Life Mentoring Class on creativity; August 17, 2021

When was the last time you came up with a creative idea? This morning, yesterday, last week, last month, last year?

What motivates you to be creative?

Creative Thinking requires knowledge of all kinds of things, but knowledge alone is not enough. The real key to creative thinking is what you do with your knowledge.

Creative thinking requires an outlook that allows you to search for ideas and play with your knowledge and experience. With this outlook, you try different approaches, first one, then another, often not getting anywhere. You use crazy, foolish and impractical ideas as steppingstones to practical new ideas. You break the rules occasionally and explore for ideas in unusual outside places. And in the end, your creative outlook enables you to come up with new ideas.

Creative thinking may simply mean the realization that there is no particular virtue in doing things the way they have always been done. Rudolph Flesch, Educator

Examples of people who used this type of thinking to create new ideas.

  1. Johann Gutenberg. What he did was to combine two previously unconnected ideas: the wine press and the coin punch. He asked himself, “what if I took a bunch of these coin punches and put them under the force of the wine press so that they left their image on paper?” The resulting combination was the printing press and movable type.
  2. One day Pablo Picasso went outside his house and found an old bicycle. He looked at it for a little bit and took off the seat and the handlebars. Then he welded them together to create the head of a bull.

Creative thinking is not reserved for artists only. You can be creative no matter your profession. Look at what Bill Gates, Steven Jobs, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Albert Einstein, etc. have achieved in their fields.


Exercise: The old king and his sons……………….

Discovery consists of looking at the same thing as everyone else and thinking something different.

1. What is this figure? What do you see in it?

2. Shown below is a roman numerical nine. By adding a single line, turn it into a 6


Mental Locks:
There are ten mental locks in particular that are especially to our creative thinking process.

  1. The Right Answer
  2. That’s Not Logical
  3. Follow the Rules
  4. Be Practical
  5. Play is Frivolous
  6. That’s Not My Area
  7. Don’t Be Foolish
  8. Avoid Ambiguity
  9. To Err is Wrong
  10. I’m Not Creative

How do we open the mental lock? You need to become aware of them and then to temporarily them when you are trying to generate new ideas.

This short story might help. Zen master and his student

Conclusion: we need the ability to unlearn what we know.

Children enter school as question marks and come out as periods. Neil Postman, Educator

School teacher and the coloring assignment.

Nothing is more dangerous than an idea when it’s the only one we have. The best way to get a good idea is to get a lot of ideas.

Story of the Sufi judge…..
Moral: Truth is all around you, what matters is where you place your focus. What is the meaning of life?

If you don’t ask, “why this?” often enough, somebody will ask, “why you”?

Does this configuration look familiar?


Share the story…………

Ask what ifquestions to stimulate your creative process:

Asking “what if” is an easy but powerful way to get your imagination going. “What if” questions can be whatever you wish. The nice thing about “what iffing” is that it allows you to suspend a few assumptions and get into an imaginative frame of mind. That’s what Einstein did when he came up with the theory of relativity. He went against the “popular belief.”

Here are some what if questions:

  • What if animals are more intelligent than human beings?
  • What is men also have babies?
  • What if pigs had wings?
  • What if real estate prices double in one year?
  • What if RE prices declined by 50%?
  • What if we elected our officials by lottery?
  • What if human life expectancy was 250 years?
  • What if we have to live on Mars in 30 years?
  • What if there were five sexes?
  • What if people didn’t need to sleep?
  • What if trees developed the ability to move themselves up to 10 meters a day?
  • What if we had seven fingers on each hand, with two opposing thumbs?

There’s so much more to cover, but I think it’s good enough for now.

Feel free to reach out to us with any questions or comments.

Sam Sadat

Some content and presentation were based on the bestselling book: A Whack on the Side of the Head by Roger Von Oech