Stimulate Your Creative Thinking

I was emailed recently by a friend who had worked with me many years ago. He asked the question

“What do you do to stimulate your creative thinking?”

It’s a good question – we all need to solve problems, create new marketing ideas, find new ways to do business and live life creatively.

For me personally it happens in a number of ways:

Reading, Listening and Watching

I find that I can watch a movie, listen to a speaker or a respected colleague, read articles and books that inspire me and get ideas. It may only be a word, quote or action that stimulates my thinking.

Key: Be alert and open – always jot down what came to mind so you don’t forget.

Scheduled Thinking Time

There are times I’m pushed every moment of the day and find it’s important whenever I can to schedule time to think things through clearly. To be honest, I can’t sit down and spend 30 minutes with a blank piece of paper, but I can think through an issue, an idea that I’ve heard about or look at the notes I’ve made from listening to others. That’s when ideas start to come.

Putting aside ‘Comfort Zone’ Thinking

I don’t want to be risk averse – I want to be open to change. I realise all too well that just doing things for the sake of my own comfort means I become reluctant to change – that should sound alarm bells. Business and technology is changing rapidly, if I just keep the status quo and become complacent I become irrelevant. This applies to products, technology, service industries - in fact the very way we conduct business. If I stop moving ahead and make decisions so I feel safe in my comfort zone, then I begin to die and the business dies with me.

Be Challenged by Others – Good and Bad!

I get challenged by the inability of businesses or Governments today to find solutions and yet years and years ago with limited research capabilities people like Thomas Edison came up with extraordinary innovative solutions that worked. So I say to myself “if these people can do it why can’t we?”

Personally an important part of the process is to ask God who has the greatest ideas of all time. I find reading the Bible and thinking through the ideas and solutions that came to the people throughout history challenges my thinking – I get a wealth of creative ideas this way.

Start your creative juices flowing, be challenged to think and dream big. Big dreams attract big people.

Peter Irvine
Peter is Co-Founder of Gloria Jean’s Coffees, author of "Win In Business", speaker and business consultant.

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