Throughout the history of humankind, success has been linked with innovative thinking. Scientists like Albert Einstein, inventors like Thomas Edison, and even modern day entrepreneurs like Bill Gates, have all etched their names into the history books because of their ability to think creatively, and to come up with new ideas.
Both in education and in business, the ability to think creatively is invaluable. It’s how we grow as individuals, and how we develop as a world. It’s how we overcome challenges, and how we reach new heights, both individually and collectively.
But creative thinking isn’t always easy, or straight forward. We’ve all had moments where we try to develop an idea, and for one reason or another, our mind goes blank.
When we experience those moments, it’s important to find ways to energise the brain, and encourage the creation of new ideas and creative ways of thinking.
One way to exercise your mind is to open yourself up to new information.
It sounds simple, but exploring the internet can be a great way of inspiring creative thinking. Try inputting questions into search engines, use web links to take you to different resources, and explore the internet like it’s a treasure trove of new information and thoughts. You’re bound to come across something that you didn’t know before, which could be the launching pad for a new, creative idea.
You can also discuss ideas with friends, family and colleagues. Dialogue is a powerful way of developing new ideas, because each person you speak with can contribute something new to think about. Through communication, you can better process information, and start to exercise your mind and generate ideas.
It’s also helpful to remember that thinking creatively is often about looking at something from a different perspective. The writer Antoine De Saint-Exupery once remarked that “A pile of rocks ceases to be a rock when somebody contemplates it with the idea of a cathedral in mind.” All it takes is the ability to see something differently – to see the extraordinary in something ordinary – to mark the starting point of a new idea.
On the other hand, if you’re having trouble coming up with an idea, another school of thought is to stop thinking about it altogether. Einstein, for example, once asked himself: “Why is it I always get my best ideas while shaving?” Sometimes, the best ideas emerge seemingly from nowhere while you’re simply going about your day to day life.
The important thing is not to feel disheartened when your mind goes blank. We all experience those moments, and frustrating as they may be, you will think of something eventually. Whether you choose to browse the web, talk to others, or go about your day to day life, remember that new ideas will flow in time.
But if you want to speed up the process, remember to simply look at things differently. See the extraordinary instead of the ordinary, and you’ll find new ideas come much more easily.