What are your understanding and thoughts about creative thinking? People seem to have the misconception that only a select few are able to unleash a steady flow of creative genius. That is not true at all.
Creativity is very much like a muscle that needs to be exercised in order to consistently give out great results.
If you don’t practice harnessing creative thinking, this skill will very much atrophy into inexistence. But keep working and this skill will soon come to you in a snap.
You can train yourself for more creative thinking. Just start cultivating the right habits in your mind.
So how do you unleash your creative thinking? Well, the first thing is to become a human leech.
No, we’re not talking about just sucking the blood out of every living being available, we’re saying that you should take in as much knowledge and learn you can find.
Read everything available — good and bad, and keep your mind open to the infinite possibilities of the universe.
The more you know, the more you’ll want to know, and the more your faculty of wonder will be exercised. Prepare to be amazed at little facts that add a bit of color into your life.
Focus on a creative activity daily.
Yes, it’s an effort. Even doodling is a creative activity. Don’t let anything hinder you.
Mindlessness may be a creative activity, but for people who are just starting out to unleash a little bit of creative thinking in their lives, it is helpful and encouraging to have concrete evidence, that, “hey, what I’m doing is getting somewhere.” So why don’t you try it?
Practice drawing for a couple of minutes each day. Bring out your old camera and start snapping photos like crazy. Keep a journal and make a point to write in it religiously.
Another cool idea is to write by describing something with your five senses.
Try to avoid vague adjectives like “marvelous,”amazing,” and “delicious.”
Before you know it, you’ll have built yourself a tiny portfolio, and you’ll be amazed at the growth you’ve undertaken after amassing all those works of art.
Who knows, you might actually take to liking those things you do daily. Pretty soon those things will become a part of you and you’ll be addicted to these creative exercises.
Think out of the box — or don’t. Sometimes, constraints are actually a good thing. Limitations discipline you to work within your means. It enables you to be more resourceful.
Creative freedom is great, but limitations enforce discipline.
Try something new and let your experiences broaden your perspective.
Explore a new district in your neighborhood.
Spend an afternoon in a museum to which you’ve never been before.
Chat up someone on the bus.
Open up to the people around you.
As you thrust yourself out of your comfort zone more and more each day, your sense of adventure grows and so does your zest for life.
Think about it. When was the last time you did something for the first time?
If it’s been a while, I tell you, you’ve been missing out on a whole lot of experiences that could’ve added to your growth, emotionally, mentally, physically, or spiritually.
Why don’t you try bungee jumping today? Not only will you learn, but you will also have plenty of stories to share, enabling you to practice your storytelling skills and making you the life of the party.
Embrace insanity. No, not to the point of practically admitting yourself into the mental ward.
As John Russell once said, “Sanity calms, but madness is more interesting.”
Exactly! Every creative thought was once deemed insanity by other “normal” people at one time or another.
Luckily, that didn’t stop the creative geniuses from standing by them. The thing is sanity or being normal confines people to think. Well, normally. Within limits.
Creativity is essentially breaking through barriers.
Yes, this includes the bizarre and the downright strange. I’m not saying that you yourself should develop a creative personality. That might go haywire.
An example of a creative personality would be George Washington, who often rode into battle naked, or James Joyce, who wrote “Dubliners” with beetle juice for an intense fear of ink.
Or Albert Einstein, who thought his cat was a spy sent by his rival or in thinking creatively, in this case, the term could probably be “arch nemesis.”
It’s important that your creativity doesn’t get you detached from the real world completely.
The Techniques of Creative Thinking
There are dozens of creative problem-solving techniques you can learn to use. “Concept-combination,” for example, will have you mixing roses and clocks to create the first alarm clock that wakes you up with a gentle release of fragrance.
Use the technique of “random-presentation” and a cell phone can give the idea to do your dictation with a pocket tape recorder while you walk, so you’ll have time for exercise and still get your work done.
Creative thinking goes beyond just solving specific problems or inventing new things. A truly creative mind is always coming up with the questions too, not just the solutions.
To be more creative all the time, focus on three things:
1. Challenge your assumptions.
What if a restaurant didn’t have employees? Customers could pay a machine as they enter, and feed themselves at a buffet.
If everything was as automated as possible, maybe one owner-operator could run a large restaurant alone.
Challenge everything. Do you have to go to work? Do pools need water? Is education always a good thing?
2. Change your perspective.
Imagining a dog’s thoughts about your busyness could give you a clue to the unnecessary things you do. Thinking dollars-per-day instead of per hour could give you the plan to let employees go home when they finish a certain quota.
Greater efficiency would be almost certain, and you could adjust daily pay and quotas so both you and employees made more money. Look at everything from several perspectives.
3. Let your ideas run wild.
Flying furniture seems silly, but it may lead to the idea of a hover-lifter. Slide the device under furniture and it lifts with a cushion on the air, making for easy movement.
