Creativity Hack 101: Squash the “Right Answer Syndrome”.
**Hey Creative Genius!
Before you start reading this article, take a few moments to go through and answer/do the tasks in the picture:
Ready? Could you do them all? My guess is this was not a particularly hard task.
But let me ask you this: How MANY answers did you get for each one?
You see, humans are obsessed with finding the ONE correct answer to everything, and most people stop when they have found what they think is the right one. The truth is, however, that there is ALWAYS more than one correct answer to everything, and if we don’t explore it, we are neither harnessing our creative talents nor are we able to fully embrace life.
If you answered that half of 23 is 11.5, you are, of course, right. But what other answers could you find that are also right?
Humans have been taught from a very early age to figure out the correct answer to questions. (Remember the red crosses on the returned assessments when you were wrong?) However, the problem with this belief is that if there is only one right answer, all other answers must be WRONG. And therein lies the downward spiral of discouraging creative thinking and what Miliind Harrdas calls “The Right Answer Syndrome”.
Have you got a bit of “The Right Answer Syndrome”? The thing is, our brain LOVES to simplify and compartmentalise things. When we do, it makes us feel in control and calm. On the other hand, being open to multiple answers can make us feel unorganised and messy short term! Long-term, however, seeking multiple correct answers will help you become more flexible and more creative!
There are MANY correct answers to the same question, and we can figure them out using our innovative mind!
Having presented this information, could you figure out another few answers to “what is half of 23” now?
Clients often come with a wish to find the answer to solve their pain or reach their next level of success. Sometimes they will tell you they have been looking for the solution in many places but still haven’t found “it” yet, indicating there is one magic answer that is still out of their reach. However, the truth is that there are multiple answers to their questions. So, instead of helping clients find the one answer, I harness their ability to seek a variety of correct answers, then we create a path forward. Let’s explore this further through the 2nd task on the image: Draw a light bulb.
How did you draw your light bulb? Most people draw it as if they are looking at it from a side angle, did you? But aren’t there more ways to draw a light bulb? For example, what does it look like when looking at it from above or below? What about from a 95-degree side angle? You would get a totally different image!
Bringing it back to clients looking for the answer to their problems, the same applies. Encouraging clients to creatively look at their issues from different angles, their view changes, and they start finding other solutions to their problems.
Let me share a story about creative solutions:
Many years ago, when I was working as a singer/songwriter, I was inspired by the Pink Floyd song “Money”. I loved the unusual rhythm and the feeling it gave me. So I decided I wanted to create a piece with an unusual beat. As I started writing my song, I remember worrying it would sound similar to the Pink Floyd song, as it had inspired me so much. Nonetheless, I decided to go for it anyway. And so, my song “Your Eyes” was born.
So, did it sound the same as “Money”? Not in the least!
In fact, no one has ever compared the two songs. “Money” may have inspired me to write a song with a different beat and opened me up to explore a different emotional state in the music. But, other than that, there are absolutely no similarities.
The fantastic thing about creativity is that even though we may seek solutions to similar problems to others or be inspired by the same stuff, we will always come up with different ideas and answers when we free our imagination!
So, talking about creative solutions: How did you fold your paper six times?
Put it this way, it probably looks completely different from how I would have done it! In fact, if you ask 10 people to close their eyes and fold an A4 paper 6 times, their papers are likely all folded differently, showing the multitude of solutions for the same issue.
Here’s another thing that may come up whilst doing this exercise: How easy or hard did you make it for yourself? For example, if you folded the paper in equal parts each time, chances are it would have been challenging to perform the last fold. If this happened to you, how does this apply to how you approach problems in your life?
Encouraging creative thinking and solution-finding in yourself and others! It’s vital to help ourselves and others thrive.
Are you keen to get your creative juices going? Here’s a great tool to encourage creative thinking!
A TOOL TO ENCOURAGE CREATIVE THINKING:
What you need:
A4 piece of paper, coloured pens.
- Grab the A4 piece of paper and a black pen.
- Put the pen in the non-dominant hand. (Drawing with your non-dominant hand will help you stay out of your head and let go of expectations.)
- Close your eyes and let your hand draw freely without the pen leaving the paper until you feel done.
- Open your eyes and inspect your scribble.
- Spend some time looking at the paper, turn your paper around and look at it from different angles.
- See if you can make out an image or visual from what you have drawn. What does it look like? What do you see?
- Once you have decided what you see, spend some time colouring in the image with your coloured pens.
Encouraging creative thinking benefits all areas of our lives.
Use every opportunity you can to cultivate it.
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