What is Lateral thinking ? At it’s basic core, lateral thinking is nothing more than the ability of viewing challenges in a new light – this often leads to creative problem solving. In practise this means shedding your comfort zone and embracing an environment of challenges. For leaders and entrepreneurs , it means taking a creative leap.
It may be easier said than done, as it takes time and effort to break away from the chains of established tradition. Lateral thinking is about viewing a problem from a different angle, and coming up with ‘unexpected’ solutions to everyday problems. There are many lessons from history – here is one of my favourites, based on a true story.
Mahatma Gandhi was once boarding a train in India, when one of his shoes slipped off and got caught on the track. He tried to pull it up and could not because the train had started to move and gain momentum. In a flash, Gandhi reached for the shoe on the other foot, and threw it down towards the fast-disappearing other shoe on the track. People standing near watched him. The astonished passengers asked “Why did you throw the other shoe onto the track?” Gandhi replied ” Ah well, if someone was to find one of my shoes, hopefully he’ll find the other one too, and thus have a fine pair of shoes for himself.” Giving away that second shoe was quite a luxury for most of his countrymen in those days.
What a man !! And what a wonderful response and way to think ?
How many of us turn a bad situation into a good one ? How many of us see the brighter side of a difficult situation? We tend to focus more on what we don’t have. Our mind zeroes in on what we’ve lost. More so in these times of the Covid pandemic. Maybe it’s time we shift our focus.
Lateral thinking involves shifting focus.