Don’t suppress your creativity. Relax, let ideas come, and know that you can always discard them later.
For these techniques to be a habitual part of your thinking, use them regularly.
Since it takes several weeks to develop a habit, remind yourself to use them each day.
Try writing a few of your favorite techniques on a card and carry it with you. Pull it out throughout the day and apply the techniques to anything.
Soon, more creative thinking will be a normal part of your life.
7 Blocks to Creative Thinking and How to Solve Them
Each of us has the power to be creative. It’s part of our natural make-up as human beings.
The trouble is that, too often, we block our natural creativity and so make errors in thinking and give ourselves more problems than we should.
Here are 7 ways to open up your natural creativity and keep the channels unblocked.
1. Don’t Make Assumptions.
When we assume, we often make an “ass” out of “u” and “me“. Assumptions are examples of lazy thinking. We simply don’t wait to get all the information we need to come to the right conclusions.
There is the story of the customer at the bank who after cashing a check and turning to leave, returns and says: “Excuse me, I think you made a mistake.”
The cashier responds, “I’m sorry but there’s nothing I can do. You should have counted it. Once you walk away we are no longer responsible.”
Whereupon the customer replies: “Well, okay. Thanks for the extra $20.”
Tip: When you feel yourself wanting to draw conclusions, just wait until you have all the information.
2. See Things From Other Points Of View.
A true open mind is willing to accept that, not only do other people have just as valid points of view from theirs but that these other points of view may be more valid.
A story is told that the modernist painter Pablo Picasso was once traveling on a train across Spain when he got into a conversation with a rich businessman who was dismissive of modern art.
As evidence that modern art didn’t properly represent reality, he took out a photo of his wife from his wallet and said: “This is how my wife should look, not in some silly stylized representation.”
Picasso took the photo, studied it for a few moments and asked: “This is your wife?” The businessman proudly nodded. “She’s very small,” observed Picasso wryly.
Tip: Don’t have a monopoly on how things are. Things aren’t always what they seem. Be ready to consider other points of view.
3. Avoid Yo-Yo Thinking.
Some people tend to have a tendency to swing from a highly positive mood one minute to a highly negative one the next, all because of what they see in front of them.
It’s like a yo-yo: up one minute, down the next. It’s far more healthy to stay neutral and not let emotions get the better of you.
Tip: Remember that things are rarely as good – or as bad – as you think they are.
4. Get Rid Of Lazy Thinking Habits.
Habit can be a major stumbling block to clear thinking and another example of laziness.
Try this experiment. Write down the Scottish surnames Macdonald, Macpherson, and MacDougall and ask someone to pronounce them. Now follow these with the word Machinery and see what happens.
Most people are likely to mispronounce it. This is because we tend to think in habitual ways and don’t like what doesn’t fit.
Tip: Don’t think that, just because things happened in a certain way once before, that they will happen like that again.
5. Don’t Think Like An Old Person, Think Like A Child.
Research shows that the number of synapses, or connections, in the brain is greater in a child of two than in an average adult. The reason for this is that, while a child of two has no limiting world view, as adults they do.
It’s like a sculptor who starts off with a large block of clay, more than he needs, and then gradually removes the clay as he molds his sculpture.
If you use our brain like a child, accepting everything without judgment, you can actually halt and reverse the brain’s aging process.
Tip: Don’t worry about the myth of age. With the right stimulus and a passion for learning, you can actually improve your brain power.
6. See The Detail As Well As The Big Picture.
You may know the poem by John Godfrey Saxe called “The Blind Men and the Elephant”. This tells how six blind men of Hindustan go to see an elephant and each tries to work out what it is from touching it.
One blind man touches the tusk, another, the trunk, another, the tail, and so on. Of course, not being able to see the whole elephant, they come to wildly different conclusions.
Tip: Try to keep the big picture in front of you while looking at details. It will help to put everything in its proper place and context.
7. Think For Yourself.
Taking time out to think is still frowned on in many organizations that prize activity over creativity. People who work in creativity-constrained organizations are likely to think the way they are supposed to think, or as others think, or as has always been the way to think.
It’s like the blinkered thinking that Hans Christian Anderson describes in his story of “The Emperor’s New Clothes”.
Everyone in the land refuses to see that the emperor is naked and has been duped into believing he is wearing a splendid costume for his coronation.
Only a young boy who has been ill and not part of the cultural brainwashing can see the truth and cries out: “Look, everyone, the Emperor is wearing no clothes!”
Tip: Don’t let others tell you how to think. When others ask your opinion, tell it to them straight.
Once you make these 7 techniques part of your habitual thinking patterns, you will amaze yourself with how easy it is to come up with fresh, innovative and creative solutions to all of the life’s problems.
I hope this article has inspired you to start thinking beyond your “limits.”
If you follow these steps pretty soon you’ll be living a life full of interesting adventures. Unleashing your creative thinking will bring about a new zest for living life.