Have you ever heard the saying, “You can’t put a round peg in a square hole?” Well, you’re about to find out that it’s a pretty good idea to try. (Just make sure you don’t go back and tell your kindergarten teacher she was wrong about the peg thing!)
You’ll be amazed at how a simple exercise can produce such smashing problem-solving results.
Now get going!
a) Write down your problem. For example, “In what way would it be best for me to study for my final exams?”
b) Randomly choose a word (like daffodil) from your environment, the dictionary, or even a book you’re reading. The ideal word is simple, visual and connection-rich.
c) Generate a lot of words that are associated with the random word you chose. Write them down using lines to connect words that go together to create a visual picture. A mind-map of sorts.
d) Make connections between the generated words and your stated problem. They won’t necessarily go together easily, but forcing them to fit will cause you to look at things in a new way.
e) Record the ideas that you come up with, like this:
- The word outdoors might make you think that weather permitting, studying outdoors or in an open area can keep you feeling fresh and alert. Sitting somewhere like this helps keep your mind open to new information.
- The word simple might suggest to you that writing complex ideas in simple language with practical examples makes them easier to remember.
- The word love might remind you that studying with friends helps you make connections between concepts that you don’t recognize alone, or that friends might keep you moving when you feel like giving up.
Creating connections where they didn’t previously exist means creating answers that you didn’t have before either. And that sounds awesome when you need some out-of-this-world ideas!