Lets face it. It’s not always that you can flip on your creative hat and like a magician, pull out fascinating ideas like bunnies or birds or a multi colored trail of knotted scarves. It takes time and sometimes a good deal of exercising your creative muscles before you can land upon your big idea and even though it might seem like hard work (though creative people will not agree! they love the process.) it is likely that every now and then we reach a stumbling block that somehow refuses to budge from our path. So today I would like to talk about an interesting exercise to help clear that block so we can continue our journey down the creative path.

We all know what a huge role perspective plays in the way we view and experience life. Our perspective is also likely to affect the way we think and conceive ideas and solutions. These perspectives might sometimes be that block between us and our epiphany so a good start would be to have an open mind and be flexible with our views. With that in mind , let us move on to the exercise. The main idea is to flip our view ! Sometimes habitually we are so set in  certain patterned thinking that we fail to see wonderful ideas  right under nose. So to clear the fog and get a better view, we need to think in reverse. For example, if you are thinking about how to get your kids to be more cooperative during homework or study time, you first think how to make them uncooperative. Your list could be vaguely similar or completely different from the one I came up with below.

1.Have an unstructured different time to study everyday.

2. Have a cluttered work space with books and supplies scattered all over the house.

3.Make it seem like there is a lot to do.

4.Make the task seem difficult to achieve.

5.Accompany and follow-up with threats and criticism.

Now  lets flip the list and see the other side of the coin!

 

1.Have an unstructured different time to study everyday.

Set a designated space and time for study everyday and try to stick to the schedule as much as possible. Of course , study time can be shifted on weekends and days with other activities . It’s a good idea to give kids given prior notice about the same .( “We will be shifting our homework time on Monday from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm since we have a doctor’s appointment.)

2. Have a cluttered work space with books and supplies scattered all over the house.

Have a separate study space with books and supplies organized.

3.Make it seem like there is a lot to do.

Break up the tasks into small chunks and have 2-3 min stretch breaks in between.

4.Make the task seem difficult to achieve.

Start with a review of how efficiently the previous home work was completed so kids have a success set point to look back to.

5.Accompany and follow-up with threats and criticism.

Appropriate guidance when needed ,encouragement and specific praise upon task completion.

Now I’m sure most of us maybe already doing all/most of these so we will refine the list further and look more closely at each point and evaluate improvements in each area. Now if our study schedule is not going as planned in spite of our best efforts, then obviously it needs a tweak! So here we go again.

1.Have an unstructured different time to study everyday.

Set a designated space and time for study everyday and try to stick to the schedule as much as possible. Of course , study time can be shifted on weekends and days with other activities . It’s a good idea to give kids given prior notice about the same .( “We will be shifting our homework time on Monday from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm since we have a doctor’s appointment.)

The kids already have a set time to study but each of them is enrolled in certain activities so they are not in the best frame of mind at the same time! So why don’t I hang up a calendar with their study schedules and activities incorporated? I could write in if any of us has an appointment and it would be a good practice for them to look into the calendar everyday to see what tasks need to be accomplished that day.

2. Have a cluttered work space with books and supplies scattered all over the house.

Have a separate study space with books and supplies organized.

I already have a study table stocked with supplies but I could add a Children’s dictionary to look up word meanings and maybe a math conversion chart.

3.Make it seem like there is a lot to do.

Break up the tasks into small chunks and have 2-3 min stretch breaks in between.

I already break up tasks and give them breaks but our problem is the break somehow seems to keep extending and as a result their study time! So I need to find a fun way to get the kids back to work once the break is over. I could use a timer? Or I could play fun music for 2-5 mins and once the music stops, its time to get back to work!

4.Make the task seem difficult to achieve.

Start with a review of how efficiently the previous home work was completed so kids have a success set point to look back to.

God knows how many motivational pep talks I give the boys! We also talk about previous achievements but it doesn’t seem to perk them up anymore . What if I put up a tangible graph of progress? Sometimes kids need to see it, to believe it.I  could keep plotting as they work and at the end of the month we could take a look at the completed graph.

5.Accompany and follow-up with threats and criticism.

Appropriated guidance when needed ,encouragement and specific praise upon task completion.

I know I don’t rush in to help them at the slightest frown and give lots of specific praise . What else can I do to keep them motivated? I could give detailed written notes of praise instead of just saying it. I could print out excellence awards or certificates to appreciate extra efforts and perseverance .

This is a simple example to use the reverse technique to come up with creative solutions.This can be applied to brainstorm ideas in any scenario . It can be most effective with kids when discussing behavior expectations or team work because kids need to first understand what is not acceptable, to be able to grasp what is.  Sometimes to come up with ideas for what we want, we need to be absolutely clear about what we don’t want! It is only when the fog clears that we are able to see the rainbow. So all you wonderful folks ,keep flexing your creative muscles and don’t forget to comment below and tell me if you found this useful and how this technique helped you.

Image courtesy :Pixabay

 

 

 

 

 

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7 thoughts on “There are always two sides to a coin

  1. I’m so glad that you visited my blog so I could find yours. I really struggle with structure in my life and with the kids. I also get stressed and anxious and when I do that, I do the reverse of what you suggest…turn a small thing into a huge monster with huge teeth, enormous claws and a ravenous appetite. I’ll be reblogging this and printing it out! Thanks very much! xx Rowena

    Liked by 1 person

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