Thinking…. a process that distinguishes human beings from other living species on the planet. It is a trait that can be developed over the years. But, honestly, I’d like to ask, how many of us have used this endowment in its complete utility? How many have understood the true potential of one’s mind and thought process? I’m afraid but only a few… very few….

Actually, rather ironically, we are not responsible for this. Since the very formative years of our lives, we are encouraged to adopt the technique of thinking that is primarily concerned with judging the true value of statements sand seeking errors. This traditional technique is called critical thinking or vertical thinking. Most people still believe that the traditional vertical thinking is perhaps the only form of effective thinking. But, in this era of stiff competition is it not necessary to rise above the average and do things differently… rather more effectively?

Last week I came across a book by a renowned philosopher and thinker, Dr. Edward De Bono, which inspired me to write this piece. He emphasized on the fact that thinking is a skill and if developed, it can work miracles. He urged the readers to adopt a strategy called LATERAL THINKING. Lateral thinking is not a substitute for the traditional vertical thinking but a necessary complement. Logical thinking is incomplete without lateral thinking. The twin aspects of lateral thinking are first the provocative use of information and second the challenge to the accepted concepts.

Thinking is generated by the mind, thus it becomes important to understand what goes inside it. The mind is a pattern-making system. It creates the pattern out of the environment and then uses such patterns. This is the basis of its effectiveness. In logical thinking we have developed no methods for going beyond the adequate.As soon as something satisfactory is spotted, our mind stops working. But there are numerous better unexplored arrangements of information beyond the adequate.These arrangements can be explored through lateral thinking. With lateral thinking one can proceed beyond the adequate with insight restructuring.Vertical thinking is selective, lateral thinking is generative. Rightness is what matters in vertical thinking, richness is what matters in lateral  thinking. Thus, it becomes necessary to train our minds to generate alternate approaches and avenues to facilitate better thinking.

In simple words, vertical thinking activates the black and white regions of our intellect, lateral thinking creates a GREY region and works on it! The ball is in our court now. We must delve into our minds and try to develop a strategy which enables us to think above the rest and rise above the ordinary.

Just THINK about it!

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