Do You Think Within the Perceived Answers or Find Your Own?

by Debbie Ruston, Featured Contributor

IS IT HALF FULL or half empty?  This is a question that has been around for many years and used to help individuals recognize what they are focusing on….the positive (half full) or the negative (half empty).

We live in a this or that type decision world.  We are conditioned to believe there is a right and wrong answer, or, we must chose between this option or that option.  We believe it can only be this or that…and believe we have to keep fitting within the walls of choices presented to us.

questions-answersInstead, there are other options that many don’t consider.  What if the glass is both….and it is your choice what you chose to focus on.  In addition, it is full…half with liquid or solid, and half with air.  Or another approach, what if you measured the bottom half…it might be 47% full and 53% empty, but to the eye, it may look like half.  Or, you could suggest that it can’t be full to the brim because it would spill, so you lose a couple of percentages.  There are all kinds of possibilities.  This is  innovative, thinking outside of the box, out of the norm choices.  So often, people never even consider thinking outside the box, and thinking about solutions that haven’t been presented.

The other day our daughter was making us BLT’s.  She asked if we wanted avocado on it?  I have never been asked that….traditionally BLT’s have mayo.  For those that cook, it is common to use avocado as a healthier choice over mayo.  Great new discovery!

Whether you are an entrepreneur, or an employee, to start thinking more innovatively, start asking yourself different questions.

-What is another way to do this
-Is there another way to solve this challenge
-What haven’t I done yet
-Is there something  I am missing
-Is there someone I could get advice from that has experience in this
-If I wasn’t afraid to _____, what would I do
-Who is doing this differently that I could learn from
-Is there something new I can study that will help me learn more about this
-How can I get around this
-Why couldn’t I ______

These are just a few examples to get you started.  But there are literally hundreds of questions you can ask yourself in any situation, to start thinking more outside the box.  We all have a creative side to our brains, some use this naturally, and some have to develop it.  I used to be a very analytical thinker, very much in the box.  I have learned to utilize the other side, that creative side of my brain.  It is freeing and fascinating to tap into this side of the brain and discover new possibilities you have never considered.  My first introduction to this, was reading a great book by Dan Pink called Drive.  It opened up part of my brain that I didn’t believe prior to reading this,  I was capable of.

Individuals that take this thinking on, being innovative, solution oriented, developing ideas that others haven’t considered will set themselves ahead of those that live in a limited, conformed mindset.  It is a necessary skill to develop to thrive in the 21st century workplace.


Debbie Ruston
Debbie Ruston
ENTREPRENEUR, International Trainer, Visionary Leader – Debbie has been a successful entrepreneur, since 1986 and believes in taking an active stand for true human potential. As the owner of The Success Educator, Debbie has spent her career helping individuals discover their limitations and overcome them and assists people globally in starting their own businesses. She also has a personal passion for education reform and providing youth the knowledge required to succeed in today's changed world.

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