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Creative thinking - improve problem solving skills.

Updated on October 21, 2011

What is creative thinking or creative problem solving?

Creativity or creative thinking is the ability to breaking out of set rules or patterns to bring meaningful things or concepts or problem solving skills into existence. The use of imagination and thoughts that do not necessarily conform to the normal way of thinking allows for better problem solving and creative skills.

Being creative helps us think differently, come up with new ways and methods of looking at situations, solve problems or meet needs, gives us a sense of satisfaction, helps increase our self-confidence and our self worth. It is a wonderful way of relieving stress and avoiding stagnation. It keeps our mind active and ever young.

All pictures used are from the same source
All pictures used are from the same source | Source

When does creativity or creative thinking show up in us?

Creativity is birthed out of passion, when our mind is focussed on finding a way out of the mess. Being emotionally hinged on to some problem in which you need a breakthrough often brings out the creative best in you. You do not have to be a novelist or a painter or a sculptor to be creative. You just need to break the set patterns of thinking and find creative solutions or creative problem solving skills to tackle the problems you face in your daily life.

Now that would mean all of us are creative. Watch babies and how they play, their favourite toys are not what you buy from the malls, a spoon and a plate, a bowl that can spin and make noise on the floor, or some gooey mud or just some dough that you make for pizza or bread. That is creativity, but our ‘don’t do that’ and ‘no’ stifles creativity at infancy.

People often think that the highly educated or the smartest are the most creative people, it is often the other way around, the most creative are the ones who are least tied by formal education. I have seen people who have been academic disasters being so successful at some creative venture or the other. At a recent class reunion I was forced to reconsider my earlier thinking that the smartest are the most creative.

Who is a truly creative person?

I think that this quote explain who is a creative person.

“Because of their courage, their lack of fear, they (creative people) are willing to make silly mistakes. The truly creative person is one who can think crazy; such a person knows full well that many of his great ideas will prove to be worthless. The creative person is flexible; he is able to change as the situation changes, to break habits, to face indecision and changes in conditions without undue stress. He is not threatened by the unexpected as rigid, inflexible people are.” — Frank Goble

Is it possible to improve your creativity or creative thinking ?

“Every day is an opportunity to be creative – the canvas is your mind, the brushes and colors are your thoughts and feelings, the panorama is your story, the complete picture is a work of art called, ‘my life’. Be careful what you put on the canvas of your mind today – it matters.” — Innerspace

Certainly! You can improve or increase your creativity. You need to break out of certain ways of thinking and believe that you can be creative too.

Remember, “All great deeds and all great thoughts have a ridiculous beginning.” — Albert Camus

The very fact that most of us think that creativity is the exclusive property of artists or people who work on imaginative content is a dampener. This kind of thinking stops us and put a lid on our creativity and we loudly proclaim to the world that we are not the creative types!!

The thought that creativity is only for the extremely talented and the bright sparks is a fallacy.

The concept that thinking should always be logical is another way of stifling creativity.

Extreme caution and inability to take risks chokes your creativity.

Fear of failure is another huge factor that stops creativity in its tracks.

Inflexibility of thought and action, or rigid styles of functioning is an enemy of creativity.

We need to break away from such thinking if we want to improve our creativity.

How to improve your creativity - Tips to improve your creative thinking skills

  • Curiosity is the mother of creativity, be curious, ask why or why not? And you will find yourself thinking laterally.
  • Learn as much as you can on the subject. Widening your knowledge gives room for wider thinking and asking questions. Ask the questions and do not rest until you find the answers.
  • Let your imagination run wild. Never let logical thinking disturb the reign of your imagination. You might find the answers in those wild dreams.
  • Think out of the box, clichéd as it may sound, it is the only way to be creative.
  • Brainstorm. Yes, even if you are alone. Come up with different ways of doing the stuff, however silly the idea may seem, note it down and sometimes with the synthesis of two or more ideas you can come up with a brilliant piece of innovate answer.
  • Note your thoughts or record them on a device for future use. Sometimes your best ideas come not when you are working but when you are sleeping or relaxing and if you do not take care to record them, they will vanish in a flash, as they appeared.
  • Yes, creative ideas spring up when your mind is at ease, so take a nature walk, or some gardening or some craft work or even sleep.. learn to relax and take breaks instead of stressing yourself out, when you are faced with obstacles.
  • Problems, needs or obstacles are not hindrances to your progress but they are a doorway to great inventions and creative solutions. So if you are faced with a problem today stop thinking negatively and accept them with open arms, break some rules and think laterally until you come up with something.
  • Take a break, start something new and come back with a fresh mind and you will find a way to break through your problems.
  • Do not be afraid to divert from the standard approaches to a problem, take calculated risks and remember it is okay to make mistakes. All great inventors learnt from mistakes before they arrived on the scene of their invention.
  • Be patient, persevere, dream and approach things from the wrong end you may come up with brilliant ideas.

Think creatively be healthy in mind

Remember today, that a creative mind is an active mind. Being creative brings so much more satisfaction than working all day long, on your mundane jobs. Even mundane jobs need not be boring if you can find creative ways of doing them. It is bound to get you all the appreciation you need and helps increase your self-confidence and self esteem. This will not only help keep your mind active but also healthy and free from degenerative diseases like Alzimers or Dementia. So now, use your mind to the fullest potential possible today!!


