Brainstorming is a general technique to come up with multiple possible solutions to a problem. A book I came across several years ago is Mental Jogging by Reid J. Daitzman. The full title of the book is Mental Jogging: 365 Games to Enjoy, to Stimulate the Imagination, to Increase Ability to Solve Problems and Puzzles. This book, published in 1980, is no longer in print. However, it is available from booksellers via Amazon.com.
As the title clearly states, the book features several exercises (one per day) to think about as you’re commuting to work or taking a break. The exercises could also be adapted for the group activities.
I selected one exercise from each month for this list.
- Six or more ways to avoid spilling coffee while driving.
- Eight or more things you could do if you weren’t watching television.
- Seven or more important news events of your parents’ lifetime.
- Six or more non-dietary uses of cheese.
- Eight or more things we couldn’t do if we didn’t have fingernails.
- Six or more reasons why blind people ski.
- Six or more ways to look at yourself in the mirror.
- Eight or more words in any language spelled the same backwards as forwards.
- Seven or more characteristics of your ideal space monster.
- Six or more reasons why it should be legal to be married to more than one person at a time.
- Six or more new rules of basketball if there were two balls in play simultaneously.
- Eight or more reasons why some doctors charge more for the same services than other doctors.
In addition to the exercise prompts, the author provided answers from groups that he interviewed. For example, for the exercise “Seven or more reasons for not brushing your teeth,” some answers given were:
- It’s boring.
- May cause tennis elbow.
- Someone told you false teeth are sexy.
- You need the dime the tooth fairy will bring you.
- You’re allergic to water.
As you can see, possible answers can include those that are nonsensical or from the fantasy realm. The idea is to stimulate your creative thinking. In brainstorming, coming up any possible solution is the first step in refining the list to only include realistic, reasonable solutions.
Mental Jogging also includes twelve mental calisthenics (one for each month) that are more complex mental tasks. The one below is from January.
Sit in a comfortable position, take three deep breaths, and exhale very slowly from you nostrils. Close your eyes and imagine the color RED, then ORANGE, YELLOW, GREEN, BLUE, VIOLET. Arrange the colors alphabetically, from left to right, in your mind. Make them disappear one at a time. Open your eyes. Process with a Mental Jogging exercise.
If you are looking for ways to increase your speed of thinking or the volume of ideas as solutions or creative approaches, I encourage you to buy Mental Jogging and try some of these exercises.