“Imagination is more important than knowledge” said Albert Einstein.
So…where have you sent your imagination? We need imaginative solutions more than ever.
Are you looking in the wrong places for yours?
The imaginative insights you get in unexpected ways can fuel your divergent thinking. But they need space, time and inspiration to emerge.
Choose Imaginative Spaces
Sometimes you just gotta change it up. Nature is a great canvas for imaginative musings. If you are city bound, walking through a quiet museum or park can help. For goodness sake, even taking a 30 minute walk outside can break your analysis paralysis.
So why don’t more people do this? They buy into the ‘insanely busy is productive’ trap. Take a break from your screens.
Manage Your Energy-Forget Time Management
There is never enough time for doing it all. Give up trying to manage time. Manage where you place your attention and energy. Schedule your priorities and be sure to include opportunities for thinking and reflection.
Why don’t people do this? Technology reinforces reactive impulses. That dopamine hit you get when you engage social media or the hours of email volleyball you play are nuggets of ego validation…”I’m needed” they say.
When do you get your best ideas? Chances are they aren’t coming fast and furiously with you diligently glued to your screens.
Buzzed screen tending isn’t thinking.
Assign Your Muse To Divergent Thinking
Fire up your imagination. Here is a short list of things that inspire mine:
- Talk to people who aren’t like you. Ask them about an experience they had that changed them, or, what are they are proud of? What are their fondest memories from growing up? Being curious about someone’s lived experience can open new perspectives for you. Different perspectives are a key to divergent thinking.
- Try something new. I took Taiko drumming lessons. They connected my body to my brain and bypassed my default self consciousness. New experiences can cultivate the self confidence you need to be open to divergent thinking.
- Use metaphors for inspiration. The photo in this blog piece inspired me. Look at the frustration on the little guy’s face, look at him pulling his hair trying to cram all the information in…even the uniform of his jacket broadcasts this stuff is serious.5 year olds are consummate divergent thinkers. They possess genius level creativity that we systematically drum out of them by insisting they regurgitate information instead of creating experiences that help them to learn by doing.
- And that’s my last suggestion: learn by doing something different. Don’t wait for perfect. Ask yourself, what can I learn by taking one step and trying it? Failure is a terrific teacher.