Neil Thompson’s Lesson for Living – Think laterally

It is Edward de Bono’s name that is most closely associated with the notion of lateral thinking, although the basic idea behind it (the importance of thinking creatively and not getting stuck in tramlines) long predates his work. What de Bono did was to put the ideas across clearly and effectively.

In our day-to-day lives we generally rely on established ways of thinking and behaving. Life would be intolerable if, at every step of the way, we had to think consciously about what we are going to do next or how we are going to do it. Established patterns are needed for dealing with mundane, routine matters. However, the price we pay for this convenience is that there is a danger that we will get stuck in those routines (‘tramlines’, as they are often called) when we need to be thinking more reflectively about the situation we find ourselves in. This is where lateral thinking comes in …

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