Creative Thinking and the Exchange – Part 2

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the January 1973 issue of the Real Estate News Observer.

Editor’s Note: In December 1972, Mr. Walker began this two-part series on “Creative Thinking and the Exchange.” His first article dealt with how to be creative. In this final article, he talks about Sensitivity, Objectivity, Mental Flexibility, Inquisitive Drive, Being Analytical, and other requirements of developing creativity. We thank him for this excellent two-part series.


I. Sensitivity to Surroundings

Ability to be aware of things of which the average person is not aware.

  1. Ability to increase perceptual powers capacity; to see, hear, and feel more about people and things.
  2. Ability to observe the unusual or often missed details.
  3. The most difficult trait for some to possess is sensitivity toward other people. This may involve study of the art of listening and understanding, including understanding of verbal as well as non¬verbal communication. Several books currently relate new insight on the art of listening. College curricula now include classes on how to improve your listening ability.
  4. To become a more perceptive person means using the five senses—see, hear, feel, olfactory (smell), and taste—to the fullest possible degree. Development of the senses may mean more study to become more aware of things previously overlooked.

II. Objectivity

Deviate from established norms; don’t be afraid to stand alone.

  1. Have the nerve to accept failure and have independence of judgment.
  2. Have the courage to stand by your convictions and beliefs.
  3. The individual himself is the one biggest coloring factor of his or her objectivity. Each of us is what his total experience and background have made him. This differs with each and every individual. We all think as individuals that we are average or “normal” and that we are objective compared to the other person.

We see things and others not as they are but rather only through what we are. So we have a tendency to judge other people and to accept their ideas based on our own norm, which may or may not be objective. Therefore, when objective decisions and judgments are desired, we must consider the feelings and emotions of the individuals involved that have a tendency to color the objectivity.

The most objective judgments and decisions come from divorcing the humanistic element, if that is possible. But in all real estate transac¬tions, it should be remembered that the humanistic element is very much a part. It needs to be considered and watched when seeking objectivity.

It is for this latter reason that many an Exchangor has found that when using the “brainstorming” technique in a marketing session, other Exchangors can solve his problem better because they are more removed from the immediate problem and, therefore, are more objective.

III. Mental Flexibility

To be able to adjust to new developments and situations.

  1. To exceed the obvious boundaries of a problem.
  2. Ability to change one’s mind regarding old assumptions in light of new evidence.
  3. Add new dimensions to problems rather than tailoring problems to fit old ideas and concepts.

IV. Inquisitive Drive

  1. Problems arouse a competitive spirit and challenge one to create solutions.
  2. Possess a desire to explore the unknown.
  3. Possess the stamina to find a solution without giving up easily.

V. Be Analytical

  1. Be able to break down problems into component parts.
  2. Be able to determine the difference between major and minor problems.
  3. Separate facts and truths from desires and wishes.
  4. Be able to creatively combine several elements to form a new solution.

VI. Tolerance

Ability even under pressure to tolerate uncertainty in finding a solution. Tolerance is certainly one of the first traits a “mature” person should possess. It is the mature person who can tolerate the differences of opinion, thoughts, ideas, habits, and concepts of others even if they conflict with his or her own. It is only when you allow yourself to be vulnerable enough to be proven wrong by another person that you really understand what the other person is saying.

If you mentally “tune out” the other person because of a differing viewpoint, then your ability to learn is diminished to the point that you accept only those things you agree with and are accustomed to.

VII. Association with Other Creative Thinkers

The creativity of others will help you create through thought stimulation. It means associating with other Exchangors who are “doers”—those who have learned the creative process and virtually live it. Creative people by association beget creative people.

Attending exchange meetings, being confronted with all types of real estate problems, and being a part of resolving the problems are some of the best exercises to develop creativity in which you can participate.

VIII. Positive Attitude

A positive attitude is mandatory for an “Open Mind.”

In order to have a positive attitude, the easiest thing an Exchangor can do is to smile more than 50% of each day. When one smiles, there is a positive, open tone of one’s voice along with a tendency to affect others with one’s smile. It is important to remember that anything is possible when working with another person. The largest of obstacles can be resolved through positive “brainstorming” techniques.

There is a correlation between physical fitness and mental fitness. For an individual to have a positive attitude, he must feel good physically. Certainly, if a person is ill, has excess worries, and allows anxieties to build, it is impossible to maintain a positive mental attitude. Through development of a daily physical exercise habit, one can reduce anxiety, improve the physical condition of one’s body, and feel better physically.

IX. Education and Knowledge

Make it a habit to continually expose yourself to educational courses and experiences. With additional knowledge constantly feeding your “mental univac” (subconscious), you add to the large reservoirs of experiences and knowledge that you have already accumulated. Creativity is nothing more than a combination of knowledge and education coming out in a different form to solve a specific problem.

Even when taking educational courses or reading articles of a non–real estate nature, always ask, “How can I use this knowledge in the practice of real estate?” Sometimes it is necessary to learn the latest happenings in other professions to see if they can be applied to the real estate field.

Keep current in the social sciences (sociology and psychology) and in the field of education. Know the latest types of insurable risks, etc., etc., etc.

X. Have Faith

Faith is nothing more than the power of individual belief. The individual who has all the education, ideas, and techniques but still doesn’t believe they will work is no better off than the individual without the knowledge. Knowledge without belief is a sham.

First and foremost, one must believe in himself before he can believe in others. If he cannot believe in others, he cannot accept change or new creative thought and ideas. The opposite of belief and faith are doubt and fear—two of the strongest negative forces working against the creative process. The foundations of all faith and belief rest in the individual’s personal conviction of a Supreme Being, which justifies the existence of all mankind.

The Exchangor should daily make every effort to become more creative minded. Review the aforementioned factors. Remain aware of the power of the “Open Mind.”

The Exchangor will find excitement and happiness when creative thinking enters his or her life. The stretching of one’s self to achieve one’s ultimate potential is among the most significant and gratifying values of life.

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