“You spin my head, right round, right round,
when you go down, when you go down down.”
That’s the refrain from a song by Flo.Rida but the similarity with this post ends with the lyrics.
Consider the following scenarios:
- Your boss gives you a good hearing and piece of his/her mind. You haven’t achieved the targets this month and have not really worked on the feedback from the previous quarter. The day ends in misery.
- The results of your fifth semester exams of graduation have just been declared. The downward trend of your grades have hit rock bottom. You’ve almost run out of semesters to make up for it. Disaster is knocking.
- You’ve started your own business but the revenues or cash registers just fail to start filling up. Even if they do, it doesn’t take much time for the money to go away. Big-time problems in the offing
These and many more situations like these are what we better know as ‘back-to-square-one‘ type of situations. I’m sure all of us have been through such times (including me 🙂 ). Sometimes, irrespective of the path or action chosen, we tend to end up at the same point where we started from.
We can understand this ‘back-to-square-one’ phenomenon with the help of a concept we had learnt in school. I’m talking about the geometrical concept of Tangents to a circle. The mathematical definition states that,
“A tangent, in geometry, is a straight line through a point on a curve that has the direction at that point as the curve.“
Quite simply put, this is how a tangent looks like and if you look very closely, it resembles the image of Q at the beginning of this post. The letter Q can be thought of as a tangent and this is where we come back to our central discussion. The circle is, pretty much, how things go on in our lives. Our careers, our education, our married life, our families, our thoughts, opinions and intellect, all are governed by this Circle of life. However, just like the central dot of the diagram, even we find ourselves stuck in a circle at different points in life. We keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again. The same obstacles keep cropping up and the same situation comes up before us. In such testing circumstances, we realize that the time has come to move out from the circle plaguing our thoughts at that time. The transition from the circle to the tangent has to take place.
This transition from the circle to the tangent is what is nowadays very popularly known as ‘out-of-the-box‘ or creative thinking. Creativity removes the barriers which you might have been facing and in fact, it becomes the single most important strategy which you can adopt, given the circumstances.
Creative or Tangential thinking is the buzzword nowadays, with large organizations, governments, industries talking a lot about it. The question is, how does one generate it? How does one move from the circular thinking to a tangential approach? It’s easier said than done. Tangential thinking is something which needs to become a habit rather than acquired overnight. We just saw in the case of the letter Q, by applying a little force, the path can be changed from a circular to a tangential one. Some of the ways in which you can generate that force of tangential thinking is enlisted below, though it is not an exhaustive list:
- Read a lot, on various topics, authors, themes, genres. Basically, reading brings about a different level of awareness which cannot be obtained from some other source. However, this method is more of a journey rather than something which you finish in one evening.
- Interact with lots of people, especially experts, teachers and professionals but do so with an open mind. Don’t let any barrier, hurdles or prejudices come in your way of interaction. It will give an insight into the psyche of people from different backgrounds and shall make you more resilient.
- If you have an idea on the lines of tangential thinking, execute it. Don’t think too much about the risks involved. The worst that could happen is that you would fail but remember, failure is also an experience, which is equivalent to any degree or qualification.
So, while you take off to discover the Q in your lives, the turning point from where the circle of your life deviates to meet the tangent of creativity, let these words from ‘The Lion King’ resonate in your ears,
“It’s the circle of life and moves us all. through despair and hope, through faith and love, til’ we find our place, on the path unwinding.”