Divergent Thinking – 3 Ways to Engage Divergent Thinking

Since I touched on this during the last post, I wanted to dig a little deeper. Now that we know that divergent thinking is more involved with imagination and less with logic the question becomes, how can you spur it into action. What can you do to motivate divergent thinking?

One thing that has helped me a lot is keeping a journal. Now what’s interesting is that it is not a traditional type of journal, in the strict sense of interpretation. What I mean by that is, it is not a story of events from day to day.  The purpose of a journal in my case is to be able to record ideas as they arise, but not only the ideas but also patterns.

Now I am not going to go into that in great detail in this post, suffice it to say that right now, you just want to get ideas out and recorded when they pop up. I will go more into this topic later in another post.

1/ Write like a lunatic, it is all too often when we are writing that we get stuck, we cannot seem to get our thoughts out on paper in an organized fashion, we may have lots of ideas but we just struggle, this leads to frustration and frustration leads to writer’s block. The more frustrated we get the more dysfunctional we get.

What you will begin to notice is, the good old judge in your brain is evaluating what your thoughts are as they arise and this puts the brakes on the free flow of ideas. So for this example, you’re just going to write ideas with no intention of making them into perfect written prose.

In actual fact, if you handed the document over to the CIA they would not be able to decode it, they wouldn’t know what in the hell you are on about, so you’re just going to get it on paper. Pick a topic that you are considering, then write your ideas down with no other intention over that of getting them on paper.

2/ Journal, as mentioned, record your ideas without judgment, just let them flow. While we all know that ideas don’t always arise at the most convenient of times, especially when we need them the most, they do pop into our minds, when you keep a journal you will recognize this fact.

You can also audio record your ideas, this can be helpful if you wake up in the middle of the night and do not want to turn the light on, just hit record on whatever device you choose and record your ideas. Just have whatever device you are using readily at your bedside.

3/ Visualization take your ideas from your journal and connect the dots. In this case, you will be creating a map upon which ideas will be organized into groups. Groups will be based upon their relationships, if one idea relates to another they can go into a group that can be categorized as a theme. You then will have the main theme and under the main theme have sub-themes. Now you will get to see the relationship of ideas and how they can work together under your main and sub-themes. It is at this point convergent thinking will come into play so as to help evaluate and organize the ideas.

These are just some methods that you can use to get ideas flowing, to turn on the creative spigot and quench the fiery frustration of constantly doubting your thoughts. There will be plenty of time for evaluation, so just let it go.

Last but not least, let ideas flow first, then allow time to elapse, set the paper down, feel free to add to it at any time, ask yourself questions and let the subconscious mind chew on it, then in a few days or when you feel the time is right to begin to map it out and evaluate.

Here is an interesting video on divergent thinking, especially for those of us who feel we do not have the ability to think in this manner.

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