What are some ways to increase creativity in decision making?

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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First it is vital to define that creativity, as opposed to intelligence, or play academic attainment, is a skill that is gifted to some individuals, while for others it is instilled only through behaviorism, that is, through learning through steps and training how to be more creative.

This is because creativity is the ability to take something that has been concreted and established and re-construct it over in a completely different direction. It is literally the process of re-thinking and re-directing our thinking which, to many people, can be quite a challenge.

This being said, applying creativity to choice making is essential because choice-making will always involve an amount of emotional investment; hence, to be satisfied with our choices, we need to negotiate the potential emotional gains and losses that will inevitably come with making a final decision.

Therefore, creativity is the most viable way to match emotions with choices. To tap on our creative side, whether we are left or right-brain thinkers, we first need to create awareness of how we feel about the choice to be made.

When we recognize stressors, anxieties, terrors, anger, or fears in making choices, then we must brainstorm how to bring our thoughts to a point where they do not interfere with our objectivity. However, the process of decision making involves the same skills as problem solving because both use deductive and inductive thinking to reach a final outcome. This being said, creativity can be tapped on by:

a) brainstorming alternatives- focusing on one, blank emotion, consider all the if/then scenarios that come with a choice.

b) listing outcomes (list-making)- create multiple if/then scenarios. Use objects to represent people based on their personalities/

c) journaling (analyzing and synthesizing)- even when there is no time to keep a diary, one can easily make "snap notes" of facts that affect decision-making as they pop up in our brains. Paper sticky notes, or electronic sticky notes help us keep track of our train of thought.

d) color coding (classifying/categorizing)- as emotions change, so do our likes and dislikes on an hourly basis. Hence, learning to recognize and color code our moods will help us understand whether we are choosing things out of anger, out of stress, or our of fear. As we gather data that will be use to make a final choice, it is a good idea to categorize the data according to how it makes us feel. Recognizing our emotions and facing them will at least release the added stress of not knowing where anxieties are coming from.

e) using objects (making representations)- when we transfer our energy onto an object we release stress. Hence, a creative way to apply to decision making is making representations by using objects. Choice A, could be represented by a pen, while choice B is a pencil. You can represent people with objects, or make an artistic representation of what you wish the outcome to be.

f) role playing (acting it out)- when we role-play we allow ourselves the chance to view one same problem from another person's perspective. It helps us understand the other person's attitudes as well. It is a great way to easily move out of our comfort zone.

These are just a few ways to increase and apply creativity, but keep in mind that it is no different than finding creative ways to solve just about any problem that arises all of a sudden.

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