Today I came across this great post from the PsyBlog, “Boost Creativity: 7 Unusual Psychological Techniques”. It gave me a great idea for using these same techniques for boosting creative levels in online students.
The first technique was to use psychological distance. This implies not only separating yourself from the task, term paper, assignment by physical means, but also by mentally taking some space as well. Their suggested insight is to imagine the project you’re working on as distant and disconnected from your current location. That space should encourage higher level thinking.
Mulling over a problem, or a discussion post could lead to a more insightful response. Another technique is re-conceptualisation. Instead of jumping straight to conclusions of what another student posted, or a question your teacher posed to the class, take your time to concentrate on the central issue and re-conceive the problem from different angles before trying to solve it.
Follow the path of most resistance for your next creative cue. Typically reviewing an item or topic in a new way can lead to a more creative variation to a popular theme. But using this method in itself may be more difficult to try and conceive an innovative and more creative solution. For something more novel, making passage down the road traveled by so many before you can provide more creative answers since previous attempts allow you to build on top of existing ideas.
Play on an ill mood. Using drama in the workplace, or your home, can boost creativity as well. Generally positivity is more conducive for problem solving and rational and flexible thinking, but in this case the negative mood may give you a different end result. Try working on a discussion post when you’re feeling just to one side of grumpy and see where your thoughts take you.
Use life as a general motivator. Have you noticed how the simplest things that happen throughout our day make us stop to ponder how it all relates? Another great technique they mention is absurdist stimulation. This means the more absurd an experience, the harder your mind has to work to make sense of the event. They suggest reading an absurd short story, ‘odd news’, or use a strange encounter at the store you had that day and channel that energy towards your work online.
Looking into the human mind is one of many ways to best discover how we think, and why we do the things we do. Try out one of these tips the next time you’re stuck for topics in class, or you need a thesis for your term paper. Creativity doesn’t have to be in short supply.
- By J. Mason