I have only just begun to read Phil Cooke’s book, Jolt, and it is already starting to change the way I
- View things
- Face challenges
- Tackle problems
- Set goals
It’s amazing how quickly we grow out of our creativity. Cooke states that if we want creative kids we’d better encourage their creativity, especially between the ages of five and seven. During those ages creativity begins to drop rapidly. Ironically, it’s just about the time kids start to go to school.
When kids are that young they do a great deal of “blue sky” thinking. There are no limits, no restrictions, no confines. Young children haven’t yet been told often enough: “No, you can’t.”
When I was a kid my friend and I went into the woods across the street from our house where a fallen tree became our space ship. We had adventures that included aliens, asteroids, and atomic bombs. When our space ship crashed we had a grand old time fixing it and making our way to another adventure.
That’s blue sky thinking.
I wonder when I lost that? As I read the beginning of Jolt I was convinced I needed to recover it. Cooke reminds his readers that goals are all about “what ifs”… “so begin thinking about the great what-ifs of your life. No limits, no lids” (p.20).
Cooke recommends “blue sky” thinking to tackle all kinds of problems, challenges, and difficulties:
The only real limitations in your life are in your mind, so break those shackles and look for a farther horizon. Write it down and don’t let your past, other people’s opinions, or the limitations of your experience hold you back. (Jolt, p.22)
It’s an exercise that ought to be made part of a regular “creative workout.” It can be used, Cooke says, as a beginning to resolve challenges at work, at home, or even at church. As a first step “look for solutions without any rules, restrictions, or boundaries” (p.22). At this point there ought to be no thought of budget, time limitations, or past attempts to resolve things that didn’t work.
Often times a solution will jump right off of that list, even if it needs a bit of editing or reigning in. No limits. No lids. New solutions to old problems.
I tried some blue sky thinking as I went to sleep last night and my mind was awash with ideas. It was a refreshing way to count sheep.
How has blue sky thinking helped you view something in a new way, face a challenge, tackle a problem, or set a goal?
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