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Shifting Focus for Creative Breakthroughs
Self Excellence » Personal Development

Chrm Message From: jagadish Total Posts: 52 Join Date: 30/09/2006
Rank: Manager Post Date: 24/06/2007 01:20:54 Points: 260 Location: United States

Hi Readers,

They say the last dejected effort often becomes the winning stroke. We keep hearing about how persistence is often the key to success. Give it just one more shot. And then one more. You never know what will happen. Glory and big achievements don't happen when everything goes your way. Sometimes, we can find victory in the effort.

How do we do that? You may wonder! The magic is in shifting focus. Doing that leads us to possibilities unknown, rewards never expected and opportunities never envisaged.

Many creative breakthroughs occur when focus is shifted from one angle of a problem to another. This is also called creative insight.

Shifting focus comes more in use when the focus is on solving the problem. The goal of shifting focus is to solve the problem, not to implement a particular solution. This is normally used when one solution path is not working. In shifting focus, there is no commitment to a particular path, only to a particular goal. Because being fixated on a particular path or solution can become a problem in itself and can lead to creative frustration.

A classic example of shifting focus is what I'd read a couple of years back. This is not verbatim, but captures the essence of this method.
A tall rise office complex, somewhere in the US had only one elevator. So, for the elevator to travel the whole of 20 floors and back with stops would take about 14 minutes. Which expectedly caused a lot of irritation in the people who worked there.

A lot of solutions were sought. The 'second' elevator was one of the first solutions but seemingly the high cost of erecting it discouraged the estate management. A high-speed elevator was solution number two and was implemented. It brought the travel time down from 14 to 10 minutes, which in relative terms was no respite for the people. The waiting time and in turn, the irritation levels were still high.

Brainstorming sessions followed. Lots of ideas were generated and then someone suggested a shift in focus. "What exactly is the problem?", someone asked. "The hyper, irritated employees waiting endlessly for the elevator", was the reply.

"What irritates them?" asked someone. "The wait", replied the estate manager.

"So, let's work on something that makes their 'wait' worthwhile". "How do we do that?" asked the estate manager. "Provide them with something to do while they wait". "People love to admire themselves. They can spend hours in front of a mirror making sure their hair is just right, the shave is perfect, the shoes are shining, the wrinkles on their dresses are not visible, the eyeliner is just right, the lipstick has still not been eaten away, the mascara hasn't spread even a bit, the gold pendant is not hidden behind the collar, oh! there's no end to what people can do in front of a mirror". "So, let's change the paneling of the foyer and have mirrors all around."

It worked.

The travel time of the elevator didn't come down, but the irritation levels surely did. People found something worthwhile to keep them engrossed while they waited. The problem was solved, finally, not from its original perspective, but by shifting focus on solving the problem... and not really the cause of it.

So, the next time, you're stuck with something, look at it from a different perspective and voilaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!

Thanks for your time and attention.


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