If I were to ask you what the most common activity is for everyone, everyday – what would be your answer? It’s a problem, for there are so many possible answers!

But the most accepted answer is just that – solving problems! Not an hour goes by without us having to face the need to solve some kind of problem. It could be simple, such as “What shall I have for dinner?” or complex as in “What is the best strategy to maximise returns without increasing costs?” In fact, whenever we ask ourselves a question which has more than one answer we face a problem.

Sometime we can see the problem but we have no idea of the solution. Actually, as life becomes more and more complex it appears that we are faced with more and more questions which appear to have no solutions. And the more debilitating the problem, the more difficult it is to find a solution and that can lead to despair – not a good feeling or conducive to reaching positive outcomes.

Sometimes the solutions are difficult to find because we are asking the wrong questions. And at other times we define the problem wrongly. We can place invisible constraints upon ourselves which impede our search for answers – do you remember the problem of the nine dots?

Without lifting the pen from the paper, can you draw four straight lines that pass through all nine dots?

The difficulty is that we place an artificial constraint by adding to the problem the unstated premise that we are bound by the external lines! Now that I have removed that restraint is the problem easier to solve? (Scroll down for just one solution!)

It is much easier when we do not place unnecessary restrictions on our thinking, in fact you might be able to solve this problem with just three lines. Take a well earned bow if you can.

Sometimes our ability to solve the problems facing us is simply because we are complacent and we accept certain things as truth without question. Challenge yourself with some simple questions that may have a number of alternative answers; can you find one?

1. Why is a telephone pad arranged differently to a calculator?

2. Why doesn’t sugar spoil or get mouldy?

3. How do military cadets find their own caps after throwing them high into the air on graduation?, and finally

4. Why are people immune to their own body odour?

Sometimes all we need to answer the problem staring us in the face is a good dose of inquisitiveness.

Creative thinkers can often find links between the most surprising things – and that link can suggest unique answers to problems. How creative are you in finding links? What are some of the common terms that link water with finance? I’ll give you one to get you started – Banks!

We face many problems in our daily living and mostly we can solve them without difficulty. But sometimes we need to change the way in which we approach them to find a workable solution.

I have merely touched on some ways in which our stereotypical thinking can hinder our efforts to solve problems. How many more can you think of?

It’s Monday – and a new week faces us, with opportunities and challenges – let’s see if we can solve them with a new awareness of creative thinking.

Michele @ Trischel


The nine dot problem –

Some Words linking Water and Finance

Banks, Deposits, ‘Capital’ Drain, Currency, Frozen ‘Assets’, sinking ‘fund’, ‘cash’ flow, float ‘a loan’, liquid ‘assets’, washed up, underwater ‘pricing’, and slush ‘fund’.

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