Creative Thinking

creative thinking problem solving think outside the box Jun 06, 2021

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Hello my friends, and welcome to the Discover Your Personal Power Podcast, the show to help you live a life filled with peace, purpose, and power. My goal on this podcast is to give you something fun and meaningful to make your day a little brighter.  I want to help you find your light and your personal power within.  

My name is Peggy Moore and I am a wife and mother of over 30 years, a Nurse for over 20 years a Certified Professional Coach and wellness advocate.  I want you guys to know that I get it. Sometimes being human can be hard.  But the good news is we are in this together.  We all get to choose how we want to show up in this world.  and we can create the life of your dreams. 

Discover Your Personal Power Coaching is a monthly program designed for personal development and self-growth.  We all know how important it is to take care of our bodies. Discover Your Personal Power Coaching is like joining the gym for your mental and emotional health. If you love personal development books and podcasts you are going to love this online coaching program.  You get online videos, a complete colorful 80-page workbook that was just published on Amazon, It has journaling prompts and fun exercises. You will get one-on-one coaching with me and I will help you clearly define your purpose, discover your personal power, and live a life that you want to live.

As I was thinking about this week’s topic, I was struck by a puzzle.  Have any of you ever tried to put a 1,000 or 5,000 piece puzzle together?  Do you organize your pieces by color or shape?  Do you find your corner pieces or put together the outside edges first. When you get stuck, what do you do?  Do you look at the box and see the vision created of what the overall masterpiece should look like? It is nice to have that vision right, as I was thinking about the vision, at first I thought, mmm that is such a great topic.  Having a vision is important.  

 We know that the mind sees what the brain tells it to, if we are in the market for a new house, we will be watching all the houses as we go by determining the best characteristics, the things we like or don’t like. We will ask our friends about their homes, or their builders or their realtors because we are focused on this vision of a new home. 


A vision creates a destination. And I think it expands over time. As we learn more, grow more, and experience more, our vision shifts and can grow with us.  

But, what about when that vision doesn’t work out quite the way we thought it should. I had a vision once of how my life should be.  A big house, a white picket fence, a house where everyone got along and we sang the song while someone played the piano and my kids grew up in the same house from the time they were little till they grew up and left home.  Then they could come back and visit their own bedrooms which of course would be shrines to their childhood.  My children would love one another, be best friends and we would spend holidays together with big meals and lots of laughter.  

That vision shifted as life happened.  The puzzle pieces changed and the picture on the box grew into something more rich and beautiful than I could have ever imagined.  

God had a plan for me and it has been full of joy and heartbreak, adventures and craziness. My vision shifted, but my purpose and goals of having a beautiful family where we spend holidays together with big meals and lots of laughter remained and grew stronger.  Love and laugher remain the constant and the most important because those are the chosen values, beliefs and vision, I truly craved.  

Going on a year of Coronavirus restrictions, my vision has changed and evolved even more. I think a huge paradigm shift for all of us has been this global pandemic.  The coronavirus has caused us to think outside of the box and find ways to grapple with this new reality.  

Thinking outside the box 

So today, I want to talk about thinking outside the box.  Using our mind to be creative and achieve our overarching dreams and goals by using a little imagination 

 Our brain is amazing, it is designed to consistently find the most practical solution while investing the least amount of energy.  Our brain is smart and it is hardwired for survival.  The brain’s neural networks carry the acquired information in a given situation to help us act automatically through the use of repetitive unconscious behavior patterns or pathways. This allows the brain to kind of go on autopilot, missing many of the details or what may seem insignificant. 

For example, brushing your teeth, or even more complicated, but still driving a car. Our brain’s efficiency is great for everyday functioning and efficiency, but not so conducive to innovation and imagination.

Research shows us that our individual mental models play a central role in human perception.  What we fundamentally believe about ourselves, what we believe to be true, what we have decided is important to us, what we focus on, is often what our experience will be.

Not only do we underestimate the power of our minds to influence our perceptions, we also undervalue the power we have to change our minds.  We have the capability to rewire our neural pathways with new ways of thinking that will result in behaviors that serve us rather than harm us, both individually and collectively.

It takes a little extra effort, but we can train our brain to alter its well-constructed highways and pathways by practicing taking alternative routes.

Lateral Thinking

Dr. Edward De Bono calls it Lateral Thinking

Lateral thinking is a way of looking at things in a deliberate systematic way to invoke creativity and innovative thinking. Bono says "You cannot dig a hole in a different place by digging the same hole deeper.  

