12 Quick Tips to
Shake That Brain!
®
by Joel Saltzman

According to education innovator John W. Gardner, a creative person is someone who "will toy with an idea, 'try it on for size,' look at it from a dozen different angles. ...Unlike the rest of us, they do not persist stubbornly in one approach to a problem. They can change directions and shift energies. They can give up their initial perception of a problem and redefine it."

Like to try a more "creative" approach to solving your problem or finding a great solution? Here are 12 Top Tips to "Shake That Brain!" and get you started on the road to innovation.

1. BE OPTIMISTIC

The more you believe you can solve your problem, the more you'll keep at it. Know that it may take some time, but eventually you'll discover one or more solutions — maybe even some extraordinary ones.

2. BE CLEAR

Never try to solve a problem before you know what it is: Write down your problem in the form of a clear, precise question and you're halfway to the answer. Then again: Always pose your question at least two very different ways. For example ...

3. ASK, "WHAT'S THE 'OPPOSITE' OF MY QUESTION?"

Remember Tom Sawyer and the fence that needed mending? Instead of asking,
"How can I do this work?" he asked: "How can someone else do all this fun?"

4. QUESTION YOUR ASSUMPTIONS

Make a list of everything about your situation that you know to be true -- no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. Now go back and question every assumption you've made. "Is that really so? Does it have to be that way? How could it be done some other way?"

5. PRACTICE PIE-IN-THE-SKY THINKING

Allow yourself to look for wild, outlandish ideas -- even if they seem impossible at first. As Einstein put it: "If at first an idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it."

Most of us would go, "That's a crazy idea -- forget about it." To which Einstein would counter: "Got a crazy idea? Let's take a look at it!"

6. THINK OF YOUR ABSOLUTE WORST IDEA

Why worry about trying to come up with a great idea when it's so much easier to come up with a rotten idea! Freed from trying to come up with the greatest idea ever, you might just discover that a terrible idea can be "tweaked" into greatness.

7. BE PERSISTENT -- NEVER TAKE "YES" FOR AN ANSWER

Instead of saying, "Yes, that's it!," learn to say, "Well, that could be it." Then go find some more ideas. As Walter Lippmann put it: "For every human problem there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong." Remember: The best way to get a great idea is to get lots of ideas! Just keep at it.

8. REFUSE TO ACCEPT "EITHER OR" THINKING

"Either Or" thinking hems you in, limiting your options way too severely. Always look for a third, fourth, even fifth alternative. Then keep looking for more solutions. And think of a way to combine solutions. For example, instead of a gasoline powered car or an electric car, there's the hybrid car, where two solutions -- gas and electric -- work together.

9. ASK YOURSELF, "WHAT WOULD __________ DO?"

Fill in the blank with the name of a famous person: Groucho Marx, Donald Trump, Madonna. Or think of someone you personally know and admire. Try their way of thinking... and see where it gets you.

10. ASK SOMEONE ELSE

Want some fresh, new ideas? Ask other people what they would do!
No one said you had to go it alone.

11. WALK AWAY FROM IT

Take a walk, do the treadmill, take a shower. "You go back to it," says novelist John Irving (The Cider House Rules), "and you suddenly see something that if you'd been rushing and pushing, you wouldn't have seen." Finally ...

12. HAVE FUN WITH IT

Let's get serious: Problem solving demands a sense of fun. That's what loosens us up and gets our creative juices flowing. Remember: Most of all, problem solving ... is a game!


Joel Saltzman is a speaker, facilitator and consultant who teaches people in business to Shake That Brain!® and discover solutions for maximum profit.
A former comedian and the author of three Best Sellers, he can be reached Toll Free at 877-Shake It! (877-742-5348)
E-mail: joel@shakethatbrain.com
Visit his website www.shakethatbrain.com/wow
 
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