Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Think like a Genius

Ever wondered what goes through the minds of geniuses? How they model their thought process? Here’s an interesting article (Thinking Like a Genius: Eight strategies used by the super creative, from Aristotle and Leonardo to Einstein and Edison, by Michael Michalko, THE FUTURIST, May 1998) that shows you how to bring out the genius in you.

One point that really got me interested was productive vs. reproductive thinking. The concept of reproductive thinking, where new thoughts and ideas are derived from past experiences, is so widely prevalent. That is what most parents teach their children and almost all teachers teach their students. Study past incidents and experiences and make future decisions based on them. The author claims that this does not generate new ideas but only repetitions of the past.

To be truly innovative one needs to adapt to productive thinking where every thought process is an attempt to create a new perspective of the situation. No more analysis and relations to past experiences. Does this work? History has proven more than once that only productive thinking leads to inventions and discoveries. No wonder true geniuses are hard to find – no one is taught to think like a genius anymore.

Other strategies recommended by the article are:

Geniuses look at problems in many different ways.
Geniuses make their thought visible.
Geniuses produce.
Geniuses make novel combinations.
Geniuses force relationships.
Geniuses think in opposites.
Geniuses think metaphorically.
Geniuses prepare themselves for chance.

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