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Vol. 1 issue #149 Apr 28, 2005



7 Fundamental Strategies for Superb Creative Thinking
©2005 By Dr Jill Ammon-Wexler


Strategy 1. Embrace Your Problems
One of the most fundamental skills of creativity is the
ability to recognize an opportunity and seize it.

You have countless opportunities to expand your
creative thinking skills. Such opportunities present
themselves daily at home, while driving to work, during
meetings or lunch -- or while just hanging out with

There’s really no shortage of opportunities to refine
and develop your creativity. The most basic approach is
to recognize that a “problem” may actually be a golden
opportunity for a creative explosion – and seize the

Strategy 2. Challenge Your Assumptions
It’s natural and necessary to make assumptions about
the reality of our everyday world. We would otherwise
spend all of our waking hours performing unnecessary
mental analyses of ordinary things.

As a result, many times we see only what we expect
to see. Our analysis of a situation or a problem
is based entirely on assumptions based on our past
experience or “accepted knowledge.”

Plus assumptions can become so entrenched it doesn’t
cross our mind to challenge them. This often occurs
later in life – when one’s assumptions are no longer
questioned, although time has passed and things have

A problem may arise simply because we perceive a
situation or condition through a set of false
assumptions preventing clear thinking.

Challenging your assumptions is an important component
of creativity. This allows you to look beyond what is
obvious or already accepted. And it leads straight to
the creative breakthroughs you’re looking for.

Truly creative people in all fields of interest tend to
automatically challenge both their own assumptions, and
the “commonly accepted knowledge” about a problem. This
mental attitude is the true source of all of the
world’s great inventions and businesses.

The moment you choose to challenge one of your
assumptions as possibly “untrue” or “incomplete,” you
are on the way to discovering something new and

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Strategy 3. Take Some Risks
A willingness to take risks is at the very heart of

No creative person succeeds without first failing – as
failures are part of the process of testing one’s
assumptions. There is simply no creativity without

To experience major creative breakthroughs, it’s
important to become comfortable taking risks. Each
“failure” you encounter will actually supercharge your
creativity by generating new information.

If you’re unwilling to take risks and deal with what
ordinary people call “failure,” then you cannot expect
to become a great creative thinker.

Modern neuroscience has shown that our brains are
literally rewired each time we learn something new by
“making a mistake.” The brain is designed to learn
through the trial and error process.

Strategy 4. Use Alternative Thinking
To come up with a creative idea, you will often need a
new vantage point. Creating a new solution to an
existing problem, for example, may require looking at
the problem from a fresh perspective.

There are many tools used by creative thinkers to
create such a fresh perspective, including:
Brainstorming, MESV creative visualization, and
considering the problem from a fresh vantage point.

The tools of brainstorming and MESV creative
visualization can be further explored by clicking the
links in the above paragraph, or at

Additionally, a great way to kickstart your creativity
is to look at your problem from the vantage point of
another profession. If you are a mechanical engineer,
for example, how would an architect view your problem?
Or if you are a product designer, how would an interior
decorator approach your problem?

This approach can lead to some remarkable creative

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Strategy 5. Accept Ambiguity
Many people prefer that everything be clear and
unambiguous. They are uncomfortable with anything that
seems vague, or could have more than one meaning or
application. As a result they tend to be rigid, highly
predictable thinkers.

A touch of ambiguous thinking during the idea
generation stage of the creative process has the power
to bring out genius-level ideas.

People who can think ambiguously are fluid and flexible
thinkers. The ability to think ambiguously can yield
amazing creative insights. This is ability is
experienced (and built) when you indulge in wordplay or

Strategy 6. Expand Your Vision
An excellent way to build your creative muscles is to
read and explore outside your normal area of interest.
This can be especially useful when you are struggling
to solve a creative problem.

Strategy 7. Massage your Brainwaves
Creative thinking best occurs when your brain is in
certain states called “alpha and theta.” You are in an
“alpha/theta” state when your brain is producing a
predominance of slower brainwaves, as opposed to the
faster beta brainwaves associated with normal waking

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Alpha/theta brainwaves are the reason many people have
creative ah-ha experiences during a nap, a stroll, or
some other mentally-relaxing activity.

But consciously entering into an alpha/theta state can
be a challenge. Meditators spend years learning to
initiate this state on will, but modern technology has
introduced a much faster method of building alpha/theta
expertise – brainwave training. Be sure to check it out
– your creativity will never be the same.

Incidentally, a great side benefit of entering into the
alpha/theta brainwave state is virtually instant stress

Dr Jill Ammon-Wexler was one of the first to introduce
brainwave training to the corporate world. She has
served as a consultant to the Pentagon and a
Presidential Commission, and provided peak performance
training to thousands of executives and executive
teams. Her brainwave training is available online at
the web’s first mental workout ezone – the Quantum
Brain Gym.  



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