Patterns and Habits

In many of his books, noted Creativity guru Ed DeBono talks about “Lateral Thinking.” What he refers to is a method to break free of familiar, established patterns of thinking – a breakout that allows us to perceive a different reality. Others call it a “rut.”

But let’s be quite clear: Patterns and Habits can be VERY useful! Just consider what life might be like without them!

What do you do when you get up in the morning on a work day? Do you think it could be classified as a Pattern?

  • Wake up, turn off the alarm
  • Go to the bathroom to freshen up; brush teeth, etc.
  • Take a shower, dry off, dry your hair
  • Get dressed
  • Go downstairs, have breakfast, enjoy a cup of coffee (or two…  or tea…) and check the news
  • Jump in the car or go to public transportation; ride to work…

Even the simple “get dressed” line involves a rather complicated pattern – certain items of clothing go on first, or last…

So just think what it might be like if you didn’t have that pattern…

  • Wake up, turn off the alarm
  • Go to the bathroom to freshen up; brush teeth, etc.
  • Take a shower, dry off, dry your hair
  • Go downstairs, have breakfast, enjoy a cup of coffee (or two…  or tea…) and check the news
  • Jump in the car or go to public transportation; ride to work…
  • Get dressed…   oops…

Yes, patterns can be VERY helpful in our daily lives. The problem comes up when we sink into a pattern or habit without knowing it, and the conditions under which that pattern had been helpful no longer apply.

Choose your rut carefully – you could be in it for a long time!

That’s what happens when we encounter a creative block. We tend to fixate on what we have previously known, and literally cannot break out to see a good (and often obvious in retrospect) solution.

The last thing a fish discovers is water.