A 3-minute exercise to unlock new creative potential in your brain

Bryan Searing
Nov 2, 2018 · 3 min read
Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

If you’re serious about flexing your creativity…

If your livelihood depends on your creativity…

If you feel an innate need to be creative…

Then stop tanking your creativity.

By this, I mean: when faced with a creative challenge, stop taking the easy way out.

Let me explain…

On the recommendation of a friend, I recently picked up the book, Lateral Thinking by Dr. Edward de Bono first published in 1970. I thought I knew a lot about creativity. But the introduction knocked me off my feet.

What struck me about Dr. de Bono’s argument is that when confronted with a creative thinking situation — and when processing the relevant information available — the mind wants to conform the data to a set of traditional patterns. AKA it is wired to look for the easy path through the data.

This is a limitation.

Dr. de Bono argues that by using lateral thinking — meaning forcing our brains to look for additional solutions for the creative problem — we force our brains to look at new patterns.

And thus open our minds to new areas of creativity.

How You Can Learn Lateral Thinking

Credit for this exercise goes to Dr. de Bono — one of my new heroes!

A 3-Minute Creativity Exercise: Divide a square into four equal pieces. Try to come up with as many variations as you can in just 3 minutes.

The mind will force you down an easy path — a traditional path:

But force yourself to come up with as many variations as you can. (And it’s okay if you use the three examples I just showed you.)

You can use my template or create your own:

I gave it a shot this morning — and came up with 29 variations in 3 minutes. But I won’t be showing those. I don’t want to taint your creativity. :)

Lateral Thinking is Not The Only Form of Creativity

Lateral thinking is complementary to vertical thinking and other forms of creative thinking.

As you break your mind free of traditional patterns and shun the easy paths, lateral thinking opens your mind to richer output.

Dr. de Bono encourages exercising your lateral thinking muscle over time — training your brain to employ lateral thinking. Until it becomes habit.

Give the exercise a try.

Apply it to a situation you’re dealing with that needs creative thinking. After considering the easy solution, force yourself to consider alternatives. Come up with as many alternatives as you can.

You’ll be surprised by how quickly your mind complies with the new direction you give it.

Sometimes You Need a Little Creativity Boost

My free eBook might just help:

5 Exercises that Will Make You 10 Times More Creative

I use these exercises to keep the juices flowing — in myself and in my clients. (I am a marketing consultant, after all.)

Follow me on Facebook.

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The Mission

A network of business & tech podcasts designed to accelerate learning. Selected as “Best of 2018” by Apple. Mission.org

Bryan Searing

Written by

Historical Fiction Author. Marketing & Insights Consultant. Husband. Father of 3. Inspired by Innovation, Creativity, Imagination + Design. www.bryansearing.com

The Mission

A network of business & tech podcasts designed to accelerate learning. Selected as “Best of 2018” by Apple. Mission.org

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