“There’s more than one way to do anything” – Adventures in Creative Thinking

How many times have you caught yourself saying that there could be no other solution to a problem – and that that problem leads to a dead end? How many times have you felt stumped knowing that the problem laying before you is one you cannot solve. No leads.  No options.  No solutions.

Did it feel like you had exhausted all possible options and yet are still before the mountain – large, unconquerable, and impregnable? When encountering such enormous problems, you may feel like you’re hammering against a steel mountain. The pressure of having to solve such a problem may be overwhelming.

But rejoice! There might be some hope yet!

With some creative problem-solving techniques you may be able to look at your problem in a different light. And that light might just be the end of the tunnel that leads to possible solutions.

First of all, in the light of creative problem-solving, you must be open-minded to the fact that there may be more than just one solution to the problem. And, you must be open to the fact that there may be solutions to problems you thought were unsolvable.

Now, with this optimistic mindset, we can try to be a little bit more creative in solving our problems.

Number one; maybe the reason we cannot solve our problems is that we have not really taken a hard look at what the problem is. Here, trying to understanding the problem and having a concrete understanding of its workings is integral solving the problem. If you know how it works, what the problem is, then you have a better foundation towards solving the problem.

Not trying to make the simple statement of what a problem is. Try to identify the participating entities and what their relationships with one another are. Take note of the things you stand to gain any stand to lose from the current problem. Now you have a simple statement of what the problem is.

Number two; try to take note of all of the constraints and assumptions you have the words of problem. Sometimes it is these assumptions that obstruct our view of possible solutions. You have to identify which assumptions are valid, in which assumptions need to be addressed.

Number three; try to solve the problem by parts. Solve it going from general view towards the more detailed parts of the problem. This is called the top-down approach. Write down the question, and then come up with a one-sentence solution to that from them. The solution should be a general statement of what will solve the problem. From here you can develop the solution further, and increase its complexity little by little.

Number four; although it helps to have critical thinking aboard as you solve a problem, you must also keep a creative, analytical voice at the back of your head. When someone comes up with a prospective solution, tried to think how you could make that solution work. Try to be creative. At the same time, look for chinks in the armor of that solution.

Number five; it pays to remember that there may be more than just one solution being developed at one time. Try to keep track of all the solutions and their developments. Remember, there may be more than just one solution to the problem.

Number six; remember that old adage,” two heads are better than one.” That one is truer than it sounds. Always be open to new ideas. You can only benefit from listening to all the ideas each person has. This is especially true when the person you’re talking to has had experience solving problems similar to yours.

You don’t have to be a gung-ho, solo hero to solve the problem. If you can organize collective thought on the subject, it would be much better.

Number seven; be patient. As long as you persevere, there is always a chance that a solution will present itself. Remember that no one was able to create an invention the first time around.

Creative thinking exercises can also help you in your quest to be a more creative problems solver.

Here is one example.

Take a piece of paper and write any word that comes to mind at the center. Now look at that word then write the first two words that come to your mind. This can go on until you can build a tree of related words. This helps you build analogical skills, and fortify your creative processes.

Next time you see a problem you think you can’t solve, think again. The solution might just be staring you right in the face. All it takes is just a little creative thinking, some planning, and a whole lot of work.

So… do you do this?  Can you do this?  And if you don’t or can’t… why not?  Your comments and input please!

Psychological problems or strictly bad habits?

What do you think do moods constitute bad habits? That’s an interesting one.  Many mood disorders have been identified, but are they psychological problems or strictly bad habits?

In fact, it’s been shown that continuing to dwell in your present mood perpetuates it!

When you decide to pretend you are happy, studies show that you may actually improve your mood in time.  This is not a hard and fast rule, but there are some signs that people do have some control over their moods.

Moodiness, for example, may be more than bad habits for many.  It may be bipolar disorder or some other psychiatric problem.  For many it may just be that they are giving in to every feeling that comes along.  They have the bad habits of not trying to have any control over their whims.

Being pessimistic is one of the bad habits that can also be seen as a symptom of depression.  Yet, for many, it is just a habit of thought.  They may tell themselves that pessimism is a win-win way of thinking.

If things go right, you win.  If things go wrong, you were correct, so you win.  These people can improve their moodiness by looking at the positive side of things in the beginning.

Being in a worrying mood is similar to being pessimistic.  The difference between the two bad habits is that when you worry, you become obsessed and dread what’s upcoming.  If you have the bad habit of worrying, you can slowly train yourself out of it, especially if you have the right kind of help.

