Sharpening our

perceptive powers

Have you ever looked at a brilliantly simple idea and wondered why you didn’t think of it yourself? How often do we kick ourselves for missing creative solutions that seem so obvious in retrospect? The only way to overcome the mental blindness that keeps us from seeing these opportunities is to sharpen our perceptive powers.

Rather than racing through life and business without paying much attention to the landscape, we need to train our minds to bring all-too-familiar patterns back into focus. We must learn how to turn off the automatic pilot that so easily blurs our vision, and begin to notice and actively think about objects, situations, and concepts that we may have long taken for granted. We need to stop simply accepting these things as they are and start imagining how they could be or should be. We need to look at existing patterns from alternative perspectives and ask ourselves how we might make them different or better. We need to work at breaking down our preconceptions and opening our minds to all kinds of novel possibilities. Leonardo da Vinci reportedly once scribbled the words, “Stand still and watch the patterns. . . . If you look at them carefully you might discover miraculous inventions.”

As we have noted, every human being has the cognitive ability or the capacity for creative thinking. We are actually born with it, and we all demonstrate it in our early childhood, so none of us can claim that creativity doesn’t come naturally to ...

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