She's raising money to benefit the Christopher and Dana Reeve foundation, and I urge everyone to go take a look.
Learning to think positively is one of the best ways to have more and better creative ideas. It's also one of the most overlooked.
The reason is simple: we spend most of our lives learning how to be excellent critical thinkers.
Our schools teach us how to evaluate information expertly, to justify our arguments with quantifiable data and (especially) to find and eliminate weaknesses.
Then, we get to the workplace, and have the added pressure of needing to know right away whether a new idea is something that is worthwhile for the company to pursue.
When it's about the bottom-line and efficiency, it's absolutely essential to examine every idea through a magnifying glass.
As a result, when presented with a new idea, people immediately start thinking...
- What's wrong with it?
- Why won't this work?
- What parts of this idea are obviously unacceptable?
- How much will this cost?
- Who else has already done something like this unsuccessfully?
- Is this really going to work?
Notice how none of those questions are about what is positive about the idea? (And it's even worse if people are evaluating someone else's idea!)
No one asks...
- What's really good about this idea?
- How could we make it work?
- What parts of this idea are worth building on to come up with new ideas?
The big trouble is that most people don't even notice that they do this. It's so easy and natural to jump into critical mode that everyone does it immediately. And everyone thinks they're being helpful.
What's really helpful though is to stop giving ideas a "will this work" test by making a deliberate effort to seek the positive aspects of every idea.
Creativity guru Edward de Bono has a very effective way to do this called Plus, Minus, Interesting (PMI).
The concept is very simple.
(P) List all the positive aspects of the idea--even if you hate the idea.
(M) List the negative aspects of the idea--even if you love the idea.
(I) List any interesting thoughts that came up that are not positive or negative.
It helps to have a set goal of positive and negative points to achieve (like 10 positives and 10 negatives), and to stick to that goal. That makes you stretch to see benefits/negatives in an idea you hate/love.
It's also very important to start with the positive things about an idea, instead of the negative.
This works because it forces us to balance our original (usually critical) thinking about an idea's value with a look at the other side.
It looks easy, and like something everyone does already, but it's not. Usually people focus on only the positives or negatives about an idea, and only give the other aspects a glance.
Want to give it a try in the spirit of Positive Thinking day?
Try evaluating this idea:
"Creative thinking should be a required subject at school."
Give me 3 positives, 3 negatives and 1+ interesting things that could happen if this occurred.
Like this post? Try...
The Power of Positive Thinking in Innovation