People who refer to out-of-the-box see the box … People who don’t know the box even exists are the innovative thinkers.Lisa Goldenberg
Your company downsizes and you get “let go” (oh no!). Over the next few months, you apply for every job imaginable, but the economy’s bad and no one’s hiring, and your bills are all overdue. (Hey, it happens more often than you might think!)
You need groceries, so you decide to take things into your own hands.
You decide to open Microsoft Word, try to write a book, and upload it to sell on the Amazon Kindle store to earn some quick cash. And in case that doesn’t work out, you’ll also create a useful product that you can make yourself (to save money) that solves a problem people have.
So you sit down, open your document to start brainstorming some ideas for what to write about and what to create………
You’ve let your creative thinking skills atrophy! You have forgotten how to be creative. You can’t even begin to think of one topic to write down!
It seems you’ve spent the last 15 years “going with the flow”, mindlessly going to work, coming home, watching TV, going to bed, getting up, and doing it all over again, with a few trips and get-togethers with friends and family thrown in.
But you know what?
Anyone, at any age, can improve their creative thinking skills. Lots of scientific studies say so.
The fun way to start improving your creative thinking skills is to use games.
Creative thinking games are effective, and best of all, they’re fun.
What’s a Creative Thinker, Anyway?
To give you the most entertaining and effective creative thinking games, I researched the main qualities that the top creative thinkers throughout history have had in common.
Once you know what traits to pursue to be a creative thinker, you can pick and choose the games that will develop your skills in the areas in which you’re a little lacking….
Creative Thinkers tend to:
See Things in Different, Unique Ways
Be Open-Minded / Not Judgmental / Accepting and Observing
Be Able to Adapt to Almost any Situation that Arises
Make Do with What They Have or Can Get
Ability to Focus Their Minds and Stay with a Task for a Long Time
They’re Often Smart, but are Somewhat Mentally and Emotionally Immature
Ability to Do Divergent Thinking – which is thinking that has no agreed-upon solution.
But they have convergent (rational) thinking skills, too, such as being able to tell a bad idea from a good idea.
Able to Generate a Large Number of Various Ideas.
Cognitively Flexible. Able to switch from one viewpoint to another.
Able to Choose an Unusual Association of Ideas.
Combine playfulness and discipline, or mix responsibility with irresponsibility.
They see reality as it is now, but they are also able to see a fantasy world – a world where things could be much different.
They generally don’t conform to typical gender stereotypes.
Creative girls are more dominant and tough than what society thinks girls should be, and creative boys and men can be more in touch with their feminine side.
They aren’t afraid to break the roles of society’s traditions.
Tend to be Sensitive and Passionate.
From Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.
Let’s get to the games…
In the list below, I’ve included the specific trait or area of thinking that that particular game will work to improve (along with any scientific studies showing that it works).
And to get the most out of this article, don’t just read it – make a promise to yourself that you’ll actually do one.
Of course, doing one game on one day isn’t going to do much for you, so try to pick at least one of these exercises and practice it every day, 5 days a week, for at least a month.