The Characteristics of Alternative Thinking
Alternative thinking is normal in humans. It’s one of the many types of thinking. People switch between them depending on the situation and how their individual mind operates.
Thinking involves forming ideas and representations of reality, as well as connecting some ideas to others. Moreover, it consists of generating many different ways to solve a problem when you think alternatively. This is just how you come up with original prospects.
But that can’t be all. What else does alternative thinking involve? How can you enhance it? Is it related to other types of thinking? Continue reading to find out the answer to all of these questions and more.
“Try again; you have millions of alternatives. Fill yourself with the bullets of hope and you’ll kill failure with one shot.”
What’s alternative thinking?
This type of thinking is about dealing with ideas, circumstances, and problems from an unusual or uncommon standpoint. Also, this type of perspective is more positive as a rule.
It includes managing emotions, feelings, and thoughts from another position, moving away from pessimism and towards optimism, that is. It also allows you to deal with everyday problems effectively.
An active novel search for solutions
This type of thinking has also been defined as the ability to generate the greatest number of solutions, once you’ve identified or formulated a problem. Thus, it implies coming up with more ideas, many of which are innovative.
In addition, this way of thinking implies going beyond the first thing that comes to your mind when confronting a problem. Therefore, it involves visualizing many possible solutions to the problems or conflicts in your mind in a sort of meditated way. It’s about brainstorming.
Alternative thinking is creative because it’s about imagining all possible solutions to a problem. Thus, these two concepts go hand in hand.
We welcome possible solutions through it, even if they may seem a bit far-fetched at first. It implies not vetoing any thoughts or ideas but opening the doors to them and letting them seduce you.
How to encourage alternative thinking
Are you ready to put this type of thinking into practice? Here are some ideas to get you started:
This is a useful technique to cultivate this type of thinking. You must first identify the problem and write down all the solutions you can think of.
These solutions don’t have to be 100 percent credible or realistic. Just let your mind flow and write down everything that comes to mind. You can filter anything later.
Short- and long-term solutions
Another thing you can do to encourage alternative thinking is to consider possible solutions to the problem in the short and long term. You can even include some medium-term ones.
Firstly, draw three columns on a piece of paper and write short-, medium- and long-term solutions in each one of them. Consider what you could do to solve the problem if it were to drag on, even if it requires a short-term solution.
This will help make your mind more flexible. This is because it helps you adapt to any new realities that may come your way.
Visualize the problem from afar
Another thing you can do to refine your alternate thinking is to try to move away from the problem and stop focusing on it. Instead, visualize it from afar instead, as if it wasn’t yours.
Try to record these ideas so write them down. The important thing is to be able to think of a problem as if it was happening to someone else.
From there, it’ll be easier for you to view it from an outside perspective and look for other ways to solve it rather than what’s “traditional”. Alternative thinking is about moving away from the standard to look for new, more positive ways to do things.
Lateral vs. alternative thinking
Alternative thinking is similar to lateral thinking. In fact, they can complement each other. They’re useful for finding imaginative and original ideas for all types of problems.
Lateral thinking is an approach that moves away from logical reasoning and goes beyond the superficial or what’s involved in simple reasoning. It’s an indirect way to get to the solution of a problem. It’s a type of thinking that, like alternative thinking, employs imagination and creativity. It also stems away from the typical in order to try new ways of arriving at a solution.
Alternative thinking promotes well-being
This way of thinking isn’t only useful for solving practical problems in daily life. It’s also useful for promoting personal well-being, as it involves using a more positive perspective when approaching problems.
Optimism, one of the ingredients of alternative thinking, can improve your mental health. In addition, this kind of thinking also helps you become more flexible. This is because it seeks to find innovative perspectives on things.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Espino, O. (2004) Pensamiento y razonamiento. Pirámide.
- Garnham, A. y Oakhill, J. (1996) Manual de Psicología del Pensamiento. Ed. Paidós.