Geniuses think productively, not reproductively. When confronted with a problem, they ask themselves how many different ways they can look the problem, how they can rethink it, and how many different ways they can solve it, instead of asking how they have been taught to solve it….
Leonardo da Vinci believed that to gain knowledge about the form of a problem, you began by learning how to restructure it to see it in many different ways. He felt the first way he looked at a problem was too biased toward his usual way of seeing things. He would look at his problem from one perspective and move to another perspective and still another. With each move, his understanding would deepen, and he would begin to understand the essence of the problem. Leonardo called this thinking strategy saper vedere or “knowing how to see.”
Michalko, Michael (2011-04-13). Cracking Creativity: The Secrets of Creative Genius. Clarkson Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony. Kindle Edition.
I like to think that I am like Leonardo in that I try to look at things from different angles instead of just concentrating on my first thoughts which are often biased in one regard or another. I like to think that, but too often I am just too lazy to do the work required to think beyond my current worldview. I’m afraid my laziness is somewhat typical in that regard. But, at least I try to get out of my box and see things differently on occasion.
Looking at things from different angles is critical in really understanding the world around us. Sometimes we just get too complacent, or maybe too lazy, to keep an open mind on much of how we view life. We should all get into the practice of saying “what if” more often. We should all realize that maybe we don’t have all the answers and even the answers we think we currently have just may be wrong.
Knowing how to see is primary to being insightful and isn’t that something we all strive to be? Let’s purposely chose to look at things from one perspective and then move on to another and still another. I know this would be very foreign to most of us. We, especially in the U.S., seem to lock on to one way of looking at things and them totally disregard the rest. That fact seems totally obvious given our dysfunctional government and by our bipolar society. What if we tried to put ourselves into someone else’s shoes?
Debating teams, which used to be somewhat common in our educational system is great at fostering looking at things from other points of view. A topic is presented for debate and one team is given the task of argue for the topic and one against it. It forces the team members to look at things from different perspectives. But I suspect the true art of debating is pretty much lost in many generations now. I know it is gone from our political debates. All they are about now is sticking to your message no matter what the topic is. They are about never saying anything that might offend their base.