We all like to consider ourselves smart, but raw intelligence isn’t everything. When we get stuck on a problem, sometimes it’s because we’re overthinking it. Pay attention to when focused thinking isn’t getting you anywhere; perhaps it has turned into obsessing over the same answers or approaches. Consider whether experimenting with a new strategy or talking ideas through with others might be more likely to result in success. Take breaks to let your brain relax and get unstuck. Expand your range of skills for reaching insights and coming up with new ideas; don’t be someone who sees every problem as a nail because your only tool is a hammer. And when you do find yourself ruminating, disrupt it by doing a few minutes of an absorbing activity, such as a puzzle. This can be a surprisingly effective way to break your brain out of a rut.
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