Creative Thinking for Everyday Transformation
This is a little overview of the very best, most effective and accessible psychology tools for anyone who wants to totally transform their overwhelm, anxiety and sensitivity… into an advantage, every day. I say this, because it’s all about using exactly what you have right there – a huge resource of mental and emotional energy – to create potential and opportunity for yourself. It’s a matter of choice, of choosing to direct it all toward what you do want (instead of what you don’t) but I bet no-one has shown you how, right?
In The IF Crowd, we explore a lot of ‘what if..?’ questions using easy to apply psychological inquiry methods (aka 'psychology tools') and right at the top of our adventures, come those that that help us think creatively. This is because thinking creatively, expansively, freely, ‘blue sky’ and beyond actually creates possibility for the thinker, in a group container of support and fun. Thus, we use a lot of creative thinking hacks, tips and tools (as well as critical thinking and reflection too) to transmute worry, repurpose the impressive energy of anxiety and remove self-imposed limitations.
Not just an intellectual / mental activity, creative thinking actually engages the whole human being with felt physical responses, emotion, intuition and more - all mapping the landscape and direction of what is being created.
Thinking creatively also heightens critical thinking too (another key skill we explore inside the group). This is because creative thinking opens up our awareness to what is possible and how things 'might' be - or become. It allows us to see the bigger picture.
Too often our ideas and innovations are stunted or shelved because of the word ‘but’. When we say or hear ‘ooh that’s a good idea but….’ We are putting limitations on it. You may be parking your own big but(t) in your own way.
Try this technique from Tudor Rickards’ book Creativity and Problem-Solving at Work: Instead of ‘Yes but…’ install a different line of ‘Yes and…’
This ‘Yes and…’ technique helps to do two things:
1 - promotes a sense of acceptance that the negative thought is there and that this ok (remember we don’t want to fight with it)
2 - it also promotes creative thinking.
The ‘and’ suggests that you can move on from the statement in any direction you choose rather than justifying it and holding on to it as though it has any truth.
This is a creative thinking technique that encourages us to look two ways at once. Just as the Roman god Janus looked to both the past and future simultaneously, with Janusian thinking (coined by luminary researcher Albert Rothenberg) we aim to hold two opposing perspectives at the same time, without them necessarily being in conflict.
It’s tricky for most people as this seems logically like it ‘should be’ problematic i.e. holding opposing thoughts at same time, yet we can achieve such as sate of equanimity by suspending judgement. That is, not abandoning reason and discernment no, instead it means that we don’t make assumptions either way. Essentially, we stay put, equidistant from either point of view or belief, choosing neither state over the other
This involves recognising what judgement is and in my experience, this is a mental state that is clearly accompanied by a ‘felt’ embodied feeling… so learning to notice that feeling, means learning to notice when judgement is present.
By holding two seemingly opposing ideas or beliefs at the same time, we are made free from them. This is extremely useful in leadership, in research design, in conflict resolution as it helps us to act as unbiasedly as possible. Janusian thinking helps us to develop a radical understanding of the wider experiences, beliefs and understanding of others.
You get to choose which way you look
‘Flipping the Negative’ is essentially my own combination of Yes… and.. paired with Janusian thinking. It’s the ‘get un-stuck tool’ – think of it is a spatula for your mind, ready to flip your reality.
It is an easy way of reframing the apparent ‘facts’ to offer a positive interpretation... because you actually have a choice!
This is a core hack for working positively with anxiety and low mood. It helps creatives, sensitives, empaths and manifestors get over their self-limiting beliefs and personal blocks and is surprisingly easy to do. Contact me if you’d like personal support doing this.
Now... It's not just a matter of stubbornly stating the opposite and hoping it'll be true, nope. That's not helpful. If we really do suck at something there is little value in delusion. Some days I'd like to be a cat. Telling myself I am a cat doesn't help me get what I want (which more accurately, is actually to lay about snoozing curled up like a hairy pretzel).
In fact, it's very good practice to recognise our own genuine in-the-moment limitations as there is immense value in being able to give opportunity others who can do and, because it FREES us from a pointless struggle. It gives us MORE TIME for the things we are actually champion at.
Anyhoo, back to the point... Flipping the Negative is about two things:
Let's take some in-the-moment examples:
"I'm no good this"
Flip it: "I'm at least doing it - otherwise I'd not actually be able to make that comment"
“I’ll never get the hang of this meditation malarkey”
Flip it: “I’m must be doing it right because I am noticing my thoughts (and it reminds me that I am bigger than those thoughts... BOOM!)”
“I went swimming for the first time in ages and my swimsuit was much tighter than it used to be. I felt really fat and self-conscious.”
Flip it: “I got my old swim suit on.” (+ Woop!) “I went swimming.” (+ Wooop!)
“I was highly similar to the other amphibious humans.” (+ Wooooop!)
When speculating about the future...
"what if... I can’t do it/ what if…. I fail/ what if… I don’t like it"....
Ask yourself instead: ‘what if... I LOVE it? Then what? What if… this really works for me, what will I do with all the new energy?” What If?
Be fair. If you are going to give credibility to these automatic negative thoughts for no reason other than they popped by to crap on your day, then how about you also give equal credibility to their possible opposite too?
This is an exercise in fairness and reason and being open. Allow your discerning mind to arrive at far more accurate interpretations, by respecting its ability to do so. You’ll be amazed at how ‘flipping the negative’ can change your outlook on what’s really possible.
In the group work inside The IF Crowd, we explore all this and many other psychological tools and techniques in combination with deep exploration of the Big Questions in life, to support the 'waking up' process and advanced personal development. We have fun too, with regular epiphanies arising often from the funniest of moments.
Just ask anyone about the ‘cucumber experiment’!
When anxiety, overwhelm or self-doubt are creeping in, rather than dread or fear it, flip it and thank it for reminding you to take care - of yourself! To re-examine where your true core values and deep desires are.
Every time you notice a self-limiting thought, take it as permission to do something nice or fun just for yourself.
It's just like picking up a little worried kid who is tugging on your elbow, hugging them and putting them back on their little feet to toddle off and play and explore all the possibility once again. You would do this, right?
Be kind to yourself ❤️