CHANGE – Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change..

Einstein Thinking becomes natural as you open your mind to alter- natives. Change, any kind of change, is a useful hack that can make you more comfortable with alternatives. If you don’t like to change things, you are a prime candidate for using change to improve your problem solving.

Change your routine to open new patterns of thinking. Every element of your regular routine affects your patterns of thinking. Change forces you out of your rule ruts, making it easier to alter your thinking to solve a tough problem. If you usually start work at 7:00 a.m., come in at 9:00 a.m. when you have a difficult problem to solve. Use those extra two hours to exercise, read, or go out to breakfast. Avoid your usual routine. Then spend the last half hour before leaving for work generating ideas for solving the problem.

Varied Content

“Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.” ALBERT EINSTEIN

People tend to select reading and viewing material that reinforces their rule ruts. Deliberately select some apps, websites, and periodicals that you would not normally read. Find a sailing blog. Scan a fashion site. Read a book on biology or Renaissance painting. Feed your brain a varied, well-balanced diet. Use reading to challenge your thinking. Consider new ways of viewing the world, like a skateboard-centric view. If you cannot tolerate a different point of view while scanning through a magazine, you will have a tough time considering a novel solution to a serious problem. Use the hack of varied content to build your Einstein Thinking abilities.

Leisure Change

“Science is a wonderful thing if one does not have to earn one’s living at it.” ALBERT EINSTEIN

Your leisure activities are easy places for more radical change. Changing your career, where you live, or your friends are serious alterations. But you can change your leisure activities this weekend. So why not mix things up? For this hack, find your favorite recreational activity in the list in Figure 12.2. The next time you would normally engage in that activity, substitute the activity preceding or following it on the list. Try something new. Give your brain a novel set of problems to solve. Meet some new people. Put yourself in a different environment. You can’t help but grow a little.


Art is a great way to improve your creative thinking. It can be the gym for your brain, building creative strength. Einstein was an avid violin player. The violin provided a relaxing mental challenge with different rules and limits. There is no reason you shouldn’t exercise your creativity through art, even if you think you have no talent.

A lack of skill is a good reason to avoid performing surgery, not creating art. Art is a wonderful way to unshackle your creativity. Create something new. Draw a picture. Write a song. Be bold. Be innovative. No one will die. Buildings won’t collapse. Businesses won’t fail. But you will build creative boldness in your thinking.

Career Change

“Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do. Play consists of whatever a body is not obligated to do.” MARK TWAIN

A career change is more drastic than a change of leisure activities. However, many people have freed up their creativity by moving into a new field. Einstein changed careers from physicist to states- man and peace activist. The change presented him with an invigo- rating new set of challenges, and he rose to the occasion.

Mixing agriculture, engineering, science, politics, religion, and art produced some of our history’s greatest minds like Thomas Jefferson and Leonardo da Vinci. You increase your ability to break the rules by changing the focus of your career.

In our era of specialists, changing fields has unique challenges. We assume that one must have had years of training and experience in a field to make a contribution. In other words, one must be deeply in a rule rut. It is hard to contribute outside of your field. But it can be done. Nobel Laureate physicist Richard Feynman spent many of his summers doing research in biology, which was definitely not his area of expertise. However, the change of perspective helped Feynman to keep his mental edge by moving him out of old rule ruts.

You could provide yourself with a similar intellectual vaca- tion by spending a few hours working on the problems in another field. Find a clever person who does something very different from you. Have her explain the fundamental problem that she is facing. Understand the problem in detail. Then solve it. It will help shake up the patterns in your head. You may also want to share your solution with your friend. Even if you have a great idea, she will probably laugh at your naiveté. That isn’t how things are done. Notice how her ruts are limiting her thinking.

If you are totally burned out in your current field of expertise, a change can lead to a creative explosion. Michelangelo’s spectacular fres- cos in the Sistine Chapel are a good example. Michelangelo spent most of his career as a sculptor. Rather than being a handicap, his sculpting experience helped him create some of the world’s greatest frescos.

The challenge of mastering a new field builds problem-solving ability. It is easier to recognize alternatives when you are familiar with the solution techniques of multiple fields.

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