Thursday, November 3, 2011

Think like Woody Allen, Charles Darwin and Wile E. Coyote

Each of us has his or her particular mode of thinking, which is quite normal because we are all different and unique. Our own mode of thinking determines the perception of the world that we have in our mind, actions we are likely to take, and eventually, the kind of life that we are going to have. Stepping out from your mode of thinking is difficult but not impossible.

One of the worst thinkings that you can have about yourself is the one that you are not creative. It may well be that your mind is not accustomed to making lateral connections that will help you generate new ideas, but it still does not mean that you are not creative! 


There are many techniques that can help you improve your thinking. Here is one of them. It will not help you become an exceptionally creative businessman like Steve Jobs or a prodigious artist like Picasso, but it might help you learn how to think for a moment like those two guys.

Like I said, it is extremely difficult to break away from our usual mode of thinking so it is no wonder that sometimes we may feel trapped in a big bubble of thoughts that we cannot escape from. No matter how hard we try, we always end up with the list of same old ideas that we often find useless or not effective enough.


The good way to break this bubble is to pretend that you are somebody else. Imagine for a moment that you were Lady Gaga. How would she tackle the problem that you are having? What would she do in the given situation? What would she think? What would she say? How would she react? Forget about yourself for a moment and be somebody else: a famous scientist, a painter, your university professor, your boss... try to think like your father, your daughter or the cashier in your local grocery store. The possibilities are infinite and they depend on the subject or the focus of your thinking.


To show you how this technique works I have chosen to think like Woody Allen, Charles Darwin and Wile E. Coyote (yes, you can choose to think like an imaginary person, a superhero or a supervillain!). Let us see what ideas they will have in the following situations.


Situation:
You are going to a very important business meeting. On your way to the client’s office a bird poops on your shirt. What will you do? How will you think?


Woody Allen
will probably become panic stricken and start walking around not knowing what to do. Next, he will tell himself (aloud of course) that he needs to calm down and think, think, think! Then, he would rush to the nearest rest room, take off his shirt and wear it inside out. Yeah, that will be the solution! Then, he would go to a meeting as if nothing has happened.


Wile E. Coyote
will look at the poop stain and ponder very, very deeply about the problem. He will decide that the best thing will be to somehow get rid of the stain. He would probably try out several creative methods of removing the stain that will result in producing a big gaping hole in his shirt. He would probably be stopped at the entrance of the building by the security and would never get to the meeting.


Charles Darwin
will most likely take this as a sign of his good fortune and head on to the meeting room having in mind new opportunities that the project will open for him.


Situation:
One of your employees is constantly late for work. As his boss, you need to somehow make him break away from this habit. What will you do? How will you think?


Woody Allen
will probably try to convince the person to be on time by telling him a long and elaborate story comprising his own experience and the latest psychological research. By the end of his logorrheic discourse both of them will forget why in the first place they have gathered together.


Wile E. Coyote
will try to put a stop to such a conduct by setting up a trap for the employee.


Charles Darwin
will probably sit down, talk with the employee and look for the origins of such behavour.


Situation:
You are given the task of helping a female basketball team play better in the forthcoming state championship. What will you do? How will you think?


Woody Allen
will probably work individually with each of the players during which time he will seriously be tempted to fall in love with each and every one of them.


Wile E. Coyote
will become compulsively obsessed with the idea of devising a new, groundbreaking technique of passing a ball through a basket loop.


Charles Darwin
will most probably analyse previous playing patterns of the team, classify and regroup players.


You see how many completely different ideas and approaches I have managed to discover by playing this simple thinking game! (And, yes, I was playful on purpose.)


The real beauty of this method is that you can be virtually anybody you choose! Just free your imagination and welcome all the crazy ideas that may cross your mind. The more ideas you manage to generate, the greater the chance that one of them will be useful!



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If you wish to further explore this topic, you can check out the selection of my favourite books about creative thinking.

Key words for this blog post:

become more creative, better thinking, creative thinking, how to create new ideas, how to think like, think better, thinking techniques, creative problem solving

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Humorous and creative! Thank you, this made me smile.

Pedja G. said...

Thank you for your comment. I hope that this article will inspire you to play this game of thinking like someone else from time to time : )
Stay creative,
Pedja

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