When people use their imagination to develop new ideas, those ideas are heavily structured in predictable ways by the properties of those existing categories and concepts. In genius, there is a tolerance for unpredictable avenues of thought.

A way to break up your rigidity of thinking is to deliberately explore the absurd and unusual. When you come up with crazy or fantastical ideas, you step out­side your cone of expectations. This gives you the freedom from design or commitment and allows you to juxtapose things which would not otherwise have been arranged in this way and to construct a sequence of events which would not otherwise have been constructed.

One way to help you do this is with guided imagery adventures which are intuitive creative thinking techniques. These techniques helps you overcome “conscious cramp” (the mental strain which comes from overusing your conscious mind) and allows the images and messages that are always present to come nto your consciousness. Once retrieved, they may almost seem like a lonely and mysterious poetry that leads the way to ideas and insights in accordance with some secret design.

This article describes one technique titled “Three Doors,” which is one of the many intuitive techniques from my book THINKERTOYS.

First formulate and write a definite question about your challenge. Relax. Breathe deeply and slowly. With each breath, your lungs fill with fresh, clean air and you feel yourself becoming lighter. Keep taking deep breaths until you feel everything become effortless and easy.

Imagine you are standing before a series of doors, one behind the other. Visualize yourself opening the doors one at a time. When you’ve finished, write down what you saw and felt, and what you did. Many people feel The Three Doors leads them to deeper levels of their unconscious. Each door that is opened represents going deeper and deeper into yourself. The third door seems to reveal the most significant answers.

You can search for meaning in the images generated, or free-associate from them to find ideas for solving your challenge. A city planner faced the challenge of improving city construction projects. The question he wanted resolved was: How can we avoid the chaos that city construction projects create? Tearing up pavement is unsightly, inconvenient, and causes financial harm to city merchants.

Using The Three Doors, he called up the following:

Door one: storm clouds.

Door two: long sidewalks.

Door three: long winding snakes.

The meaning he found in free-associating from these images led to anew idea for the installation of sewer pipes and cables.The idea: Put underground cables and sewer pipes in modular concrete elements above the ground, molded as curbs (much like long concrete snakes winding through the city). These elements are easy, fast to install, repair, and will reduce the cost and inconvenience to the city and, in particular, to its merchants.

A community newspaper publisher wanted to increase his circulation by offering something that is unique and different. He used the same three doors intuitive technique..

His three doors:

Door One: He felt totally confused and lost.

Door Two: He imagined dogs and cats roaming the streets in the darkness.

Door Three: In the distance, he saw a gigantic cross.

His thinking about the gigantic cross got him thinking about churchs, worship services, weddings and funerals. He couldn’t stop thinking about dogs and cats and how much he loved his own dog. His dog had died seven months ago and he missed him a lot. He thought about his grieving over his loss.

The meaning he found from these images led to the idea of an obituary column for pets. Pet owners, he thought, would love to write about their relationship with their pet as a public memoriam. It was a tremendous success. Here is one of the early obituaries:

“Jazz, our family dog, lived like she was a member of our family. She loved the voice of Johnny Cash and would dance on her two back paws, twirl and roll around on the carpet whenever we played his records. Our visiting guests were greatly amused at her dancing to Johnny Cash. Needless to say, when we had company we always would play Johnny Cash. We miss you Jazz and will always remember you.”

The pet obituary was so successful that the publisher hired another staff writer to publish a weekly column about pets. The writer will produce columns that cover everything pet owners of dogs and cats need or want to know about the best ways to keep their pets safe happy and comfortable.


Visit Michael Michalko to discover hundreds of linear and intuitive creative thinking techniques that have been used by creative geniuses throughout history.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: