CREATIVE THINKING STYLES
by Dr. Lawrence Wilson
© June 2014, L.D. Wilson Consultants, Inc.
People who think creatively or “out of the box”, as they say, have certain traits in their thinking. Since this is the kind of thinking that is often best, here are some of those traits:
1. Be willing to think differently than others. Most people want to think like their friends, their family and maybe other authority figures. This feels safe and secure and guarantees their social acceptance. However, to think creatively, one must be willing to go it alone, at least for a while until you meet new friends and others who think as you do.
2. Be a little daring. This is similar to the above. One must be willing to entertain ideas and opinions that are out of the mainstream, not as accepted, and sometimes sound odd. If you read this website, you are among those who have a little courage to think differently in this way. However, most people are creatures of the herd and of habit, and have difficulty with anything that is new or different.
3. Think widely. This means to entertain different ideas in your head without judging them so much that you just dismiss them quickly. This is a very important trait for creative people in every field of endeavor.
4. Be willing to change your views. This is hard for many people. One must be willing to say “I was wrong”, “I did not understand well”, and other similar statements. It takes a bit of humility to realize that the mind must grasp ideas and it takes a while to do this, in most cases.
5. Look for the truth and the “big picture”. This is another essential trait. One must not be satisfied with small answers. One must seek the truth in all things. This is not “your truth” or “my truth”. Rather it is THE truth and THE whole picture. This will often clarify many other things and help you greatly in your life.
6. Think things through and remain consistent in your thinking. Many people ignore certain facts, or let certain facts or observations slide. They may even excuse these oversights. If you are to be successful in your thinking, it must be logical and there must not be gaps, oversights or things that are simply ignored because they don’t fit quite right.
For example, we hear that “giving people welfare keeps the economy going”. On its surface this sounds right because the unemployed then spend the money, which keeps other merchants in business. However, there is a problem because if this were true, then why not just put everyone on welfare. As we know, this does not work at all and it bankrupts the nation. So one must be consistent and realize that giving welfare is a stopgap measure only and does not really create wealth. Only working with one’s hands or mind to produce goods and services creates wealth in a society and welfare usually does the opposite by encouraging people not to work.
7. Remain grounded and centered, at all times. This is another critical principle. Too many people entertain ideas that simply do not work. For example, today many people think the government would best control health care, auto companies, oil companies, banks and so on. It sounds okay on the surface. However, history has shown that it simply doesn’t work, no matter how good it may sound.
Government bureaucrats are simply not knowledgeable and smart enough to run companies better than private corporations. So even if one does not like corporations, one must stay grounded and realize that government does an even worse job, in almost all cases. This is certainly the case with the US Post Office, for example, Amtrak (a government railroad), and most government-run enterprises throughout the world.
If you have an idea, you must check it with historical fact and experience. To do this, you must also often read other points of view since too often one gets trapped by one’s own friends and their authors and authorities.
8. Have vision and imagination, as long as it is tempered by the qualities above. Vision, meaning imagining what can be and how it would work, is another quality of all creative people. The Wright brothers imagined how a person can fly an airplane, for instance. Without that, they would not have taken the trouble to build a plane and would not have been able to figure out how to do it.
9. Have respect for ancient as well as modern wisdom. Another way to say this is always learn from both past experience and current situations. Too often people forget the ancients, although another group of people are completely hung up on ancient wisdom and cannot or will not alter things to face current realities. There is a fine line here.
For example, in nutritional balancing science we are always balancing ancient principles of healing with the conditions in our modern world and modern scientific principles.
10. Be willing to generalize from a few facts. This is called inductive reasoning. It is the opposite of logical or deductive reasoning. Both are needed for creative thinking. Most of the time, we do both of these at the same time to arrive at new theories and even new facts.
11. Adopt happy and friendly thinking. This may sound odd. However, all the great people tend to be happy thinkers. This means they have a certain faith that nature will yield her secrets if you just stay with it, and that nature and the universe or God is basically logical and benign, which is why we can be creative at all.
Another way to say this is a quote from Albert Einstein, one of the great thinkers of the twentieth century. He said that the central question is, “Is the universe friendly?” What he meant was: Is the universe logical, consistent, and amazing, and does it yield its secrets when we study it and make experiments.