Friday, March 8, 2013

Fork in the Road: Challenges Shifted to Opportunities Through Creative Thinking

Fork in the Road: Challenges Shifted to Opportunities Through Creative Thinking

Have you ever stood quite literally at a fork in the road unable to make a decision of which way to go?  Metaphorically speaking, we have all been there.  How many times have you said to yourself “this is the only way”?  How many times have you stood there (metaphorically speaking) staring in a stumped daze unable to come up with any solution?  Or even an idea for a possible solution?  You feel like every possible option was exhausted and yet there are the forks.   It appears that every path has a granite boulder right smack dab in the middle of it.  And you are thinking, “now what?”

At one point or another, we will all come to the proverbial fork in the road and have a choice. A choice of which direction we will travel. A choice in whether we will grow or remain stagnant no longer expanded into the infinite Universe.  We all face them. We all go through them. 

If you are anything like me, you have often craved for a neon sign that would embark the knowledge of which direction to follow.  So many times we face these choices, these forks in the road, and simply wish for a quick, fast moving transition to hurry up and learn the lesson so that we can get to the next agenda item.  
Why is making a choice so difficult?  Fear?  Repeating an old story?  Old patterns?   The pressure of having to make these choices can become so overwhelming that inevitably we make no choice at all.  How do you make a choice of which fork to take without the impressing exhaustion of choice?

Here are some techniques that can help shift your perceptions which may in fact open your thought process up to some new choices.  Opening your mind may in fact reveal that there is many more options that you even imagined.  Allowing your mind to open to creative solutions starts the process of discovery.

1. Write the problem out in black and white in a simple statement.  Writing things out on paper often times is the catalyst to shifting perceptions.  It takes on a new energy when it leaves the mind and finds its way to the paper.  

2. Identify what the imprint of each choice may be.  Who else is affected by the choices?  What else is affected (emotions, pocketbook, etc.)?  By examining the parties involved it eliminates much of the fear and gives you a foundation to work from in determining which fork to take.

3. What assumptions are you making about each choice?  Write them down on the paper.  Here is where you can see if there are valid thoughts or simply your own fears.  Many times the assumptions are clouding our views.

4. What are the parts of the choice?  When we look at choices from a smaller point of view sometimes the choices shift.  Looking at the issue, now write out in a new column what are at least three simple solutions for different aspects of the issue.  Allow yourself to be creative in your simple solutions – even if it does not seem possible at the moment.  (example if emotion affected by choice – what is a solution for that part of the issue or finances being affected – what could shift the finances so that it is not part of the issue or choice)

5. Take your solutions and talk to a soul partner about them.  Getting a completely objective perspective sometimes reveals vistas that could not be seen before.

6. Be patient.  Remember that as long as you persevere in your quest, there is opportunity for a new solution to present itself.

For those who have difficult in visualizing the creative solution, try writing the first word that comes to your mind surrounding the choice in the middle of a page.  Put a circle around it.  Follow suit with each of the questions above by putting the various answers in circles coming off the original circle.  Remember, in this exercise you are using one word answers.  Allow as many circles to be created until you have the “ah ha” moment that comes with seeing a new perspective.

The solutions to most of our choices and challenges are simple in nature; it just takes a bit of creative thinking, some planning, and a plan of action to shift them from challenges to opportunities.