This powerful practice is designed to enable us to approach circumstances from new angles. Its objective is to force the brain to think differently about familiar situations, through the use of exercises that block the well-worn neural pathways from getting activated. 


I went to a Nursing conference a few years back and the keynote speaker was an entrepreneur talking about leadership.  She is the author of the book Scrappy

I love the concept of being scrappy.  She says, 

Scrappy can be defined as “full of fighting spirit.” It is synonymous with having moxie, being feisty, enthusiastic, gutsy, lively, and spunky. The Urban Dictionary puts it a little more bluntly: “A person who is little but can really kick some ass.” I like that one too. The word “scrappy” embodies the mix of all these traits, plus the gumption to take action! To be scrappy is to have the determination of a street fighter, to work smarter, to be willing to work harder when you need to, to take risks, and play big no matter what the obstacles or opposition.  

Being scrappy is thinking outside of the box, finding new ways to be creative, solve problems and enjoy life. 

Just like anything scrappiness, lateral thinking and thinking outside of the box takes practice. It may be uncomfortable at first. Comfort and fear are the main obstacles to overcome as we try to train our brains to see things differently, change our perspectives, and find new and different solutions.  We may fear that we simply are not creative or lack the intelligence to solve this problem. 

I think right now, in a time of chaos and turmoil is the perfect time to get scrappy and think outside of the box. 

When there is a problem, and you just can’t seem to find a solution, it is a perfect time to get scrappy. Oftentimes when we are faced with a large obstacle or challenge, or problem, our brain may go automatically to solutions we have used in the past, but what if these solutions don’t work. Sometimes we may feel like we are banging our heads against the wall.  

David and Goliath.  

In the Biblical story of David and Goliath, a small shepherd boy conquers a giant by slinging a rock at his exposed forehead. We tend to think of David’s victory as a miracle, proof that sometimes if he’s lucky, the weak can beat the strong.

But what if underdog victories have less to do with luck and more to do with the very circumstances we view as disadvantages? In David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell argues that what we assume are disadvantages might actually be advantages, and vice versa.

David wasn’t big and strong.  He didn’t wear armor and he didn’t wield a sword.  That is what the ……. Thought would be needed to slay a giant of Goliath's size. 

David had to be creative.  He had to use his unique skills to slay his opponent.  

Goliath and the philistines laughed at David because David did not have the conventional skills to do what everyone else thought needed to be done.  His lack of conventional skills gave him the advantage because it was creative and unexpected. 

The exceptional Life

Ralph Waldo Emerson said:  The exceptional life depends not on working harder, but on different even opposite actions from habit and the crowd. 

Other times in our lives when we need to stretch our creative skills and think scrappy are those times in our life when there is no immediate need for change or novelty but the change would lead to an improvement. 

Maybe you have a specific goal or challenge to circumvent, most likely with a specific time frame.  Maybe you just feel stuck and want to improve some area of your life.  We should be grateful for all that we have and all that we are, but I think it is human nature to want to improve.  

This is when creative thinking is useful (or necessary), 

As with any change in behavior, it starts with our thoughts, our minds. 

Realizing we can think creatively. We can solve this problem.  We can figure out a solution. 

Our brain likes its set patterns.  We work things out in our brain, with a certain way of thinking, we use ideas that we hold as beliefs and we instinctively go to that thought or idea or pattern.

But what if we were wrong? What if we took a step back and looked at those thoughts more closely.  

Our brain and our ego don’t like to be wrong.  We sometimes engage in a debate or an argument to the detriment of our relationship, or suddenly become this version of us that we don’t want to be, because we hold so tightly to what we think is right and try so desperately to prove it to someone when, yet if we stop and take a step back we’re like, it doesn’t even really matter in the end.

There was a time when well-educated philosophers thought the world was flat, that Pluto was a planet.  


I love the Friends episode where Phoebe and Ross argue about evolution. Ross, being a scientist, explains that he spent his whole life studying evolution and believes it to be a fact.  Phoebe however does not. As Ross, is trying to convince Phoebe with scientific facts, Phoebe says “wasn't there a time when the brightest minds in the world believed that the world was flat? And, up until like what, 50 years ago, you all thought the atom was the smallest thing until you split it open, and this like, whole mess of crap came out. Now, are you telling me that you are so unbelievably arrogant that you can't admit that there's a teeny tiny possibility that you could be wrong about this

Ouch, poor Ross

Open your mind.  I am not saying evolution is fact or fiction, I am just saying if we all would open our minds a little instead of being so stuck on being right, and we could open our life's up to so many more possibilities. 

