While listening to a training disc recently, it came to mind that we use fulcrums throughout our lives for work and play, like children on a playground having fun on a “see saw” and like carpenters using fulcrums to pull nails.
The power is determined by the placement of the pivot and its relationship to the handle, and its length.
There are mental pivots, or fulcrums, that help us do tasks, or help relationships to be more fun, deeper, effective and productive.
When I was in elementary school, I didn't enjoy memorizing my “times tables”, but little did I know how much I would use them later. This is a simple example of a fulcrum when used later in life would give me the power to determine if there were enough chairs in a room to accommodate participants for an important meeting.
I thank Mr. Powers, my shop teacher, for placing another powerful fulcrum in my tool box. This tool helped to get my creative juices flowing.
During the first week of classes, Mr. Powers gave us a plain white sheet of paper and directed us to scribble on it by making swirling and straight lines covering the page. Next we were to select three shapes within the scribbles, and shade them in. Then we were to scale up or down in size the shape as we transferred it onto graphing paper. Finally, we were to cut out the resulting shape and use it as a pattern to create a wooden ornament for a necklace.
I didn't understand until much later: he was actually teaching a process to prompt and actualize creativity and problem solving, especially when you’re stuck and don’t know where to begin.
Using a simple and playful device gives your brain a rest and frees it from circling a problem over and over again.
Years later, I read a book titled, A Whack On The Side Of the Head by Roger von Oech, Ph.D (Warner 1983). The book’s focus is the process of recognizing how to remove roadblocks to creativity, and inspire problem solving and innovation.
I have reviewed this book a dozen times or more since first reading it. I’m reminded to not be too serious and to be playful with ideas. It suggests that you put yourself in mentally stimulating situations and look for different points of view. Also, you can learn to remove roadblocks to creativity, and discover ways to inspire innovation.
Go ahead, attempt some mental pivots. Ask yourself a few questions: If I were (name), what would I do?” “If I only had a day/week to get this done what would I do?” “The last time I was creative, I felt ______ resulting in _______.”.
Do your answers prompt innovative ways to think and discover?
What are a few things that empower, excite and refresh you? Be intentional. Use them TODAY.
- Be intentional, and open to serendipity.
- Pursue an unorthodox approach.
- Expect innovative thoughts.
- Prompt the process: scribble and color shapes, bounce a ball, make and launch a paper airplane, vacuum a floor, mow the lawn, or read something unrelated.
- Take a walk (Philosopher Francis Schaffer walked back and forth thinking and listening until his floor had a worn path in it).
- Browse in a library.
- Respect and record your ideas.
- Talk to someone about the topic. Listen for emotions, not only content. Ask why they feel strongly. Positives or negatives provide a broader perspective.
Each of these ideas will provide a new angle of view, clarity, and more questions.