If you are looking for new ways to refine your problem solving abilities, take a moment to explore the tips referenced below for some strategies that many historical artists and inventors have employed to fine tune their thinking skills:
View the problem from a new angle: Upon first analyzing a problem, we can sometimes be affected by our mood or a recent conversation. Wait a few hours and revisit the problem. By looking at the problem from a fresh perspective, you can find new solutions that may not have been present before.
Visualize the problem using varied methods: Use diagrams, flowcharts, outlines and draw pictures that display a sequence of events. Viewing the problem from many different images can give you multiple ways to think about, and therefore, solve the problem. Be creative! Draw pictures using colors that represent the problem and the ways you visualize solving it.
Be productive in more ways than one: A concept that Thomas Edison called “idea quotas.” By listing many ideas for a solution to a problem, some good and some bad, the more ideas you generate, even if some are merely mediocre, your bad ideas can serve as an opportunity for expansion and a source of genius when you discover that serendipity that improves them.
Combine ideas and/or thoughts: You may discover creative solutions as you take an approach to combine thoughts into different combinations that can be linked to each other in different formats. In much the same way that math and science were combined to create biology and chemistry, learning to tie in concepts with ideas that you may have gleaned from previous class will help you to view the problem solution in new and inventive ways.
Use metaphors and symbols to represent your ideas where possible: When you can relate an idea to an image or symbol that resonates with you, the concept will stand out more as it continues to be something of interest that you can relate to.
See failure as an opportunity: Rather than worry over not solving it the first time, learn from the experience and see it as a stepping stone for getting it right the next time.
Have patience: Believe that by being patient and persistent, ideas will flow fluently, leading you to the right solution. When in doubt, take frequent breaks if you find that your patience is wearing thin.
By tapping into parts of your brain and using strategies that you may not use on a regular basis, you will strengthen your thinking to approach a problem from many different angles which will lead you to solutions and new discoveries, the stuff that geniuses are made of! For more information on this topic, please click here.