How to Use Creative Problem-Solving

Few things in life are more aggravating than having a problem with no clear solution. Whether the problem applies to your personal life, your work, or your financial situation, not knowing what to do about it makes you feel powerless and out of control.

Most of us try to force a solution to appear, which can not only leave us feeling drained, it can result in magnified problems if we act out of desperation and make poor choices.

Rather than continuing to struggle with problems, let your creative insight lead you to the most productive solution. Below you’ll find four simple ways to do that:

See it from a different angle.

Most of us view our problems as very rigid and inflexible, when they might not be that way at all. For example, if you are unhappy with your job you might think the only solution is to get another job. If you can’t find a suitable replacement, you will feel trapped and unhappy.

However, your creative insight might reveal other options that would work just as well. You might be able to speak to your boss about changing your duties, revising your work schedule, working from home, or perhaps a simple attitude adjustment could help you enjoy your job more. You can apply this process to any problem by simply looking at it from a different perspective.

Think of your problem and the types of solutions you’d like to have, and consider the possibilities. Turn it upside down in your mind and see if you can find a way to make it work. Start from the solution you’d like to have and work backwards, considering each step needed to make it happen.

Do a puzzle or maze to stimulate your creative juices.

Puzzles and printed mazes are great ways to open your mind to new ideas. Because they require a bit of intuition combined with mental strategizing, they naturally tap into your ability to recognize alternate ways of thinking. Set aside your problems and work on a puzzle or maze for a few minutes, and you might find the best solution to your problem lurking within it.

Work on something unrelated to your problem.

If you’re stuck on a project at work, switch gears for a few minutes and do something unrelated. Take a break if you can and go out for a walk. Call a friend and chat for a few minutes. Write out a shopping list, balance your checkbook – the activities don’t matter except that they remove your attention from the problem for a few minutes. When you return to your problem, you might be refreshed enough to see another way around it.

Ask the universe for help.

Grab your favorite book of quotes (or any other book with gems of wisdom) and hold it in your hands. Think about your problem and mentally ask the universe for assistance in finding a solution. Open the book randomly and let your eyes fall on a passage. Very often this can trigger an idea you wouldn’t have considered before, which can make all the difference. Whether this insight really comes from the universe, your higher self, or your subconscious mind ultimately doesn’t matter – just the fact that you came up with a viable solution does!

Ultimately it doesn’t matter how you engage your creative thinking ability. You might find that watching television works best for you, or reading a book, taking a shower, or any of the suggestions above. Go with your gut feelings and believe that a solution to your problem is right around the corner. That alone can make you feel better than believing that a solution doesn’t exist.

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