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Lateral thinking

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NEW APPROACH: We have to move beyond our initial response to solve problems.
NEW APPROACH: We have to move beyond our initial response to solve problems.

A starving beggar prayed “O God! Help me. I promise to give you half of what I get today.” Surprisingly he found a hundred rupee note on the roadside.

Having spent it totally, he was fearful of the punishment for breaking his promise.

And his tension increased as days passed. Then he had an idea. He went to the temple and prayed: “God! Give me another hundred rupees and I promise to give half of it”. As he did not find it, he asserted, “Hope you settled my account. Thank you.”

This was my first story written at the age of 17.

The term ‘lateral thinking’ was coined in 1967 by Edward do Bono, which contemplates taking our thought process one step ahead.

It sets out to challenge one of our illusions. In every situation, we think that we are in possession of all the facts and factors, ways and means. No. We are not.

We have to move beyond our initial response to solve the problem through an unexpected angle.

New ways of thinking gives more comfort to life. For example, Talcum powders and shampoo bottles earlier had caps that are replaced by more convenient lid systems now. Lifts, pipes and escalators absorb lot of precious space inside the building, and many star hotels and multi-floored shopping malls shifted to capsule lifts outside the building adding more glamour to it.

The following example, quoted by Edward Bono illustrates the concept of lateral thinking in a precise way. Suppose you are going in a deep forest on a stormy night and find three people, a doctor, who saved your life when you were young, a 90-year-old lady suffering from asthma requiring immediate hospitalisation and the third one being your dream girl /boy. If you have only one seat in your car, to whom would you offer it? Sentimentalists, who are 87 p.c. in this world, prefer to offer it to the old lady. Realists, amounting to 22 per cent say that they prefer to take the doctor, who is more beneficial to the society. Materialists of course prefer their ideal he or she by their side.

Lateral thinking advocates a win/win move. How about giving your keys to the doctor to take the old lady to the hospital and staying with your dream person in the forest on a rainy night?

YANDAMOORI VEERENDRANATH

yandamoori@hotmail.com


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