What Happens When You Have Multiple Solutions

How to think outside of the box:

Have you heard about the Nine-Dot Problem? Basically this helps to explain when your problem has more than one solution.

If you’re not familiar with the Nine-Dot Problem, it goes like this:

You have nine dots arranged in a set of three rows. Your challenge is to draw four straight lines which go through the middle of all of the dots without taking the pencil off the paper. If you were using a pencil, you must start from any position and draw the lines one after the other without taking your pencil off the page. Each line starts where the last line finishes.

To learn more about how this works and to try this out yourself – go here.

And try not to cheat! Try to figure it out before you scroll down for the answer.

{ it’s OK … I’ll wait for you to try this out 🙂 }

After you spend some time with the problem, you’ll realize that to find the solution, you literally have to think ‘outside the box.’

There’s lot of theories about the expression ‘outside the box’ but it’s said that the Nine-Dot Problem is where they most likely got the famous phrase that we all say.

Why are we talking about boxes today?

So for those who know me or spent any time with me on a workshop, you know that I have my moments where I go into a deep dive of something and my starting place doesn’t always make perfect sense.

But like I always say, there’s a method to my madness.

This BOX that people talk about comes from what we’ve learned about running a business or writing a blog. It all gets pulled together in our personal experiences.

While your experience makes you smart and gives you a path to go down, many times we allow what we know and what we think we should be doing to hold us back. Your box can actually limit your thinking and cause you to miss a new idea or new way to look at something.

How does this work?

As with everything else I do in my business, I tested out this idea of ‘thinking outside of the box’ to see how I could get this to really work.

Here’s what I did to run an experiment on thinking out of the box using this thing I call the Creative Insight Process:

I was working on a project to update the interest funnel for my Pinterest Strategy ebook and I struggled with how to work out the flow of the emails. So I got out a pen and paper and just wrote down all the steps that I thought needed to be there.

Just looking at my notes, I could see that something was off. It looked like a bunch of ‘this is what you’re supposed to do’ kinda stuff rather than information that provided them value and could really help them with their Pinterest marketing.

I put it down on the table and took out my coloring books. For the past year, I’ve started using those adult coloring books for fun with some crayons and colored pencils.

It was always just a way for a bit of fun but this time, it felt different. I was trying to work through a problem and I had reached an impasse. I was totally stuck.

I spent the next hour focusing on the shapes on the page I was coloring. I noticed how the yellow crayon had a different shade than the yellow pencil. I wasn’t thinking about Pinterest or email sequences. I just thought about what color should go where and how I wanted my final picture to look when I finished it.

When I was done with my creative project, I picked up my notes again and I had a moment of insight ===>>> the email sequence doesn’t have to be about these things that ‘the experts’ tell us need to be in our funnel. I was trying to make what I thought ‘I should be doing’ work for me.

I was trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. I was trying to force something that wasn’t going to work for how I teach Pinterest differently.

Spending that hour coloring took me from focusing on problem solving in the analytical part of my left-side brain to being insightful with the creative right-side of my brain.

From that moment on, the ideas just flowed on to the paper. I re-worked the entire email sequence into something that provided value to my community. Something that would help them solve their problems. Something that felt more like what I would do, not something ‘the experts’ told me to develop.

I found a way to be a round peg that fit perfectly into a round hole.

Want to try this out?

What if you don’t like to color or even own one of those adult coloring books? Here’s a few ideas to try when you find yourself getting stuck on a problem that you’re sure has more than one solution.

You may feel a little silly trying out these things but know that when we step outside of our usual comfort zone, that’s the moment when we open up our minds to start thinking outside of the box.

1. Write a poem

Get out a piece of paper or pull up a word document and write a poem about your problem or something that you see on your desk. Don’t worry if you don’t write like Maya Angelou – that’s not the point of this creative exercise.

Writing a poem is one of those things that pulls the analytical left-side of our brain with the formatting of the poem { can you structure it so that every other sentence rhymes? } and the creative right-brain when you come up with the words to use. Don’t worry about your piece of poetry being good enough for a Pulitzer Prize – this creative exercise will help you shift your thinking from focusing on problem-solving to the creative part of your brain that will open up your mind to new insights.

2. Look at the clouds

Remember those days when we would stare at the clouds and imagine seeing things in them?

Go outside for 10 minutes and look up at the sky. Name five things that you see in the clouds – I see a bunny, I see a castle over there. Don’t stop until you see at least five objects in the clouds.

3. Make letters

Find objects in your office that look like letters or something you could turn into a letter { like a pencil or a push pin for the dot of an I }.

Use your unique letters to write out your name or something that you love like the beach or the name of your favorite city. Then take a picture of it and post it on Instagram with a story about why you spelled out that word.

4. Write a story on Twitter

Make up a story about the problem you’re trying to solve and write out the whole thing using only 280 characters on Twitter.

This process is the same as writing out a poem. Writing on Twitter works with the analytical left-brain with the trying to keep it to 280 characters and the right-side of your brain as you work through what creative words to use that will clearly tell your story.

Many of you are asking, “What if I’m not creative?”

Contrary to what you may be thinking, creativity is not this thing that only paid artists have the exclusive rights to.

We all have the ability to be creative inside of us. We just need to find the path to let it come out.

We all have the ability for creativity to help us think differently, to help us take our thoughts and turn them into a real insight, even if these ideas are outside our usual comfort zone.

This moment that researchers call ‘flashes of insight’ happens when we take something familiar and we reassemble the pieces and parts into a new way. Think of it like this — a painting is just a bunch of colors added to the canvas with different shapes and lines. When these elements are added onto the canvas in a way that hasn’t been done before, it becomes a creative piece of art.

AND it’s this process of taking the usual things that we ‘think we’re supposed to do’ to grow our business or blog and reassembling them in a new and unique way is how you’ll develop your marketing messages with the Create Your Business subscription boxes.

Together, we’ll work through the steps in the Creative Insight Process and I’ll show you how to turn your ideas into something that everyone wants to buy.

You’ll learn how to create moments in your day to be more creative and stop focusing on our problems. Being creative helps your mind wander into another place, allowing you to come up with the solution you’ve been struggling to find.

And you know when it happens.

You’ll come up with ideas you haven’t thought of before – something that can help your customers do something easier, help you make you more money or a discover a new way to pull that product or program together.

Being creative – like working on an art project such as coloring, going outside for a bike ride or gardening – can help you get to that place of insight to come up with your own out-of-the-box solutions.

This is what we do in when you work through all the workbooks with the Create Your Business program. It helps you move past the walls of your box and gives you the freedom to consider all the possibilities available to you to help you grow your business or blog.

But the main thing you’ll learn is how to be open to new ideas to solve your problems. You’ll look at challenges not as obstacles but opportunities. You’ll be filled with more moments to be free to play with new and unexpected ways to work through your day.

If you’re ready to do your marketing stuff differently, then subscribe to get your own Create Your Business box!

If you’re tired aimlessly posting wherever and everywhere and getting nowhere. If you’re done with the weekly struggle of what to post or what site to use, it’s time to do something different to develop your custom marketing messages.

Subscribe to the Create Your Business box! Get the creative tools you need to consistently get yourself out there and create the business that you’ve always wanted.

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