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    • sofs profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Thanks for that insightful comment Hazel. Much appreciated.

    • HazelPever profile image


      7 years ago from United Kingdom

      Feeling a sense of freedom and trust in the process of life is the fuel of creativity. When we are anxious worrried or concerned there is a lack of trust, which affects creative thought. Ultimately, a calm presence is key, when the mind is innactive this allows for creativity to flow. Often the experience as a result of wakeing-up with a solution or idea.

    • sofs profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Hazelpever, thanks for stopping by to read and leave a comment. Have a great day.

    • HazelPever profile image


      7 years ago from United Kingdom

      Great read!!

    • sofs profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Joy, what I said to Camlo goes for you too, you have talent lady, God given talent, stop worrying about exams and stuff and focus on your talent and make it work for you. Let nothing negative come in the way of your creativity. Believe in yourself and believe in your potential.

      Thank you for the read and the comments :) God Bless.

    • Joy56 profile image


      8 years ago

      This is a nice hub, i have noticed the similarities between myself and Camlo a lot, uncanny really. I read his post, and guess what he is now studying maths, maybe he was when he wrote that, and what has he got to do with me anyway.

      The coincidence is, he was moved to ask you questions, after the article, and so was I..... however i think reading more of your hubs may just answer them for me.

    • sofs profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Creativity does help build your self confidence and self worth, and yes a great stress reliever while giving you the feeling of having accomplished something. Thanks clydelady2 for stopping by and for the comment. I do appreciate this.

    • clydelady2 profile image

      Nancy Ann 

      8 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Great information. I totally agree that being creative is a good stress relief and good for your self worth. Nice writing!

    • sofs profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Hi Camlo, good to see you here..

      You are truly creative, no doubt about that. Hey creativity is very useful in learning Math and subjects that use derivation.. you can come up with different ways of problem solving..but it takes time to develop the skill.

      Actually I believe that the way these subjects are taught kills creativity.

      Hey you know you are sitting on a landmine and I sometimes wonder what are you doing here. You need to make good use of that creativity which is your greatest strength, stop worrying about the Math and focus on your strength. You need to start dreaming big... my honest opinion.

    • camlo profile image

      Camlo De Ville 

      8 years ago from Cologne, Germany

      Hi Sofs!

      This is a great Hub, and I agree with all you say.

      Now I have a question: I am the creative type, but have a huge problem with subjects that use rigid formulae, like math and natural sciences. Do you think my creativity could be the hindrance? I'm wondering if I should/could learn to be less creative for such things.

      Creativity is, as you say, what makes life pleasurable, and has helped me tackle many problems far better than most people do.

      Thanks for a great read!

      All the best, Camlo

    • sofs profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      HI Ritchie, yeah I agree with you completely, but even parents need to consider this. Thank you for bring up this point, appreciate it and God Bless!

    • richtwf profile image


      8 years ago

      Something which needs to be developed more in schools the art of thinking and common sense thinking too.

      God bless.

    • sofs profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Always exploring, it is true that we need to run with our inspiration or it is lost. Thank you for visit and your lovely comment and I appreciate it.

    • sofs profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Rosie, we are all creative naturally, but we stress ourselves too much with all the pressures of daily life. We just need to let go, relax and let nature take its course.

      Thank you for your visit and your kind words. I truly appreciate it. God Bless!

    • sofs profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Prasetio you are absolutely right follow your heart. Let your mind go crazy think of the unthinkable and you will come up with the most creative ideas there is.

      Thanks for comment and the vote up, I really do appreciate it. Thank you and God Bless!

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      8 years ago from Southern Illinois

      This is great information. I'm new at writing and i love it. I find when i do get an idea, i must write it down or else, i lose it. Thank you.


    • Rosie2010 profile image

      Rosie Rose 

      8 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Hiya sofs, awesome advice. This is very helpful for me as sometimes bang my head on the walls trying to think of topics to write about. Thank you so much. I love the presentation too.. those pictures are awesome. Great job.

      Have a nice day,


    • prasetio30 profile image


      8 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Good information from you. We really need creative thinking in every life. I believe we can do this very well. By doing the best and always follow our heart. You have valuable tips for us and you have great solutions. I really love this hub. Vote up. God bless you.


    • sofs profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Acaetnna, I face this problem too, I have so many ideas that just waft up in my sleep and vanish if I don't record them right away. Great that you do it.

      Thanks for the visit and your kind words.

    • acaetnna profile image


      8 years ago from Guildford

      What a great hub so full of information. I definitely try to brainstorm and jot my ideas down, they are so easily forgotten if not recorded straight away. Thank you.

    • sofs profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Thank you Tim, all of us are creative if we let ourselves be. We really do need to break out of the box and think out of the blues. Yes a relaxed and clear mind is the birth place of creative thinking or innovative ideas.

      Cheers and Your comment is highly valued.

    • timorous profile image

      Tim Nichol 

      8 years ago from Me to You

      Hey sofs; Really nice article. You certainly covered everything I could think of. Yes, I try and do all those things. I find though, those moments of brilliant inspiration and creativity are elusive. You really need to clear your mind of extraneous thoughts and concerns, if possible. Cheers.


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