If you have hypochondria, you have an emotionally painful bad habit.  Certainly, a person with hypochondria needs psychological help.  However, the treatment that person will receive will probably center on helping them change their bad habits of thought.  They will learn new ways to think about illness and their own bodies.  This will give them some control over their emotions.

Bad habits that relate to emotional states are often hard to break.  Sometimes you need help to overcome them if you cannot do it on your own.  The sooner you stop doing your emotional bad habits, the happier your life will be.

So now that you’ve read this article, what do you think do moods just constitute bad habits? Can the habits of worrying, hypochondria, attention seeking, making excuses for others and the really big one of being pessimistic, just to name a few really just be a “bad Habit”?

Your input would be greatly appreciated.  Sharing helps in every way… helps us deal with what ails us and at the same time helps those with same or similar problems.  It’s always good to know that we are not alone!

Are You Past 50 And Beginning To Feel Invisible Or Is It Just Me ?

I had become invisible. Or, if visible, not as welcome a sight as I once was.

It happened quite by chance, this new realization!

At a business event,  growing bored, I did what I always do and inserted myself between two chatting people, who happened to be men, and proceeded to kind of flirt by default.  My clever banter descended into a one-sided grilling (me asking questions and they providing answers) until one guy said to the other, “So, are we heading to that other party now or what?” Like in, get me out of here.

There it was.

Whoosh, like Alice plunging down the rabbit hole, I was suddenly not the fun girl at the party but the auntie figure we humor for a moment before moving on. And at the same time, miraculously, I had become her age opposite, I was transported back in time to my nerdiest moment of high school, horrified that I’d made a fool of myself.

Really, teen age (with its insecurities and greasy skin) and middle age (with its sags and wrinkles) are both marked by waves of hormones, mood swings and hyper-awareness of appearance, the bookends around that all-too-brief lull called young adulthood.

I recalled a conversation I’d had with a good friend who was saying that at “our age” (let’s delicately call it middle age, suggesting we will live to 100) we are invisible. As older women we are no longer desirable, no longer perceived as anything but taking up space a younger person could put to better use in the job, in the relationship, in life.

I thought she needed to up her meds. Certainly, she should speak for herself: I for one was not invisible.

Until suddenly I was. And this was the dreaded day. Age, I now realize, doesn’t creep up, it knocks you around with changes you didn’t see coming. And it happens at around 50. Where had I gone?

Did I disappear, and get replaced by a frumpy and forgettable woman?

How could I have gone from this,

 

                   

to this so quickly?

 

If there is any good news for those of us embarking on the middle and plus years now, it is that the boomers have prepared the path, as they always have.

Magazines like Cosmo and More have softened the blow by reporting on sex, relationships and health, with pictures of the none to young to match — though More does insist on mentioning age an awful lot – “Updo’s That Won’t Age You!” ugh!  That and much more just like that on fashion, make-up and life style  having the effect of never letting us forget we are now of that certain age.

Because boomers have done nothing if not dictate shifts in outlook, popular culture has become kinder than they used to be to older women, who now thankfully appear as strong, elegant and often wonderfully dressed characters on television and in the movies.

That’s all to the good, but it doesn’t change how it feels to see blankness staring back at you where something like admiration was once evident.

Getting older signals the loss of a certain kind of power. Luckily for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. The wolf whistles may have stopped but, if I am to be honest, I’m grateful for the silence — there was a kind of invisibility associated with that as well.

I didn’t feel especially visible or appreciated for my finer points when I was in my 20s and 30s and a man I’d hoped would do business with me, instead asked me to “go to bed” with him. Silly me, thinking the interest was professional. While it might have been easier to chat or be chatted up at a party, the more common thought was not “Wow, she’s smart” but rather “Will she or Won’t she?”

There is also a serenity that’s evident despite the unpredectable hormones of pre- or full-on menopause.

“In my youth I was ruled by hormones, but in a different way,” says a frequently flushed friend of 57. “I was always madly in love or in heart-wrenching despair at lost love or otherwise lusting after someone. My libido has quieted. My life isn’t so fraught.”

Still, it seems despite the fact that we boomers are aging in droves, ageism is alive and well in the workplace, at least according to anecdotal reports. And this is true for both sexes — an out of work male creative director in his 50s (youngish for a man)  complained to me that more doors shut than opened to welcome his vast experience — the thinking being that it takes one to know one and the target demographic for most advertising is a sweet spot of people ages 18 to 35. Ridiculous, because rarely does the big money being spent come from that very young age group.

And my flushed friend, who is currently looking for a job, doesn’t want potential employers to know how old she is: “I have to leave as many jobs off the resumé as I put on it, just to keep it from looking like I am an old broad.”

