Using a Modifying Word List
For more creative solutions to problems we need to get our
minds looking in new directions. A systematic way to do this
is to use a list of idea-generating words - primarily adjectives
- to create "what if?" scenarios. Begin with the question,
"What if it was..." and insert a word from the list.
"It" can the problem you're trying to solve, or the
situation or solution that exists at the moment.
For an example of the technique in action, we'll pretend you
want a better job, and that you are a clerk at a bookstore. You
aren't satisfied with the work, and it also doesn't pay well.
You pull out the word list and ask "What if it was..."
That makes you think of a better position perhaps. It also
makes you think of a larger store, where you might be paid more,
or have more opportunity for advancement.
The problem could be smaller if you got a raise, and found
a few ways to make the work more interesting. Maybe a smaller
store would pay even less per hour, but be open to your ideas
for increasing sales, and pay you a percentage of profits.
This make you realize that you have been too narrow in your
search. It could be worth driving a little to get a better higher-paying
job. Maybe it's even time to move to another town.
Could you get a job nearby and sell your car? The money saved
would be like a large raise.
Selling magazines by phone like your friend does would be
more difficult, but he makes $5 an hour more than you. If you
hate the job anyway, why not make more money?
Take notes as you do this exercise, and develop the ideas
later. Most words won't give you useful ideas, but don't dismiss
them without a few seconds of thought. Creative solutions can
begin with unrelated thoughts. "What if it was hopeless?"
may seem useless, but it could also bring you to the useful realization
that you need a business instead of a job.
The Modifying Word List
The list here is a basic one. Use it as is, but remember that
there are hundreds of idea-generating words you could add to
it. Any adjectives, descriptive phrases, or words that can change
your perspective can be potentially useful.
What if it was...
Why not make your own modifying word list now (or print out
this one), and keep it handy?