09 July 2015

RVO:Creativity Mental Block #7: Don't be foolish

This post is a continuation of THIS POST. Please read it before you read this post 

Throughout history, we see that most of the successful kings had fools in their court. The 'Court Jesters' job was to look at a problem with different perspective and come up with wacky ideas and solutions for the problems being faced. Typically a fool does the following.

One, reverse the standard assumptions: If a man is sitting on a horse looking at the rear, who is backwards, man or horse?

Two, He is irreverent: He forces us to look at the sanctity of our 'sacred cow' ideas.

Three, he might deny that the problem exists, thereby re-framing the situation

Four, he can be absurd: Author mentions the story of a man who lost his donkey. He sits on the road and starts thanking god. A passerby sees him thanking god and asks, "Didn't you lose your donkey just now? Why are you thanking god for that?", the man replies, "I am thanking god that I was not sitting on the donkey. If I were, I would be lost too.". If we look back, we can see many losses in our lives, which later on turned out to be opportunities to do different things.

Five, he notices things that others overlook. He might ask question like, ' why is it that many people look down when walking?. Why they do not look up and walk?'

Six, a fool uses metaphor to explain ideas.

Seven, he will apply the rules of one area to ta different area. 

Eight, he can be cryptic.

A fool provides provides an alternative way of looking at the situation. The author encourages us to think like a fool. Being a fool is to be on our mental reverse gear. When we are stuck in a rut, playing the fool can provide us with a different idea, which can propel us in a different direction.

One strategy which author advises is to laugh at our problems. A humorous frame of mind can enhance our creativity by stretching your thinking, by allowing us to take things less seriously and by forcing us to combine unrelated ideas.

Yet another strategy is to reverse the viewpoint. Thinking about and doing things opposite from our customary way allows us to discover things that we typically overlook. One way to do this is to try switching our objective and going in the opposite direction. For example, a teacher can ask 'How can I be less effective?'. This will provide the teacher with all the approaches of being less effective, helping her to avoid those approaches. Reversing our viewpoint is a great way to sharpen our thinking.

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