Innovative thinking has long believed to be just for those select few. But is it? Is there really a division between logical and creative thinking?
"I'm just not a creative person."
"How do I find new ideas?"
"What can I do with this?"
"If only I could think of something new."
Does this sound familiar?
You're the kind of person who thinks science is interesting and gets bored just from the idea of doing something "artsy." I know this because this is how I think too.
We know about the left and right brain theory, and we think we need to fall into one of those categories. But there is importance to using all of our brains, and thinking creatively, imaginatively or intuitively. I would go so far as to say it is exactly as important to think creatively as it is to think logically.
Let Me Convince you:
Left Brain Thinking deals with deconstructing ideas and analysing them.
Right Brain Thinking deals with the assembly of ideas and the process of creation.
Left Brain Thinking deals with sequential and systematic thinking.
Right Brain Thinking deals with simultaneous and holistic thinking.
Left Brain Thinking is time bound and limited by our imposed constraints.
Right Brain Thinking is time-free and bound only by the limits of our imagination.
What sort of thinker do you want to be? I would say a healthy mix of both is best, because it offers the broadest insight we can have. However to get that mix we need to break out of the comfort zone of our Left-Brain thinking.
Well how I we begin to think more creatively?
I found this gem of a TedX talk a few months ago, its the one above that's given by Mark Rober, and its the inspiration for this post. Mark Rober was a NASA engineer who worked on the Mars Rover, then later left to pursue his business ideas and investments. This is something that very much inspired a great deal of curiosity in myself as a person who has studied and worked in a scientific field only to leave in pursuit of a life in business. I immediately related to his situation and to the question he seeks to answer in the video.
"How do I be more creative?"
Mark Rober answers this in 3 parts:
Be Curious, "It starts with observation."
Work Hard, don't be afraid of making mistakes and failing, that's how we discover what works. "Whatever you do, just do it."
Get Lucky, The first idea you have won't necessarily be the best, neither should your 20th. But in time something will come that is that "Lucky Break," but it does take persistence and effort.
What I loved about these is that they aren't stooped in philosophy, rather that they are all action based. Possibly the biggest lesson to be learnt is that becoming creative requires initiative and action. We can't by any means expect to become creative by accident, but it's something we need to work at. In a passing comment Mark Rober says that "anyone can come up with 15 new ideas every day."
Make it a habit to be creative.
In the book, "The Six Thinking Hats," Edward de Bono, discusses a principle he called The Green Hat. When someone wears the green thinking hat, they think only of ideas. Limitations, the positives, the negatives, our feelings and even logic are irrelevant while wearing the green hat, the only thing that matters is the active development of ideas.
I was inspired by the book and by Mark Rober to actively be creative. I made a decision to create a habit of creative thinking. By taking these 2 very simple ideas I decided on system of active thinking that was not only an easy and realistic, but that was simple and could be adopted by anyone. Instead of creating a challenge for myself to think of 15 new ideas every day, I decided to simply create a habit of listing 5 new ideas and creating a system of accountability. I called it:
5 Ideas a Day
In my action to become more creative, I created an electronic list that I update daily. I did this in a publically viewable channel on my discord server, this way it is easily accessible from anywhere at any point. Whenever an idea comes or whenever I can dedicate moments to being creative, I can easily write them down and have them available to access at a later date.
Creating an active habit like this, allows us time to become accustomed to a new way of thinking. Diving from our place of comfort to a brand new world can be quite a difficult process, that time after time, ends up fruitless. Creating an active habit to become more creative doesnt not necessarily need to be permanent either. In time it becomes natural and a part of unconscious life, but the one thing that we can be certain of is that is doesn't come accidently.