problem.  A good conversation can spark ingenuity.
Also, people that aren’t pressured with finding a solution can think more freely. That will help you tap into your creativity as well.
I am always more creative when I’m around creative people.  It doesn’t necessarily mean they will always have the answer.  But I’ve also been a witness to unexpected genius – the skies open up, the angels are singing, and my rear end is saved.
Tap into your child mind.

When you tap into your child mind you awaken your curiosity.  A child will play with something forever. They will touch it, taste it and look at it. They’ll turn it over and look some more.  Concentrate.  What is this thing in front of me?

Why can’t we give ourselves the same freedom and luxury to turn that box or problem over in different ways?  Why can’t we define what it can be and not be limited by what it is?
Also, your child mind gives you fearlessness.  My godson used to run into closed door when he was a toddler.  It was the oddest thing.  But it never stopped him from running.  Sometimes that led to a closed door.  Other times, it led to—Eureka!—an open one.
You may need to bang your head on a closed door to get your “Eureka” moment.  Keep running.  The satisfaction of a great solution is worth it.

We are all pressured to do more with less every day.  However, that doesn’t have to be a sentence for failure.  It can be an opportunity for creativity.  It’s all in how you look at it.

Connect with Kamilah Paden on LinkedIn at or visit her Web

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