“Just as our eyes need light in order to see, our minds need ideas in order to conceive.” — Napoleon Hill
Some problems cannot be solved using the standard problem solving approaches. These problems require innovativeness or creativity in order to arrive at a solution. Thus, creativity involves finding a solution that is both unusual and useful. Creativity is about producing new ideas or combining old ideas in a unique way.
By default, we tend to think within boundaries, or limit our thinking to the obvious. However, problems often require us to think “out of the box”. Why is it that we are unable to think differently?
Road Blocks to creative thinking:
- Our education system, at times, forces us to think within boundaries.
- Natural tendency of the mind to look at the obvious rather than the covert.
- Habit: Many problems do have obvious solutions, so we are more habituated to thinking in that direction.
- We tend to use tried and tested solutions rather than struggle and stretch our thinking!
Worried you may not be creative or you may not be creative enough? This quiz will help you find out just how creative you are.
- Do you ask questions that might seem stupid by others?
- Do you
a. delight in uncertainty and mystery?
b. need a logical explanation for everything?
- Do you
a. need to put everything in its proper place?
b. tolerate ambiguous situations well?
- When someone suggests a new idea, do you
a. immediately evaluate it, looking for its strengths & weaknesses?
b. Play with the possibilities suggested by the idea?
- In solving problems do you
a. look for as many possibilities as you can think of?
b. logically figure the situation out?
- Do you believe that intuition is
a. a reality worth relying on?
b. the inability to be logical?
- Do you
a. like excitement and change?
b. prefer peace and a reliable routine?
- Do you most go by?
a. a situation’s potential
b. the practical consequences
a. is an all or none phenomena–you’re creative or you’re not?
b. exists on a continuum?
- Which is more important to originality?
a. Asking the right question
b. Finding the right answer
If you have marked your answer as ‘a’ to the following statements please give yourself ‘1’:
1, 2, 5, 6, 7,8.
If you have marked your answer as ‘b’ to the following statements please give yourself ‘1’:
3, 4, 9, 10.
If your score is between 0-5: Your score falls in the low range. This indicates that you are a practical individual who likes to reach your goals in a logical and planful manner. This is beneficial in many situations. However this curbs your creative instincts as you do not let yourself think in innovative and original ways. You would need to cultivate the habit of thinking in imaginative and novel ways.
If your score is between 6-10: Your score falls in the high range. This indicates that you believe in being creative and original. You prefer to brainstorm different ways of solving a problem. You believe in your instincts and let your imagination work for you in problem solving situations.
Creativity is not a gift you have to be born with it.
Most creative people learn how to be creative. They do it logically. They look at one perspective and think of another. They appreciate metaphors. They make cross-connections easily. They trigger their thinking one way and then apply it to the problem at hand.
Cultivating Creativity: Some Guidelines
- Decide what you want to do. Without a good idea of what to create, you cannot be creative. It may be helpful to make a note of your objectives or to create a sketch of what you want to create.
- Be positive in your attitude. The solution will pop up in front of you if you work hard enough!
- Learn all you can about your subject. The more you know, the better equipped you are to find a solution.
- Think. Do not limit yourself to run-of-the-mill logical thinking. Look at your problem from new angles.
- Incubate. If the solution doesn’t come after your initial efforts, put the problem out of your mind and let your subconscious work on it. Go back to it in a few days and see where you are.
- Prune. Review your ideas and set aside the ones that have not worked. Make changes, additions, variations until you come up with your best.
- Put your ideas to work. That’s the best way of testing them!
“Embrace fully your capacity to create, to think in unlimited ways, and to pursue everything that you have been wanting. …This can be the most joyous, prosperous, and creative time of your life.” — Sanaya Roman and Duane Packer
Sr. Consulting Psychologist