Removing Resistance to Visual Thinking

During my high school years, it never dawned upon me how I was being conditioned to learn and think about the information I was studying. However, looking back at my experiences I can finally see today how my journey of learning and processing information wasn’t aligned with the visual thinking principles that I’ve discussed in prior articles. In fact, the process of learning and processing information was as far from “visual” as could be imagined. 🙁

Today I would like to discuss how to remove any resistance you might have to the process of visual thinking.

Letting Go of a Lifetime of Conditioning

Back in high school they never taught me how to think criticallycreatively or how to solve life’s problems. Moreover, they never taught me how to draw pictures or how to represent my thoughts and ideas on paper. Of course I knew how to do these things in kindergarten, however those years were long gone, and consequently my drawing skills and creativity faded off into the sunset as well. 🙁

Why is it that we encourage kids to draw and be creative when their young, and then force them into a world filled with words and numbers?

Of course, words and numbers have their place in visual thinking, however if they are all we use, then we are unfortunately not making use of all the wonderful gifts of creativity we have been given.

Isn’t it about time we reversed this period of conditioning and began living up to our full potential?

Dinner Will Never be the Same Again

Imagine for a moment a visual thinking dinner setting where…

  • WORDS become forks.
  • NUMBERS become knives.
  • PICTURES become spoons.

Now imagine trying to eat a full course meal without the spoons? Yes, of course you can make-do without having all your cutlery on the dinner table, however have you thought about how much more difficult it would be trying to eat your soup without the spoon? Of course you can try to use your fork and knife as a makeshift spoon, but how effective will you really be? How awkward will you look? Don’t you think that this is a really silly way of eating your dinner? ;(

If you understand the metaphor I presented above, then don’t you agree that you would think more effectively, practically, critically, creatively and clearly if you took your mind back to kindergarten and started using visuals (pictures) alongside words and numbers to represent your thoughts and ideas?

Identify Your Problem Solving Strategy

Have you ever struggled to formulate an idea, overcome a problem or make a critical decision? If this sounds like you, then I would like you to go back to that time right now and have a think about how you successfully dealt with a major problem in your life. Did you overcome the problem quickly, or were you for some reason bogged down and therefore struggled to find a solution?

What’s most important here at this stage is to understand the thinking strategy you used to move through this challenge in your life. This period of self-reflection will provide you with insights into your ability to work through problems successfully.

Ask yourself:

How was I thinking about this problem at the time?

What did I say to myself and to others about the problem?

What specific questions was I asking?

Was I asking open-ended or closed-ended questions?

Was I trying to formulate solutions in my head, on paper or in another way?

Did I use any metaphors or analogies to help me reach a solution?

Did I conduct research in order to gather more information about the problem or possible solutions?

Did I ask other people for assistance?

What other resources did I use to help me find a solution?

Where specifically did I acquire these resources?

What specific action did I take to resolve the problem in the end?

Now I would like you to write on a piece of paper the exact steps you took from the beginning when you identified the problem, to the end when you solved the problem in as much detail as possible numbering each step.

This in essence becomes your PPSS (personal problem solving strategy). By honing-in and applying this same strategy to other problems in your life, will help you to overcome your problems far more efficiently and effectively (slight modifications may be required depending on the problem or situation). However, as with everything, I think you will agree with me that there’s always room for improvement.

You might be thinking how in the world does all this relate to the process of visual thinking?

How you’ve learned to solve problems on a daily basis works for you — allowing you to handle the obstacles and challenges that life throws your way every single day. Your method for solving problems is unique to you and it’s something that I would like you to continue developing, growing and expanding by adding another layer to this process, which comes in the form of visual thinking.

I sincerely believe that you are here reading this article because you are a person who has committed to the process of life-long learning. As such, I assume that you therefore believe that everything you do can be enhanced and improved over time to help you achieve faster, better and more fulfilling results in your life. The process of visual thinking can help you get these incredible results if you are patient and take the time to learn and apply the fundamentals.

Finally, I feel it’s fitting to conclude this article by linking the concept of visual thinking to the invention of Apple’s iPad. The iPad is something that you probably never imagined would ever be invented, and certainly not something that you ever thought you needed. I mean… what in the world could ever replace your trusted PC and notebook computer? And yet today you simply can’t imagine living without it. 😉

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