Day 12 – Free lateral thinking and creativity lesson

Welcome back, I’m glad to see that you’ve made it this far.

Today’s lesson is one that you will use every single day if you commit this simple discipline to memory, to heart, to habit. It is particularly useful in business or keeping those life-changing goals on track.

This simple 4 step problem-solving technique is equally effective when used alone or when working through problems with others.

FOUR QUESTIONS TO ANSWER…

Step ONE:       What is the REAL problem?

Step TWO:      What is the cause, (or causes), of the problem?

Step THREE:   What are the possible solutions?

Step FOUR:     What is the BEST possible solution?

Let’s look at a simple practical problem (and one that I actually faced recently) . . .

LET’S LOOK AT THIS

Dissecting debt

My friend Joe (not his/her real name) came to me for help and advice. He told me that he was well behind on his home repayments. We are good friends, he has helped me in the past, so, I agree to do what I can within reason.

Now Joe needs money, but whether I have any funds available or not, the greatest help I can give my friend is the sort of help that fixes the problem . . . permanently, (with as little or no borrowing from me as possible).

What then, is the real problem?

After some further investigation, I determined that:

Joe’s income is less than what he spends which has put him into financial difficulty over time with numerous loans either in default or substantially in arrears. Penalties for late payments are exacerbating the problem.

What are the causes of this problem?

Once again, a little investigation is required. I determined that:

  • Joe’s girlfriend left him some time ago and he has had to manage household expenses on a single income for some time;
  • Joe had faced a period of depression after his partner had left him during which time he became careless with his finances and spent recklessly;
  • His job has had a substantial amount of overtime available in the past, but that has dried up recently;
  • Joe’s health has been a problem of late, and proven to be quite an expensive and unexpected burden;
  • Government taxes and rates have recently been raised;
  • There has been a spike in utility prices further exacerbating the financial grief caused when his girlfriend left;
  • Joe has borrowed at short-term and high-interest rates to cover his loan arrears causing the overall situation to spiral out of control;
  • Joe is not managing the situation well. He seems highly depressed and has no confidence in his ability to retrieve the situation.

What are the possible solutions to this problem?

At this point, Joe and I went for a quiet drink at a local bar. I took a pad and pen with me. A few relaxing drinks later (drinking is NOT part of the solution. My friend and I often share a drink socially though) I said to Joe that I was confident that his situation could be salvaged and that I would help him turn things around, but first we needed to instigate the four-step problem-solving technique which he agreed to do enthusiastically. What we came up with were:

  • Getting a possible flatmate for Joe to share utility costs and contribute some rent;
  • Joe could move out and rent the property and stay with his parents until on top of the situation. The property would need some work done before it would be suitable for renting though;
  • Joe could get a second job/additional income, something that appealed to him substantially as he was accustomed to working long hours;
  • Joe could approach his employer and explain his financial situation and his attempts to turn it around. The employer may be able to help with extra hours, a pay rise, or help Joe manage his work expenses better;
  • Joe could consolidate his credit cards and loans and re-finance, taking advantage of the much lower interest rates from the bank. At least he could get one additional loan over a longer repayment period to soften the blow;
  • I could give Joe a small amount of short-term financial assistance;
  • Joe could ask parents and other friends for a small amount of help also;
  • Joe could take a much more positive and pro-active role in his situation and keep his over-heads down more diligently; and
  • Joe could approach the bank, other finance providers, and utility providers and explain his situation so that he gets some payment relief or at least reduces future penalties for late payments.

What is the best possible solution, or solutions, to Joe’s financial dilemma?

Joe and I decided on a multi-pronged attack on his problem. I was extremely reluctant to provide funds for a lost cause. However, Joe enthusiastically agreed with the solution devised and I was confident it would work:

  • I helped Joe pay his immediate utility bills. It was imperative to keep the power and gas on;
  • Joe put an advertisement on the internet for a flatmate while we sat at the bar discussing his situation and almost immediately he got an excellent response, the person actually moved in the next day;
  • Joe went to his employer and explained his situation. The employer offered Joe a guaranteed 2 hours per week overtime to help out;
  • Joe went to the bank, explained his situation, and also explained the strategy he had in mind to get out of financial difficulty. The bank saw merit in his plan, paid out ALL his miscellaneous debts, and merged them with his home loan. Not only did his payments NOT increase, the bank offered to extend the home loan an additional 5 years longer and his repayments were substantially reduced.

Joe was able to repay me the money that I had given to him to pay his immediate utility bills in only 4 weeks!!

Now, I have to say that I believe that if I had not used this 4 step problem-solving technique, things may not have gone so well. The likely outcome would have been:

  • Joe’s depression would not have allowed him to see that he was able to retrieve the situation;
  • I would have felt very badly because I probably would have decided that loaning Joe money was a bad investment;
  • Joe would have lost everything.

These four simple provocative questions should be considered for EVERY significant or important problem you face for the rest of your life.

The creativity of your solutions is only limited by your mutual imagination.

Further, YOU should use this technique to resolve conflict, problems at work, relationship issues etc, etc. Let others in on what process you are undertaking, and INVOLVE them in the process.

Take control of your problems and also help others to do the same. Show off your now highly-valued leadership using this technique.

