Creativity
Three Principles for Releasing the Pressure of Perfectionism

Three Principles for Releasing the Pressure of Perfectionism

In my previous blog, I made the case that sometimes the logical, moral, and practical option is to do B-minus (B-) work. This can feel excruciatingly difficult if you are tempted by perfectionism. I was reminded of this recently when I tried to write an article on...

What to Do When You’re Waffling

What to Do When You’re Waffling

Way back in 1998, when I wrote my first article on what to do when you get stuck on a difficult thinking problem, I offered one general piece of advice: Identify the problem. As Louis Sullivan said, "the problem contains and suggests its own solution." Although I now...

Plan to Percolate

Plan to Percolate

I often spend an hour pre-thinking about a topic before I "need to," not because I'm pressed for time, or because it's new material, but solely to allow me to percolate. Planning to percolate is a good use of your brain. If you don't know what I mean by "percolate,"...

Adapting Advice to Your Own Purposes

Adapting Advice to Your Own Purposes

A friend once shared with me how her 17-year-old daughter adapted some advice for her own purposes. It's an inspiring story with several lessons. The young woman was training to become an opera singer — an ambitious, long-term goal. It was particularly challenging for...

Case Study: Hard Thinking on Writing Problems

Case Study: Hard Thinking on Writing Problems

When I tell people about my course, sometimes they don't quite know what I mean by "hard thinking." I don't mean thinking on specialized subjects like astrophysics. I mean thinking on any subject in which, at times, it's not clear how to proceed. Some extra effort is...

Brainstorming by Yourself vs. in a Group

Brainstorming by Yourself vs. in a Group

About Brainstorming "Brainstorming" means systematically generating a large number of candidate ideas for some purpose, usually to solve a problem. Brainstorming works because one idea triggers another. A "bad" idea, when considered seriously without censoring, can...

The Key to Brainstorming

Brainstorming means: generating a long list of creative ideas to solve some problem or answer some question. Any time you are feeling a little blank, you need some form of brainstorming to start ideas flowing again. Often we think of brainstorming as a group activity,...

In Communication, Less is Better Than More

"Less" sounds undesirable. Who wants to settle for less when you could have more? Well, in communication, less is often much better than more. For example, if you are offering a proposal to a prospective customer, it's much better to offer just the top three options...

Need a Fresh Idea? Prepare to “Incubate”

Often fresh, new ideas occur to you after a period away from your work. That's why many authorities on creativity recommend taking breaks to let this process happen.  But just taking a break isn't enough. How often have you come back, after a break, and been in...

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