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Lateral Thinking Hobbies

Hobbies and Lateral Thinking

Lateral thinking can be considered an aspect of creativity but still holds value as a distinctive concept. Outside-the-box thinking is rare and hard to achieve, but hobbies can help us practice and cultivate it.

Defining Lateral Thinking

Cambridge Dictionary defines lateral thinking as:

a way of solving a problem by thinking about it in a different and original way and not using traditional or expected methods

The term lateral thinking was first introduced by Edward de Bono in 1967. De Bono uses this story to demonstrate the concept of lateral thinking:

  • A merchant owes money to a moneylender who wants to marry his daughter
  • The moneylender proposes a game with two pebbles in a bag, one black and one white
  • The daughter will draw a pebble. If it is white, the debt is canceled and she stays with her father; if it is black, she marries the moneylender, and the debt is still canceled
  • The daughter notices that the moneylender is cheating by putting two black pebbles in the bag
  • The daughter then uses lateral thinking to outsmart him. She draws a pebble and immediately drops it on the path as if by accident, where it mixes with other pebbles
  • The daughter apologizes and says that the remaining pebble in the bag can be used to reveal the color of the one she picked
  • The moneylender has to admit that the remaining stone is black, so the daughter must have picked the white one
  • The debt is cancelled and the daughter stays with her father

Is Lateral Thinking Valuable, or Pseudoscience?

While some claim lateral thinking to be the most valuable skill in difficult times and the most undervalued problem-solving tool, others criticize the concept.

Antonio Melechi, for example, enthusiastically claims that lateral thinking is pseudoscience. According to Melechi, lateral thinking isn’t distinctive from other concepts, such as creativity and divergent thinking.

While that might be true, it isn’t saying much.

Definition and Its Problems

It is thought that every definition must be made in terms of other concepts; consequently exact and complete definition is impossible.

Definition and Its Problems, Homer H. Dubs

As all definitions are inexact and incomplete, we shouldn’t judge lateral thinking by its definition.

Definition is not itself discipline that exists for its own sake. Definitions are made for use in connection with some purpose.

Definition and Its Problems, Homer H. Dubs

We should instead judge it by its purpose.

Lateral thinking is both a willingness to look at things in different ways and a deliberate process.

Teaching Creative Thinking | deBono

Lateral Thinking as a Specific Aspect of Creativity

We can define lateral thinking as the act of always keeping in mind that all definitions are inexact and incomplete – and using this fact in our favor. Or, as the act of making ourselves conscious about the underlying definitions we unconsciously confine ourselves by, and re-examining them.

While this concept could be filed under creativity, it is possibly not the first aspect that comes to mind when creativity is mentioned.

The Value of Lateral Thinking

Here lies the purpose and the value of lateral thinking as a term: it efficiently communicates a concept, or a specific aspect of another concept. It inspires us to think out of the box – to consider the unlisted options.

Moreover, this specific concept is highly valuable, as most of us are conditioned to seek definitions and stick with them. This makes out-of-the-box thinking rare, and hard to achieve.

Hobbies Are Great Opportunities to Practice Lateral Thinking

As hobbies are activities we are passionate about and pursuing for our own sake, we might feel more free and inspired to think outside the box while engaging in them.

Hobbies can present great opportunities for us to practice our lateral thinking.

Lateral Thinking Hobbies List

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