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  • Writer's pictureBob Prentice


Weekly, daily, even hourly, we run into challenges in our lives and very often our response is to "shoot from the hip" so to speak, doing whatever pops into our minds in an effort to solve those challenges. While this may work some of the time, I find that more often than not, this method of problem solving only leads to more challenges to deal with.

I have come to believe that when challenges arise, it is much better to take the necessary time to do a little creative thinking, so that I can discover my best options and proceed accordingly. This strategy usually ends up saving me time, energy, money, misunderstanding and a lot more in the long run.

Today, I will share some tips on how you can most effectively tap into your creative potential to solve challenges.

Preparing yourself for creative thinking is the first step to tapping into your personal potential. Identify the right time of day and use that time which is most creative for you. Maybe your most creative time is early in the morning or perhaps you are more creative late at night. Invest time thinking creative thoughts in this key time frame that works best for you.

Don't be afraid to work alone. A quiet, calm environment is definitely most conducive to creativity, so do what you can to cut off interruptions and distractions, since they tend to stop the flow of your creative juices.

It's important to keep focused, so be sure that you set your mind on dealing with only one issue at a time. Grab your pen and paper (or pull up a clean page on your computer) and define your challenge and clarify it.

I think this next part is really the most fun. State your challenge in the form of a question that demands a multiplicity of answers: "In What Way Can We improve, change, modify, or solve the challenge?"

Ask yourself "IWWCW _____?" (In what ways can we _____?)

Here are ten idea-spurring questions to help you think creatively and innovatively:

  • Will it do more?

  • Will it last longer?

  • Is there a less expensive way?

  • Is there an easier way?

  • Is there a better way?

  • Could it be modified?

  • Could it be adapted to different uses?

  • What can be added? Subtracted? Substituted?

  • How can we upgrade it?

  • Is there another use for this other than the original application?

I should also mention the following are key characteristics of a creative person. I encourage you to develop these traits in yourself and others.

  • Sensitivity and alertness to challenges at their inception (I can see clearly now.)

  • Idea fluency (Think of all the different kinds of toothbrushes they offer now.)

  • Originality (That is an original idea.)

  • Flexibility (Everything is not so black and white.)

  • Drive and Determination (Press on.)

  • Open-mindedness (That's an idea.)

  • Self-confidence (Believe.)

  • Extended effort and desire to achieve and excel (Success is an attitude.)

  • Positive and proper mental attitudes (These attitudes prevail.)

The above questions, attitudes and skills will help you overcome the challenges in life. I can assure you of that. I have been using them for 35 years or more, and they have worked nicely for me and helped me to tap into my creative potential to solve the many challenges that I come up against in the course of everyday life.

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