Challenge the status quo … regularly!

Let’s put our imagination to good use …


Lesson SIX

My mind is in a constant “state of war” … and so too is yours.

We all do it.

We imagine the way we wish things had played out.

We imagine conversations and scenarios.

We imagine things we wished were true.

Our imaginations are extremely powerful … what if we could channel that creativity into positive outcomes by challenging everything that exists in our lives?


When we ask “why?”, we are often asking the more specific question . . . “Is this the only way to do something?”



The drive to IKEA

I decided to build my Mom a new kitchen, and I love the ease of dealing with Ikea.

(I actually wrote this lesson on a break building Mom’s kitchen LOL)

Mom’s kitchen halfway mark

I’m pretty handy with tools, so I measured everything up, went online and saw the options, and designed and priced all the cabinetry and stone tops from IKEA.

On the way there, I decided to channel some of my thoughts to the question:

WHY am I buying the kitchen at Ikea?”

I turned off the road into an industrial estate to look for kitchen suppliers. By chance, I saw a stone mason’s workshop, so I stopped and spoke to the owner. He told me that there were better quality and cheaper options “fully assembled”.

I SAVED MORE THAN $4,000, and the job took several days less to complete.



The train seat

WHY do I always sit right up the front of the front carriage of the train?

It’s a 45-minute train commute to work and back for me most days. The front carriage typically gets less crowded, so I usually sit there. I got to know all the regulars in the front carriage over the years. I’ve made friends and a great business contact also … hmmmm.

Two years later, I know virtually every regular commuter on my route. I’ve made several great friendships and added nearly a half-million turnover per annum to my business.

To this day, I always move from carriage to carriage to meet new regular commuters.



The beach walk

We are fortunate to live near the beach.

Whenever the weather is suitable, my partner and I will make the 600-yard bushwalk to the beach early in the mornings to get the day off to a good start.

WHY walk to the beach?”

We decided to try a different route and found ourselves facing a rather steep and difficult climb. By the time we got to the beach … we really did need a swim LOL.

The more difficult route, and the extra exercise we got because of it, became part of our much-loved morning routine in summer.


Try this with the kids some day …


Child’s play

Why are the plates we eat off round?

(Here we are really asking: “is round the only shape that plates can be?”)

Somebody has already thought about square plates and rectangular plates, but what if we explore the shape and use of plates further? For example:

  • Plates with an elevated platform for sauces and condiments;
  • Plates in the shape of letters of the alphabet or numbers;
  • Plates in the shape of cars or toys that children love;
  • Plates with holders for your cutlery;
  • Plates that glow in the dark;
  • Plates that weigh the food that you eat;
  • Plates with a video screen at the bottom encouraging kids to eat all their food so they can watch their program at the dinner table;
  • Plates that retain or promote heat or cold;
  • Soup bowls with magnetic stirrers;
  • Plates or bowls with a special message that is revealed when you eat it like “Marry me?”, “You’re FIRED!” “I love you Mum and Dad (but I’m PREGNANT!)”, Dad, I PRANGED the car!”;
  • Plates that play music or entertain;
  • Plates with lateral thinking lessons printed on them.

(See: “Lateral thinking games and activities for kids”)

There are NO stupid questions when you come to think of it, only stupid answers. For example, a stupid answer might be “that’s a stupid question!”

Sooooo … the next time your imagination takes you somewhere strange and unproductive (LOL), why not instead use the moment to question “why” you are doing whatever it is you are doing?

Challenge everything … ask “WHY?”

(Applicable for every moment of every day)



Your imagination is powerfully engaged with you during most of your day.

Engage it to challenge everything … your thoughts, your conversations, and your actions.

Make it a habit: Focus idle thoughts on potential positives.


Should you challenge things that are working well?

Escape dominant Thinking

Lateral thinking tool to escape dominant thinking

 … without going “against the flow”


That’s all for today folks. Please remember to discuss what you have learned here with others to reinforce your learning, understanding, and to develop neural pathways of good habits.


You should be hugely confident to discuss the six following subjects (because I know you are doing the lessons in the order in which they were designed LOL):

  1. Our education and life experiences can often lead to a “blinkered” viewpoint;
  2. Random starting points (or random entry points) are a lateral thinking tool (or skill) that can be easily learned and used to break the shackles of our blinkered thinking;
  3. Creative thinking is merely the combining of two or more ideas/things that haven’t been combined/considered before;
  4. Considering the viewpoints or perspectives of others is an effective tool for creating alternatives;
  5. Provocation is a great way to start new thinking; and
  6. Challenging the status quo by asking “why?” is an excellent lateral thinking tool of creativity and a great introduction to lateral thinking creativity for kids;


Don’t forget to contact me if you have any problems or questions. And please share any interesting experiences you have when you ask the question “why?”

Go to lesson 7

Escape dominant thinking


Check out the concise definition: What is lateral thinking?

 – – – – –

For the complete lateral thinking menuClick here

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Classic lateral thinking examples

These free lateral thinking lessons are brought to you by Michael Muxworthy

Michael Muxworthy Sci-fi Novel
Coming soon – Michael Muxworthy

2 thoughts on “6. Challenge assumptions

  1. Funny this reminds me of that crazy scientist, Julius Sumner Miller, who had a science TV show way back, who’s always pose the question “Why is it so”. I’m looking forward to challenging the “why”, especially with my two boys.


    1. Asking “why” is an attribute often attributed to children. It comes naturally to them. Sometimes, often, we adults stop asking “why”. We tend to accept the status quo. You can learn much from a child’s curiosity,


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