Your Study Guides and Strategies starts here!

Creative work is play.
It is free speculation
using materials of
one's chosen form.
Stephen Nachmanovitch 1950 -
American educator/artist

Thinking and recall series

Thinking creatively

Thinking creatively is a state of mind that enables you to
approach tasks, problems, and situations with openness to alternatives.

Summary of the exercise:

Nine strategies towards creative thinking and meeting challenges:

  • Re-think:
    Look at a challenge in new or unusual ways.
  • Visualize:
    Picture your problem and its solutions.
    Map it!
  • Produce:
    Don't be lazy! Get busy!
  • Combine:
    Make new combinations-- in considering options, put them all on the table to find grains of truth or possibility. Then refine!
  • Form relationships
    Make connections--similar to mapping but adding text as to why concepts connect.
  • Think in opposites
    Often extremes present middle ground where solutions lie.
  • Metaphor! Simile!
    Build an image.
  • Fail:
    Learn from experience: think as if you have eliminated a solution toward finding one that does.
  • Practice patience
    Outlast the challenge!

Text of the exercise: Looking for a job?

Re-think:

Look at a challenge in new or unusual ways.
Find new ways that others are too lazy, or don't think about, to try:
Example: Finding a job or internship.

Expand your target visits:
What class did you do well in, and what jobs might be related?
What other fields are interesting?

Market yourself: develop your "brand."
Develop a portfolio, a list of qualifications, and or examples of your work that match each company you visit. Prepare a summary of each company you go to and how you match their interests.

Check every resource you can think of:
online Web employment sites; your school's job search; business windows

Ask friends, friends of your parents, neighbors, teachers, and/or community leaders about opportunities and referrals

Visualize: Picture your problem and its solutions.
Map it!

In just a couple words, summarize a challenge you are facing.
Then add three related concepts.
Then draw lines to connect the words.
Remake the map on a separate piece of paper; add images.
Play with this idea and find your solution.

Produce:

A genius is productive.
Don't be lazy!

Combine:

Make new combinations.
Combine and recombine ideas, images, and thoughts
no matter how strange or unusual.

Form relationships; make connections.

This applies to people and objects.
Get to know the people in your area of interest that can help you improve. Demonstrate interest in them; ask questions! At the arrow, enter some contacts, either by name and/or by title and/or by qualification.

Opposites
Think in opposites.

Think opposite these words:
Hip hop | Flow | Employment | Organic | Blue | Nature
Then find a middle concept for one

Metaphor! Simile!
A simile uses "like" or "as" to build an image. Examples:

The jungle's river was like a peaceful path through a chaos of green.
The bird rose straight and fast as a rocket.
The service line moved as fast as stalled rush hour traffic.

A metaphor is more direct:

The event was viewed through the mist of sadness.
The garden became a quilt of cared-for colors.
She led them with the carrot of reason and the stick of embarrassment.

Now create your images:
The exercise illustrates how situations can take on new meaning, problems new solutions. Enter your thought quickly for the following phrases with the first image that comes to mind. Print, reflect, and make new connections if inspired.

The football team played as if they...

The computer screen looked...

My study schedule is a...

Fail!

Great accomplishments are often the result of chance, but chance born of many "unsuccessful" experiments. Learn from these experiences; preparation to fail is the path to success.

Patience

Some people are not recognized until their "later" years.
Paul Cézanne (1839 – 1906), French impressionist, did not have his first exhibition until age 56. Accomplishment does not come in 10 minutes. Give yourself ten days, or ten years! Practice patience.

We hope one or two of these tips serve you well.

May your successes and failures
bring you knowledge and peace.


Thinking and recall series

Concentrating | Radical thinking | Thinking aloud/private speech |
Thinking critically I | Thinking critically II | Thinking creatively | Brainstorming |
Mapping explanation | Make your own map I | Make your own map II |
Thinking like a genius: Creative solutions | Famous thinkers | Blog

See also: Teaching with questioning; teaching critical thinking