Divergent Thinking


(The statistical information in this article is from the book “Whisper” by Mark Batterson)

In the early years of the Head Start program, a study was conducted involving sixteen hundred children who were tested in a wide variety of categories, including divergent thinking. Convergent thinking is the ability to correctly answer a question that doesn’t require creativity, just analytical intelligence. Divergent thinking is a very different animal. It’s the ability to generate creative ideas by exploring possible solutions.

When asked to come up with as many uses for a paper clip as possible, the average person can rattle off ten to fifteen uses. A divergent thinker can come up with about two hundred. Both convergent and divergent thinking are critical for different kinds of tasks, but divergent thinking is a better predictor of Nobel Prize potential.

In the longitudinal study conducted by Head Start, 98% of children ages three to five “scored in the genius category for divergent thinking. 

Five years later . . . this number had plummeted to only 32%

Five years later again . . . it was down to 10%”

What happened during that decade? Where did divergent thinking go? And what does that have to do with the language of desires? 

Some of the reason are:

  1. We conform to the norms of society.
  2. We are afraid to stand out. What will the “people” say?
  3. We got intimidated by what society expects from us to the extent that we forget our own dreams and desires.
  4. What would happen to these children when you ask them the question that Jesus asked the blind man: “What do you want me to do for you?” Many of these children simply just do not know how to respond. I often ask people randomly: “What can I pray for you?” Most just eventually just say: “That God will bless me.” There is just nothing specific that they want.

There is a point in life where Satan will just press down on you to the extent that it will squeeze every little bit of life out of you.

Don’t allow it. But the choice is yours.

If you do not know what you want, how will you know when you get it? 

I am not one for dreaming “big impossible outrageous dreams.” (Sorry – do not think it is really Biblical – sorry again). But I am all for dreaming dreams that God gives us – because for that he will give us power. And let me assure you: You will need God for all the things that he wants you to do.

Life comes in stories: use this link to subscribe to occasional stories via email: https://tinyurl.com/vfd32z4

About the author

Bennie Mostert
By Bennie Mostert