You must release judgement to step into the murky complexity that creative thinking will give you… to step out of your comfort zone and into where the magic happens. These 3 releases for good ideas will keep you going.
By judgement, here I mean that instant categorisation into compartments and boxes that we all do when confronted with information. Is it good/bad, useful/not, right/wrong.
This kind of pattern-led thinking, or thinking fast as Daniel Kahneman (link) would say, is very useful for driving towards expected outcomes and navigating known spaces. However, its high-speed, binary categorisation does not allow any complexity or detail to emerge.
Creative thinking can often hinge on detail: the tiniest difference in detail can result in enormous differences in outcomes.
So how do you switch off your judgement? That completely human, utilitarian survival mechanism of our intelligence? Try these THREE techniques.
Notice and acknowledge that you do it and are doing it. Become mindful of your tendency to judge things as they emerge, defining and therefore limiting them. Observe it, see where it goes, notice the patterns.
You’ll find that, once you’ve noticed this tendency, its very hard to NOT see it happening. This awareness creates a pause… a split second where you can slow down and observe what else might be going on, delaying that categorisation and possibly eliminating it.
The more you practice, the more time you’ll have and the less you will be prone to just stuffing things into a box before allowing their other properties to emerge and be seen.
Make a point of exposing yourself to things you have little to no knowledge of… where you really can have no opinion. There I a lot of uncertainty in brand new information with no connection to yourself.
You will find yourself reaching for commonalities, links and features that can be teased out. In short, you will automatically seek an answer, to understand what you are seeing… so that you can form an opinion.
By stretching, you get used to stepping into the unknown, into uncertainty. These pattern free spaces will train you to not immediately assume there IS a pattern and therefore blocks the urge to judge.
Instead of always seeking uncertainty in your life, admit to uncertainty… admit that you don’t actually know, ask questions. Adult humans are bad at admitting to what they do not know, assuming that, as a mature being, you should know the answers. But there is too much information out there for any one person to know all about everything. So just admit it, so I don’t know, ask for help… just the act of asking opens the gates to new information so that it can be examined.
Instead of categorising ask, HOW do they do that? WHY do they do it or do it that way? Can I learn to think that/do that?
IN another biological evolutionary quirk, by admitting ignorance, we often ignite curiosity… and when you ask a human a question, they will always seek an answer, and to find that answer we must flick out of rational, conscious thinking and sink into slower, deeper recesses of our brains to connect and create answers… the complete opposite of quick, pattern-based thinking.
Release your judgement and take your time to discover the complexity and uncertainty of the world, and by doing so you will discover many new and fascinating points of view and situations.
You’ll be so glad you did.
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