Open your mind and learn to challenge your beliefs

Learn to challenge your beliefs, your thoughts and you can change your behaviors, you can change your world. 

In order to change our lives and ultimately change our world, we must start by examining our own mental models: our beliefs, assumptions, and expectations about the way the world is and the way things ought to be. We think and act through our mental models. We often forget that we are not victims of our minds or our brains’ hardwiring. We do not have to be trapped in old ways of thinking and acting that undermine our own opportunities for success. 

For example, you don’t have to take things personally or respond defensively to your perception of "tone" in an email. You can choose not to judge someone unfairly based on their appearance alone. And you don’t have to over-react to a situation and respond in a way that you end up regretting. We are not mindless, simply reacting to our environment, rather, we are powerful, able to choose our response to everything we experience. 


The secret behind structured creative thinking is that it gives the brain the resources to learn how to function differently and still get to the desired destination. This won’t happen through procedures that lack a systematic approach, because our mind is hardwired to consistently use the familiar pathways of thought. Only when a change is forcefully and repeatedly induced, the ingrained structural patterns will start getting modified.

There are dozens of exercises within the lateral thinking methodology.  The main objective is always the same: To alter the way in which information is interpreted. 

Then using our brain to come up with ideas, workarounds, unique ideas. 

Do some research, ask questions, look at the problem from different angles. 

We can practice creative thinking. 

 But it may take a little effort. 

 Focus on tools that open your mind to new possibilities in the search for new ideas.  Scrappy people demonstrate intellectual curiosity through action

  • Study another industry
  • Learn about another religion
  • Read a novel in an unfamiliar genre
  • Turn it  upside down
  • Ask a Child

Ask a child.  We had a tsunami drill the other day at the elementary school I work at.  Our beautiful school is actually called the Seaside School because it is literally right beside the China Sea on the little island of Okinawa.  We look at us from one playground to roaring waves and beautiful horizons.  However, sometimes those waves can be tumultuous and create a series of waves called a Tsunami.  These waves could flood our school and cause danger to our students. So once a year we have a Tsunami drill and we march all 200 elementary school students up to the safer and higher ground as a way to prepare should a Tsunami ever be on our way. As I watch these students trekking the mile-long pathway up the hill to higher ground, I love how they find every stick to step on, rock to climb on, you can just see their little minds working, how can I make this more fun, what trouble can I get myself into.  They are using the creative part of their brain to explore and learn about their surroundings and it is refreshing.  Me I just trudge the path. 

  • Invite randomness
  • Exercise or take a shower

If you want something bad enough, you will find a way or you will find an excuse. 

David, a scrawny shepherd boy, could have looked up at the giant Goliath and thought to himself, mmm, this may not be a good idea.  I don’t have any armor, or a sword, I am not overly strong,  Maybe I shouldn’t do this. All I have is a few stones and a slingshot.  

But David got scrappy.  He had a belief in his god and in himself and he didn’t back down when faced with insurmountable odds. 

He found a clever and creative solution and won. 

We all have our own blocks.  The thoughts we tell ourselves why we can’t do something.  We have that vision of that beautiful puzzle and think our life should look a certain way.  We should do things a certain way. 

We have the change the story we tell ourselves, think outside the box, get a little crappy and expand our vision of what could really happen in our life. 

What If...

One of my favorite strategies I learned in my graduate program in counseling was the What if question.  What if  What if you fail…. What if this goes wrong, or what if that goes wrong, I can come up with solutions to all those scenarios in my head.  And then I can say What if I succeed.  We have to fail in order to succeed.  A baby doesn’t run with its first steps. 

What if this went wrong and that went wrong, but 

What if it all went right?

Thank you so much for joining me today and talking about opening your mind to creative thinking.  I hope you learned something, I know I did.  If you love this podcast make sure to subscribe so you can get all the episodes right to your inbox.  Leave me a review, reviews are how itunes rates its podcast and it helps to get all this information out to more people. I have loved spending time with you today. I want to dig even deeper into how to master your mood. Join me in discovering your personal power coaching program. We have videos, fun worksheets, coaching calls, and lots of fun ways to help you discover your personal power. Go to the Discover Your Personal Power Virtual Coaching Program page and I will see you there. 

Love what you heard about Mastering Your Mood?  Join me in the Discover Your Personal Power Virutal Coaching Program where we will take Mastering Your Mood to the next level.  We talk about how to manage your mind and train your brain.  You will be mastering your mood and living a life full of peace, purpose and power.  See Ya there. 

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