When I was revising my own resumé with the help of a professional , I was advised to leave off some of my early businesses experience for the same reason — I would seem too old.

My early career is marked by memories of being terrified – “fake it till you make it, a sentiment that is now thankfully gone.

Experience feels a lot better than winging it, confidence is better for your system than bravado. Business associates and employers may be slow to acknowledge the value of experience until inexperience bites them in their soon-to-be sagging butts.

Aging undeniably means the loss of a certain kind of power. But the power of youth is a temporary gift, often clumsy and misunderstood. Being young and/or attractive is a given, but not earned.

I was shocked to realize I suddenly didn’t have that power of youth. Not quite sure what would replace it, I panicked. Now I know it has been replaced with a power that is subtler and stronger.

Is this how you feel,  that you too have more power… or ?

Let me know what you think and share your own experiences with us here at YourBFFsays.com

Here’s to ‘Still Being SEXY At Seventy’.

Until the next time, and as always,

Can You Be Happier? If So… How?

Almost everyone has heard the hit single ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy’ by Bobby McFerrin. The song has a very catchy way of conveying its message of being happy to everyone. Bobby Mcferrin’s simple message surely made a lot of people by telling them not to worry.

Living a happy, resilient and optimistic life is wonderful, and is also good for your health. Being happy actually protects you from the stresses of life. Stress is linked to top causes of death due to such illnessesas heart disease, cancer and stroke.

One of the better things ever said is – ‘The only thing in life that will always remain the same is change’, and in our life we have the power to make the necessary changes if we want to. Even if we find ourselves in an unbearable situation we can always find solace in the knowledge that it too would change.

Relationships are essential to happiness. People are different, accept people for who or what they are, avoid clashes, constant arguments, and let go of all kinds of resentments. If arguments seem unavoidable still try and make an effort to understand the situation and you might just get along with well with

Happiness is actually found in everyone, increasing it is a way to make life more wonderful and also more healthy.

To be happy is relatively easy, just decide to be a happy person. Abraham Lincoln observed that most people for most of the time can choose how happy or stressed, how relaxed or troubled, how bright or dull their outlook to be. The choice is simple really, choose to be happy.

There are several ways by which you can help your greater happiness along.

Being grateful is a great attitude.  We have so much to be thankful for. Thank the taxi driver for bringing you home safely, thank the cook for a wonderful dinner and thank the guy who cleans your windows. Also thank the mailman for bringing you your mail, thank the policeman for making your place safe and thank God for being alive.

News is stressful. Get less of it. Some people just can’t start their day without their daily dose of news. Try and think about it, 99% of the news we hear or read is bad news. Starting the day with bad news does not seem to be a sensible thing to do.

A religious connection can also be of help to some. Being part of a religious group with its singing, sacraments, chanting, prayers and meditations can foster inner peace.

Manage your time. Time is invaluable and too important to waste. Time management can be viewed  as a list of rules that involves scheduling, setting goals, planning, creating lists of things to do and prioritizing. These are the core basics of time management that should be understood to develop an efficient personal time management skill. These basic skills can be fine-tuned further to include the finer points of each skill that can give you that extra reserve to make the results you want.

Laugh and laugh heartily every day.  Heard a good joke? Tell your friends or family about it. As they also say -‘Laughter is the best medicine’.

Express your feelings, affections, friendship and passion to people around you. They will most likely reciprocate your actions. Try not to keep pent up anger of frustrations, this is bad for your health. Instead find ways of expressing them in a way that will not cause more injury or hurt.

For most working brings tremendous personal satisfaction. It gives a feeling of being competent. Accomplishments are necessary for all of us, they give us a sense of value. Work on things that you feel worthy of your time.

Learning is a joyful exercise. Try and learn something new every day.  Learning also makes us expand and broaden our horizons. And could also give us more opportunities in the future.

Run, jog, walk and do other things that your body was made for. Feel alive!

Work at avoiding exposure to negative elements and people.

These are just the few of the simple things you can do every day to be happier.

And always remember the quote from Abraham Lincoln, he says that, “Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

So… are you happy?  Could you be happier?  If so what would make you a happier person?  Do you know what that would be, what it would look like and how it would impact your life?  If you don’t have the answers to these questions, you need to do some deep soul searching.  Because without knowing what it is that would make you happy… there is no way to get happier.  It’s easy to know what you don’t want… but difficult to define what it is that you do want.

Does that describe you inpart? If so… share with us what it is that you would do to make the changes in your life that would bring you greater happiness.  That is if you even know what that is!!

Making myself happy took a lot of work… it’s that work that I am here to share with you.

Here’s to ‘Still Being SEXY At Seventy’.

Until next time, and as always,