Exercise 62 Creative Thinking Not The Obvious

In a Peter Sellers Pink Panther movie, Sellers looked down at a dog at his feet and asked the proprietor of the hotel that he was checking into, "Does your dog bite?" The proprietor said, "No." Whereupon Sellers reached down to pet the dog and got bit! Inquiring about it, he found out that the dog at his feet was not the proprietor's dog. Before making a decision, consider all the factors without taking what seems obvious for granted. In analytical thinking, you proceed directly from one state of information to another state. In creative thinking, you generate new ideas and approaches by extending yourself through imagination, intuition and inspiration to exceed the obvious. Keep this in mind when solving the following problems. 1) For example, how many squares are in the figure below?

2) Draw 4 connecting straight lines so they pass through all the following dots:

3) A truck went under a low bridge and got jammed so precisely that the driver could neither go forward nor backward. Mechanics could not pry the truck loose, but a small boy came by and told them how to get the truck out with little difficulty. What did he tell them?

4) In Europe, there is a brandy that is bottled with a whole pear in each bottle. How does the bottler put the pear into the bottle?

5) In the following illustration, you are in a room with a dish, a tennis ball and a mouse trap. How can you tie the 2 strings together?


1) Analytical thinkers would say 16 or 17 (large square included). Creative thinkers see 30 squares, including the 4 X 4 and 3 X 3 squares.

3) Let some air out of the tires.

4) The bottle is tied to the tiny growing pear on the branch.

5) Attach the mousetrap to one string and swing it to you while running to grab the other string in time to catch the swinging string and mousetrap.

As an exercise, pick a problem -- say poor education. Now pick a random word in the dictionary -- say the 7th word on the 7th page -- apple. See what thoughts the word apple will generate in terms of the problem. For example, apple -- fruit -- kids like fruit -- kids bring apples to school -- better teaching, better education. Do the same thing with other random words for other problems.

Thinking creatively takes practice. Begin looking around in your life for things that can give you creative self-expression. You can decorate your house in some creative way. You can dress in creative ways. Go to new or wacky locations for entertainment. Look for ideas everywhere. Draw, paint, play with clay, write songs, play a new musical instrument and have fun with yourself.

When faced with a particular challenge, problem or situation, write a list of possible solutions, no matter how far out! There are no wrong answers, just possible solutions! Generate a flow of ideas. The act of writing them down often gets them out of the mind and into view for you to see. Ask others for input, and listen to what they say, but don't tell them your ideas on the subject if they're not positively oriented. Some people have a habit of derailing another point of view automatically, and this can be discouraging.

In every situation you are in, consciously ask yourself how to best handle it creatively. This establishes a habit of thinking creatively. Don't worry about whether your ideas will work or not. Worrying impedes the flow of creativity. The idea here is to practice thinking creatively until it becomes a habit.

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