Dreams are the seedlings of reality – JAMES ALLEN.
On a beautiful late spring afternoon, twenty-five years ago, two young men graduated from the same University. They were very much alike, these two young men. Both had been better than average students, both were personable and both as young college graduates are-were filled ambitious dreams for the future.
Recently, these two men returned to college for their 25th reunion.
They were still very much alike. Both were happily married. Both had three children. And both, it turned out, had gone to work for the same Midwestern manufacturing company after graduation, and were still there.
But, there was a difference. One of the men was manager of a small department of that company. The other was its president.
What made the difference?
It wasn’t that one was smart and the other wasn’t, or that one wanted success and the other didn’t. It wasn’t the least a measure of intellectual capability or the differences in opportunities.
The difference was in how each thought.
SEVEN NEW, BOLD WAYS TO THINK.
- THINK ASSOCIATION. The creative person is forever associating ideas and concepts and continually searches for relationships. Your brain cannot deliberately concentrate on two separate objects or ideas without eventually forming a connection between them. No two inputs can remain separate in your mind no matter how remote they are from each other. The key is to hold both of them in your attention and to look for relationships and connections between the two. Once you become aware, you’ll routinely see connections between dissimilar objects, leading you to greater creativity.
- THINK COMBINATION. Almost everything in nature, including you, is a combination of elements. Water is a combination of hydrogen and oxygen. By uniting the mundane or common into something new can create a number of useful ideas. Everything you see, smell, touch, hear, or taste offers opportunity to consider combinations.
- THINK ADAPTATION. Somebody thought creatively when he or she adapted airplane seatbelts for use in automobile. The phonograph record and motion picture, originally developed for entertainment, have been adapted for teaching and education. Throughout the remainder of the decade and beyond, we will see the results of individuals thinking adaptation and coming up with ideas worth millions. Why couldn’t one of these people be you? The only limit to what you can achieve by adapting old products to new uses, and old methods to new applications, is the limit to your own creativity.
- THINK SUBSTITUTION. When you think substitution, ask yourself how you might substitute a different material or procedure for the one currently being used. For example, within many industries, plastic is substituted for wood and metal. Stainless steel is a substitute for other metals. At one time, the transistor replaced the vacuum tube, and now the computer chip replaces them both. In short, don’t assume that anything is indispensable-feel free to substitute. Just because something has been used in the past doesn’t mean society will continue to use it in the future. Take a look at everyday products and services. Perhaps there is a substitute that will work better or last longer, or cost less or be more durable, and so forth. think substitution.
- THINK BIG. Think bold, think no limits, think big! Picture a skyscraper, jumbo jets, giant soft drinks, large economy-size products-what do they all have on common? They’re of greater benefits because they were made larger. By increasing size, you add value as well as possibilities.
- THINK SMALL. Consider the solar battery, the transistor, the compact car, the palm-top computer, or a Sony Walkman. What do you work with that could benefit others if it were made smaller?
- THINK REARRANGEMENT. That is, shift things around. Turn products or concepts upside down, inside out, reverse other-rearrange things. For example, just imagine when fashion designers had the audacity to place mink on the inside of coats. All the warmth, luxury, and status of a full-length mink in a casual coat. Consider the “running” shoe: In a world that values its leasure time and relaxation, people now wear a shoe specifically for physical activity, effort, and sweat. Think rearrangement. What ideas, services, or industries could benefit from this type of thinking? What can you turn around, shift, alter, modify, revolutionise, rearrange?
If you want to spur your mind in a new direction and make your dreams a reality, think association, combination, adaptation, substitution, magnification, minification, and rearrangement.