Get out your pencil and some paper

Alright, is everyone ready?

The class I just finished taking was creative problem solving (The University of Oklahoma but the professor came to the island for a week of classes). Since I had so much fun in this class I wanetd to pass along some of my learning to you. My personal topic that I presented on was a lot of fun, but I am going to save that for now. Instead I wanted to get everyone thinking about paradigms (sets of rules) and preconceptions.

One of the other students did their presentation on LATERAL THINKING and I wanted to share this today. Actually, most of you have done these puzzles before. I know I have, but I didn't realize what it was called and I certainly didn't realize practicing with these puzzles would benefit me in any way.
So what is lateral thinking. This was created by Edward de Bono in 1967 and his direct use is the current definition now in the dictionary. One of his explanations is this:

With logic you start out with certain ingredients just as in playing chess you start out with given pieces. But what are those pieces? In most real life situations the pieces are not given, we just assume they are there. We assume certain perceptions, certain concepts and certain boundaries. Lateral thinking is concerned not with playing with the existing pieces but with seeking to change those very pieces. Lateral thinking is concerned with the perception part of thinking. This is where we organise the external world into the pieces we can then 'process'.

So the idea is to really get your mind working and to break free from preconceived ideas. Let's give it a try. I am going to share with you some of these puzzles, at the end of my post I will have the answers for you, so I won't leave anyone hanging on the edge of their chairs.

1. You are driving down the road in your car on a wild, stormy night, when you pass by a bus stop and you see three people waiting for the bus:

An old lady who looks as if she is about to die.
An old friend who once saved your life.
The perfect partner you have been dreaming about.
Knowing that there can only be one passenger in your car, whom would you choose?

2. How could a baby fall out of a twenty-story building onto the ground and live?

3. A man and his son are in a car crash. The father is killed and the child is taken to hospital gravely injured. When he gets there, the surgeon says, 'I can't operate on this boy - for he is my son!!!' How can this possibly be?

4. A man lives in the penthouse of an apartment building. Every morning he takes the elevator down to the lobby and leaves the building. Upon his return, however, he can only travel halfway up in the lift and has to walk the rest of the way - unless it's raining. What is the explanation for this?

5. A man walks into a bar and asks for a drink. The bartender pulls out a gun and points it at him. The man says, "Thank you," and walks out.

6. A man is returning from Switzerland by train. If he had been in a non-smoking car he would have died.

7. A woman has incontrovertible proof in court that her husband was murdered by her sister. The judge declares, "This is the strangest case I've ever seen. Though it's a cut-and-dried case, this woman cannot be punished."

Ok, times up...pencils down. Now I did say I would provide all of the answers, but first I will take an "intermission" to share with you some photos of the little guys in the backyard. They are not newborns, but they are also not full grown cows. They are really cute but have not interest in us. We tried to offer them some grass by they were not into us trying to get close enough to pet them.

So, these are pictures of the 4 cows that are now in our backyard. We have closed off the area so the dog can't get inside in an atempt to herd them!

They are really cute and I am glad they do not make too much noise. When we had one back there before that was full sized it made a lot of noise when it wanted to. I could only imagine 4 cows having a moo-fest out there.
Now, get that paper back out and let's check your answers. Let's see if everyone has mastered the art of lateral thinking:

1. The old lady of course! After helping the old lady into the car, you can give your keys to your friend, and wait with your perfect partner for the bus.

2. The baby fell out of a ground floor window.

3. The surgeon can not operate on her own son; she is his mother.

4. The man is a dwarf. He can't reach the upper elevator buttons, but he can ask people to push them for him. He can also push them with his umbrella.

5. The man has hiccups; the bartender scares them away by pulling a gun.

6. The man used to be blind -- he's returning from an eye operation which restored his sight. He spent all his money on the operation, so when the train (which had no internal lighting) goes through a tunnel, he thinks he's gone blind again and decides to kill himself. But before he could do it, he saw the light of the cigarettes people were smoking and realized he could still see.

7. The sisters are Siamese twins.

Well, how did everyone do? Great job. I know it is tough to break those paradigms and preconceived ideas. This can be really helpful when confronted with a situation or problem. Thinking this way can snap you out a that one track mind and maybe will shed some light on a situation you may be working through. Over the next few posts I am going to try to share some more great ideas for problem solving and tell you about some of the fun activities we did in this class. Oh, if you are interested in more lateral thinking puzzles there are plenty online. You can always google search. The ones I used today came from these sites:

Ok, so last up I have some food pictures. I am trying to get back into a normal schedule but I really wasn't ready to spend a lot of time preparing dinner, so this is what I chose to make last night.
Gotta love Trader Joe's!
It seems I did OK with the high school subbing since I was asked this morning to cover for the Math/Physics teacher tomorrow through Friday. I did say yes, but I am really hoping I can get all of my other work done and catch up on cleaning and organizing around the house. I enjoyed the subbing and the kids, so let's hope this time goes well too.

QUESTIONS: Have you ever done a lateral thinking puzzle before? Did you know that was called lateral thinking? Do you have a favorite lateral thinking puzzle you would like to share?


Gina; The Candid RD said...

That was awesome! I have heard a couple of those before, but not most. I love doing stuff like that, but I'll admit I'm no good at it :( I need more practice!!

Love the cows :)

Nutritious is Delicious said...

That was waaay too much fun! :D

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Aww cows are so cute :)

Sweta (My Indian Dietitian) said...

Great puzzles-it was fun trying to guess :)
Choley is my fave (Indian)dish with garbanzo-glad you like it too!!

Anonymous said...

I love the picture of the cows! :)

The quiz was fun! I believe I first learned about lateral thinking in one of my psych classes way back when...

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, it's too late at night and I don't think my brain is working. I'm bookmarking this so that I can go back tomorrow morning and look it through! lol!

Unknown said...

Wow that is too neat! I'm going to look up more of those puzzles tomorrow.

PS I've never been to Trader Joes so now you have me very jealous of your Indian meal! That looks so tasty :) Have a wonderful weekend!

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