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Lateral Thinking


Throughout our education, we are accustomed to think in linear or vertical manner.

If a => b, and b => c, then a =>c.

2 + 3 has to be 5. It can't be 6. It can't be 4.

If you increase the temperature of water to 100 degrees centigrade, it boils.

There can't be any ambiguity in these.

Vertical thinking is mostly logical and relies on 'the more you know, the better you get in solving the problem'. This approach help us most of the problems that normally are end of our Mathematics and Science books in school.

However, as we come outside of our school campuses and step into the dog eat dog world, linear thinking doesn't take us far. The problems we face in our professional and personal lives are never straight forward. There is never a right or wrong answer, that can solve these practical issues.

Lateral Thinking, expounded by the world-renowned philosopher and writer in this classic book, comes to the rescue. According to Bono, lateral thinking is creative and relies on 'thinking in an explorative manner to find different possibilities'.

Vertical thinking is concerned with digging the same hole deeper. Lateral thinking is concerned with digging the holes at multiple places to see if we can get better results elsewhere.

It is wrong to think that lateral thinking is the be-all and end-all of all possible problems in the world. Sometimes logical and linear thinking too could prove to be much effective when lateral thinking goes tangential. I believe, vertical thinking and lateral thinking complement each other.

As students of life, we need to master both.

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