By Sebastian Montenegro, participant in CPSI’s YouthWise Program
Typically, problems stress people out. When you don’t have the answer, you feel unprepared and worry that you won’t be able to deliver the solution needed. Creative Problem Solving (CPS) gives you confidence even when you don’t have the solutions because CPS teaches you how to find answers.
Before learning CPS, I tried to find the one right answer to every problem. This would lead to me giving up right off the bat without even trying. This year at the Creative Problem Solving Institute (CPSI), I clarified the true power of divergent and convergent thinking. Specifically, when you ideate from an unconventional starting point, you have more possibilities to choose from. Also, divergent thinking allows you to look at many possibilities without the pressure of having to have the one right answer in the beginning. Convergent thinking allows you to take your time to find what really has value and makes sense.
The power of separating divergent and convergent thinking allows you to see more ideas and explore more possibilities that you might otherwise miss or race past. Think about making a decision on what to write a story about. If you start by saying you have to write the best adventure story, you automatically eliminate many other possible themes and limit the creative potential of doing something different. But imagine starting by saying, “What are all the themes I might write about that I would like and that my audience would enjoy?” You might come up with romantic stories, or comedy, or even a horror comedy with the backdrop of a romantic story. More options opens up your field of vision to the more unique possible story to write.
For me as a teenager, CPS takes the stress out of thinking I have to know the one right thing to do, and introduces possibility and choice.