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The Secrets to Raising a Smarter Child
- By Inderbir Sandhu, Ph.D


Applying Edward de Bono's Principles - Lateral Thinking

By Andrew Loh

"Intelligence is something we are born with. Thinking is a skill that must be learned." - Edward de Bono

Lateral thinking theory developed and pioneered by Dr. Edward de Bono, provides a deliberate, well-planned and systematic process that eventually results in creative thinking and problem solving abilities. Lateral thinking process assists you in many ways like:

  • Think in a creative manner

  • Convert difficult problems into definite opportunities

  • Help increase number of ideas and new vistas by using and adapting unconventional thinking techniques and methods.

  • Tap the hidden talents and skills to find solutions to problems.

Now, people may ask this common question - do we need to enhance lateral thinking abilities in our children? The answer is very simple as well. Your children need to improve and enhance lateral thinking process to achieve academic excellence, professional rewards and social responsibilities. Your children also need lateral thinking in many other ways like:

  • Innovate things and ideas

  • Generate new suggestions

  • Develop new concepts

  • Solve problems in a creative manner

  • Challenge and encounter instances of status quo to arrive at possible solutions

When your children apply the principles of lateral thinking, they can also learn a number of unusual techniques and methods like:

Apply the idea of alternatives - This technique helps your children to breed, nurture and develop new ideas and suggestions. New ideas can lead to better thinking skills that are newer in approach. When your children learn the method to seek solutions to a problem in an alternative manner, they can enhance their brain with better thinking processes.

Let us say that your children want to cut a cake. The most obvious method to cut cake is to use a knife. In fact, this idea belongs to vertical thinking. More than 90% of people in the world use this obvious technique. However, some children have the ability to think in an alternative manner to arrive at solutions that are more radical. One simple method used by them is to use a piece of twine to cut the cake into two. This method is unusual and different and it is a fresh alternative.

Apply focus and concentration - Focus and concentration are two of the most important aspects of problem solving. Without focus, your children can never achieve excellence in their classroom nor can they solve any problem by using thinking processes. Training our children to focus on the underlying problems will help them to examine the problem in an analytical manner.

Example: Let us say that your children want to cut apples into two pieces. They also know how to look at the problem in an unusual manner by using lateral thinking method. Now, their immediate concern is to focus on the problem and find solutions. They may need to focus on the problem to look at it in different perspectives. One of your children may like to tie the twine around the apple to cut it, while other may like to hold the twine with their two hands and just slice it from top to bottom.

Face the problem as a challenge - Every problem is a challenge! Solving any problem requires effort and dedication. Your children may need to treat problems as a challenge and treat it as immediate priority. Lateral thinking is a potent weapon that can help your children to solve any challenging problem.

Some of the most productive ways of encouraging your child's lateral thinking skills is providing different puzzles, riddles and mind games. These puzzles and riddles are an unusual way of developing new ideas to solve any problems. They also help you create and identify new concepts and ideas. Another benefit of using these little tools is finding new and innovative ways to convert problems into solutions.

Children who use lateral thinking will always come with unusual solutions that are unorthodox as well. They can also make newer discoveries that are unheard or found. For children who are adept at solving problems by using lateral thinking, the causes of the problems are irrelevant and unimportant. In fact, they could be invaluable tools for solving the problems.

Lateral thinking is a very powerful tool that allows your children to think and act outside the usual box. Many children simply fail because they tie themselves up with a mode of thinking that is obvious and common. Developing lateral thinking offers a number of benefits and advantages. One of the most significant benefits is your children's ability to find solutions to any complex problems that are far more superior to other solutions. 

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Serious Creativity
By Edward de Bono

Edward de Bono is regarded by many to be the leading authority in the world in the field of creative thinking and the direct teaching of thinking as a skill. He has written 62 books with translations into 37 languages and has been invited to lecture in 54 countries. He is the originator of lateral thinking that treats creativity as the behavior of information in a self-organizing information system - such as the neural networks in the brain. From such a consideration, arise the deliberate and formal tools of lateral thinking, parallel thinking etc.

According to Edward de Bono "Complacent, adequate, sufficient all imply that something is not wrong or bad. Our normal language and thinking behavior does not have a convenient way of saying: "That is excellent but not enough". Or we might need to say "That is excellent but that is only part of the picture".


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