How to consider alternative?

To be creative and productive, we must consider alternatives by asking multiple questions. Considering alternatives provide us with more options for solving problems and addressing challenges.

Always consider alternatives and do not regret once you have decided.

Some examples to practice considering alternatives:

  1. To use Socratic questioning techniques, consider alternative viewpoints and perspectives.
  2. The ugly duckling went and asked around for grey-feathered birds.
  3. To be productive, if you are sending an email to just one person and it’s going to be more than a couple of sentences, a phone call might be more efficient. Sometimes the email is good for keeping a record of what was discussed, but sometimes a phone call can save a lot of time spent writing the email.
  4. In summer 2015, I learned that we can buy insurance online and enjoy premium rebate.
  5. To recycle gifts that we do not need.
  6. Read multiple literature and media resources [1] that offer alternative perspectives, e.g. BBC, Al Jazeera.
  7. Instead of fighting for limited resources with other people, consider other timings and locations. For example, we enjoyed a bird view of Tayo show on 20160528. I always love shopping groceries during the working hours in the weekdays, we experience less crowd and more enjoyable shopping experience in supermarkets worldwide.
  8. Instead of buying, how’s about borrowing (with no or minimal interests) [6] or renting?
  9. Instead of using expensive eye make-up removal, I used baby oil (20160616, 20160618) or olive oil (20160716) to gently remove my eye make-ups. It seems that beauty requires not only efforts, but also thinking outside of the box.
  10. reason from first principles [2] vs reason by analogy. Don’t assume that what has been true before must be true in the future.
  11. use the inversion method is [3] to look at a particular problem from the opposite direction.
  12. Little Prince wanted to eat a legless [4] gingerbread man after we read The Gingerbread Man but we had no gingerbread at home, so I made him a custard bread man with raisins and a slice of strawberry(see 20160826_breakfast.jpg).
  13. If one cannot wash hair, use baby powder for dry wash [5].
  14. In November 2016, Little Princess’ maternal grandparents used tea bags that we were given but not keen to drink to substitute the odor in wardrobe and luggage.  We also used extra hotel shampoo and conditioner to hand-wash delicate clothes, shampoo as hand soap. Next time, Little Prince and Little Princess can play bubbles using diluted shampoo. On 20170109 and 20170111, I used hotel shampoo to wash dishes and clothes respectively, since I did not use a large amount, I bade farewell to dishwashing liquid and detergent. Since the washed clothes were only 50% dry, I used the toilet fan (and hair dryer, if necessary) to accelerate drying of clothes. In April 2017, I used a kettle to boil eggs and vegetables.
  15. On 20170210, while moving across different floors in the same building, I used shower caps to contain my toothbrushes, wet sponges, and sandal.
  16. On 20161121, I saw a cashier toy during the first dramatic outing of Little Princess to a mall in Middle East and thought of why not use calculator (yes, the calculator that I have been using for work) as a cashier toy for Little Prince, to simultaneously play and learn mathematics. Through pasting bus stickers on the real calculator, we can imagine that Little Prince is the owner of a bus company and he needs to count his daily profit daily.
  17. anti-static bags used for storing electronic components, can be re-used to protect our credit cards from digital pickpockets through RFID skimming.
  18. cereal/biscuit boxes as building blocks to play with or containers for smaller toys, as inspired by beautifully designed Waitrose biscuit boxes that I bought for Mom on 20161125
  19. After I was given evaporated milk for tea/coffee daily by the hotel, on 20170118 I decided to add the evaporated milk to my instant oatmeal drink (since I am abstain from consuming tea/coffee while breastfeeding) | Few years ago, I have used sweetened condensed milk to make rice pudding.
  20. In Spring 2017, I used the plastic cup given by an air stewardess (from Surabaya who has worked for a Middle East’s airline for 9 years) for rinsing syringe for oral medications and brushing teeth of Little Prince to avoid spillage.
  21. On 20170330, Little Prince spilled his water inside a Boeing 787 at high altitude and we had no spare clothing, only a sweater so I used tissue paper and serviette as dry layers to prevent him from feeling cold while waiting for his clothes to dry (quickly).

[1] In summer 2016, I was amazed that Little Prince loves to watch news on TV more than scary animations. While Roderick MacKinnon believes in his parents’ teaching that television is bad for you, watching news on TV — with parental guidance — is probably a safer way of introducing the real world to the innocent Little Prince, than living in war zones. Many things in life are of duality in nature, complementary, and relative. If we have not seen and experienced conflicts, the bad, the ugly, and the pain, we may not appreciate peace, the good, the beautiful, and the pleasure, respectively. Negative things can teach us lessons (see also #pandaLesson). For example, Little Prince started to appreciate his food after watching the suffering of starving African children.

[2] see ref2016/first_principle*elon_musk*.txt

[3] the inversion method asks us to consider the exact opposite of your desired result. For example, if we want to be a better student or parent, then we would ask, “What would someone do each day if s/he was a terrible student or parent?”

[4] He wanted a legless gingerbread man so that the gingerbread man would not run away.

[5] A Chinese confinement rule is not to wash hair throughout the confinement period to prevent headache in the future. Instead of buying dry shampoo, Little Princess’ maternal grandmother shared the use of baby powder as an alternative to shampoo (Autumn 2016). It did helped to relieve itchiness!

[6] grep “20170210 [GRATITUDE]” ref2017*/buy*txt

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8 comments

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  4. […] always consider alternatives: do multiple visits as window-shopping experience, if time is not a constraint [2]. If you are not used or too shy to bargain, you can visit on different days. Different staff quoted us different price. For example, 20161118_181246*jpg was 1st quoted for AED 275 (then lowered to AED 250) by a female staff on 20161119, but the male staff on 20161120 offered us AED 225. […]

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  5. […] [3] In November 2016, I conceive a #pandaMnemonic PERFECT to improve memory: P = Practice, revise, review, repeat (exercise our minds) using our notes E = Eat nutritiously R = rest, sleep, take a break F = Feel positive, happy, grateful, calm, inspired E = Exercise our body C = Craft through mnemonic devices, association, visual aids, rhymes, chunking, acronyms, acrostics T = Think, consider alternatives […]

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  6. […] of 知己知彼). Not everyone wants what we are sharing (e.g. gifts, advice, smiles, nod, etc). Consider alternatives: for many things in life, there are multiple […]

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  7. […] Consider alternative toys. Household items and tools of trade can be very fascinating toys. Very simple things (e.g. a piece of blank paper, pencils, calculator) with imagination can be very entertaining. […]

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  8. […] the plastic. To minimize the risk of leakage, I just used the plastic bags with almost-torn marks for other purposes e.g. carrying soup to […]

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