In my last blog I spoke of the need for using Critical Thinking to improve our life journey. I will discuss Critical Thinking in more depth in the future but I wanted to speak to the importance of Creative Thinking as well. Your first thought might be, “I’m not creative. I even took a career assessment once that told me I was social, realistic, and I think conservative.” That was probably an Interest Inventory based on the RIASEC model – Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional. Conservative is close. Consider what Brenda Ueland said in her book, If You Want To Write: “I have proved that you are all original and talented and need to let it out of yourselves; that is to say you have the creative impulse. But the ardor for it is inhibited and dried up by many things; as I said, by criticism, self-doubt, duty, nervous fear….”.
So repeat after me, “ I am original and talented and need to let it out of me! I have the creative impulse!”. You are creative. Maybe no Michelangelo and you need to tap into your creativity. Think back to the imagination you had as a child. You could dream wild dreams, turn a tree branch into a laser gun, or see purple elephants flying through the air. Over the years it disappears just as Brenda Ueland says by criticism as teachers and parents tell you ,”don’t be that way, settle down!”. We then resign to settle down to okness and being not creative.
Since you now know you are creative the key is to tap into it. Think through an area of art -- do you like to write, does music interest you? Or maybe you want to try painting, sculpting, photography, or quilting? Try something new. Trying one of the arts will help in building your creative thinking skills. Check out creative resources. On the web I like the information found at www.creativityforlife.com where there are a number of articles you can read about creativity. Also www.creativity-portal.com has a plethora of informational tidbits on the writing and physical arts. Take some time to peruse these websites to see if there are any helps to build creativity into your life.
As we build an awareness of our creative side we will improve in our creative thinking. This will then improve our curiosity, increase our perseverance in facing challenges, see more possibilities within the problems we face, and open up our imaginations more. With creative thinking we move beyond the can’t be done thinking to there -- must be some way we can do this. The “can’t be done mindset”, stops creativity. Here are some examples from history: Lord Kelvin, President of the Royal Society in 1895 said, “Heavier than air flying machines are impossible.”; Robert Milliken, Nobel prizewinner in physics in 1923 said “there is no likelihood man will ever tap into the power of the atom.” Intelligent people can hamper creativity and new ideas with their “I cant’s”. We can do the same with the same type of self-talk: “I would love to do that but it’s just impossible for me.”, “I just am not creative enough to come up with new ideas!”, “I would never be able to do that.” Try changing the “I cant’s” to “I can” and see how you feel. Creative Thinking allows us to not only think outside the box but to turn the box inside out or create a new box. Are you open to thinking of new ways to new ideas? Are you a possibility thinker or a just one-way thinker? Being open to your creative thinking side opens your life to new ideas and possibilities for your life journey. That is a way to move beyond ok and sameness.
Michael Michalko is an in depth researcher on Creative Thinking and creativity. On his website creativethinking.net are many free articles to open our mind to deeper levels of creativity. His popular book, Thinkertoys, is one I would highly recommend if you are looking for creative thinking ideas. It is full of techniques for you to try as an individual or in a group setting. Also you can do some reading research on creative people who you think highly of as examples of creativity such as Alexander Graham Bell, Enrico Fermi, Cyrus Hall McCormick, Leonardo Da Vinci, Claude Monet, Johann Sebastian Bach, Antonin Dvorak, Maya Angelou, C. S. Lewis. Pick up and read a biography on their life or research them on the internet. Of course my choice as a Bookhead, would be a book on the creative person of your choice. Accept and celebrate your creativity!
Have you accepted that you are creative? Where in your life are you letting “I can’t” or “that is impossible” stop your creativity. Draw up a list of creative people in the present or history you would like to research and draw inspiration from their stories.