CREATING NEURAL PATHWAYS

That’s it for today. Don’t forget, we are trying to establish neural pathways of habit. The way to do this successfully is to use and practice the methods you have learned. You should share what you have learned with others, especially with people you care about.

Now is a good time to share this website with ALL your friends, work colleagues, family, and social media contacts. Why? Because YOU will become interactive in the use of these skills with those around you, firmly establishing them in your repertoire of life-skills.

YOUR LEARNING JOURNEY PROGRESS

A quick review of what you have learned so far . . .

Three things you now understand about the creative process are:

  1. Creative thinking is merely the combining of two or more ideas that haven’t been combined/considered before;
  2. Our education and life experiences can often lead to a “blinkered” viewpoint; and
  3. Never be afraid to defy the experts. Experts are often reduced to being cogs stuck in the machinery of their own expertise.

Creative thinking/lateral thinking and management skills that you can now use are:

  1. Random starting points;
  2. Considering the viewpoints/perspectives of others;
  3. Challenging the status quo by asking “why?”
  4. Look off the path of dominant thinking;
  5. Backwards planning for achieving goals;
  6. Setting goals of passion;
  7. Creative speaking;
  8. Creative combinations; and
  9. The four-step problem-solving technique.

Preparation for Lesson 14

Creative memory technique

Yesterday, I asked that you firmly entrench numbered rhymes into your memory. Have you done so? it is very important that you do so to be able to complete the course and retain the benefits. Next, we are going to put permanent imagery to be associated with each numbered rhyme.

In each case, you should close your eyes and imagine what I describe including your own detail and improvisation. The MORE detail and improvisation input from your imagination, the more powerful this memory technique.

One – run.

You are at the Olympics sitting at the stadium. You are sitting at the back. Below you, you can see the oval that the athletes are about to race around on a 400-meter sprint. You hear the starter’s pistol go off “bang!” The crowd around the stadium begins cheering and standing with the excitement. You are forced to stand to see the action, but when you get to look down from your position at the back over the top of the cheering crowd, instead of athletes running around the track, all you see is “the object”.

Close your eyes and visualize this now.

Two – zoo.

You’re at a huge but very old zoo. As you reach the monkey cage, there is a hole in the wall with bars to let you see the action. Inside the monkey caged area is a huge tree with no leaves on it for the monkeys to play on. There are lot’s of people at the zoo, so many that you can’t see the monkeys because so many people are standing in front of you. Gradually, you move closer to the front. The tree is now in plain view, but instead of monkeys hanging from the tree, you see “the object”.

Close your eyes and visualize this now.

Three – tree.

There is a huge Christmas tree in front of City Hall, and you’ve made a special trip into the heart of town to see it. The decorations each year just get better and better. This year, you turn up and you’re not disappointed, the tree is glorious in color and imagination. As you look at the top of the tree, you are completely surprised. Instead of the “Star of David”, you see “the object”.

Close your eyes and visualize this now.

Four – door.

Do you remember the front door to a memorable childhood home? Do you remember the sanctuary it afforded? Can you remember the joy of being greeted by a parent or guardian? Imagine that you are that child living in that home once more. You arrive home, open the door, but to your complete surprise, instead of who might normally greet you, instead there sits “the object”.

Close your eyes and visualize this now.

Five – hive.

Imagine walking along a bush track. You can imagine being alone or with a friend, and you can be any age you choose. This bush track has a lot of plants growing into the path, so you are using a long stick/branch you’ve found to help push them out of your way as you progress. Suddenly, you come across a beehive. You hit the beehive with the stick and it falls to the ground, breaking open. You are about to run for your life as you expect a swarm of angry bees, but instead, the only thing inside the beehive is “the object”.

Close your eyes and visualize this now.

Six – sick (Six to Ten we will do tomorrow)

Seven – Heaven

Eight – gate

Nine – wine

Ten – den

It will make sense on the day, you should trust me on that point. Ha!

CREATING NEURAL PATHWAYS

Please remember to discuss, share, practice and teach what you have learned here.

FEEDBACK AND SUPPORT

Please feel free to contact me should you be needing clarification or assistance with anything. There is absolutely NO CHARGE. Please share your experiences using the comment section below.

See you tomorrow.


ARTISTIC LICENCE 

Why do I employ “artistic license” in telling the story about the last surviving witness to the Roswell incident?

When I unexpectedly met a witness to the alien UFO encounter at Roswell, it started me on a journey of discovery.

If I were to tell you that the rabbit hole over there leads to “Wonderland”, you’d think I was crazy. However, if instead, I took you on the same journey that leads to my belief that the rabbit hole is, in fact, some sort of gateway to Wonderland, you at least can understand my belief, and you may even accept that belief.

Roswell’s Final Witness replicates my personal journey of discovery as closely as I can replicate it. When you read the novel you will understand that some reputations are at stake, some very serious accusations are made, and some highly controversial content is put out there. I could spend the rest of my life in the courtroom, or . . .

Roswell’s Final Witness is nearing completion.

Michael Muxworthy – Author

Lateral Thinking Investigations . . . of the Third Kind

The final witness to Roswell
“We should never have trusted the aliens” – Roswell’s Final Witness

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

 

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