Routine. A quick check in an online dictionary describes it as “a prescribed, detailed course of action to be followed regularly; a standard procedure” (http://www.thefreedictionary.com).
We may be in this state without even knowing it. Getting up the same time each day, fixing the same breakfast, going to work the same way, getting caught up in the daily grind, doing our best to meet deadlines with no room to do anything different.
If not checked, routine breeds monotony. It is like falling into a rut and finding no motivation to get out of it. Stay too long in it, and you will lose the impulse, knack or desire to go that one extra step that moves you ahead of the game. The reason is because routine gives you a sense of comfort and predictability.
And when trying to think up new ideas or do something new, staying in routine is like a self-imposed mental and emotional prison that stops you from even taking the first step.
But you’re holding yourself back if you get too caught up in routine. Not breaking free and embracing some change can sometimes leave you far behind.
I got these amusing images in my email. You’ve probably seen them before too.
Have a look at the answers given to some test questions. The students were of course “not wrong”. Although they may have scored “zero” for a test on knowledge, I think they still scored top marks for creative and “not wrong” answers.
Looking from a different perspective, were they really “wrong”?.
I know what you are thinking: they were being tested for their knowledge and grasp of the subject, so they should have given the answers expected to prove it. I do not disagree with this, because they are in an institution to learn and a form of assessment is required from time to time to gauge their knowledge.
Here’s a few great quotes that underline the importance of Ideas. Hope you enjoy reading them:
“Nearly every man who develops an idea works it up to the point where it looks impossible, and then he gets discouraged. That’s not the place to become discouraged.” – Thomas Edison
“If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.” – George Bernard Shaw
An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all. – Oscar Wilde
Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success, that is way great spiritual giants are produced. – Swami Vivekananda
An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea. – Buddha
Good ideas are common – what’s uncommon are people who’ll work hard enough to bring them about. – Ashleigh Brilliant
The catalyst to creative ideas is divergent thinking. This is opposite of linear thinking, which is our usual habit when facing a problem and thinking up solutions. By linear I mean thinking that A leads to B and to C and so on. Like thinking there is only one use for a paper clip for example, and we don’t consider other possibilities. Did you know how a paper clip could help one man obtain a new house? (More of this story here).
Divergent thinking makes you think up several possibilities from a single idea. To do this you need to broaden your view and hold back logic and assumptions. You need to consider ALL possibilities, no matter how remote, weird, wacky or crazy they may sound. This is the essence of what lateral thinking is all about, as coined by Ed De Bono.
“Thinking” is not a monopoly of a few: anyone can do it. Yeah it sounds like a cliché, but this is the only tool you need to start being more creative. Continue reading →
Reward bad ideas? How’s that for a way to think in reverse? 🙂
This is one of the most common questions I receive from participants at my workshops and also from companies.
Let’s face it: bad ideas are a dime a dozen and there’s so many of them. Let’s just say, “anyone can make them”. But is it useful to continue encouraging them? Well I think we should!
The simple reason is that it takes the creation of many new ideas before we hit upon that one great or brilliant one. And not rewarding staff for coming up with new ideas, is to kill off their enthusiasm at the early stage.
I came across this article that delves more into this subject and provides a few reasons we should reward bad ideas. After reading, feel free to share what you think.