Developing Your Creative Thinking Skills
Why do some people seem to have no trouble generating new ideas and thinking creatively and others struggle to come up with original ideas?
It all comes down to the ability to think outside the box. Creative thinking is about looking at things differently and finding new ways to solve problems. These skills are not just for artists, musicians, and the like, either. We all need to use this part of our brain!
Whether you are explicitly involved in the arts or not, there are techniques available that will help you tap into the left side of your brain and gain a new perspective.
What is Creative Thinking?
Think about it as looking at problems and situations from an original point of view, one that suggests unusual solutions that may initially be quite unsettling. It can be stimulated by unstructured processes like brainstorming and by more formal activities like lateral thinking and equally important, analytical thinking.
Creativity is the ability to make something new, whether it’s a picture, a piece of music, or an article or story. We need to exercise this part of our brains because we subconsciously form shortcuts. Once we’ve learned a piece of information, a manner of doing things, or a problem-solving technique, we use it again and again.
This is convenient when it comes to using a knife and fork since we don’t have to relearn how to eat using cutlery every time we want something to eat. But the disadvantage is that we stop paying attention to what we’re seeing, doing, or saying regularly, and it’s easy to fall into a rut.
Beyond more formal ways of creating new ways of thinking, there are little things that you can start including in your day-to-day life that will get your brain exercising.
A great way to start is by spreading your wings socially, actively seeking out and spending time with a wider, more diverse group of people.
We get on best with people similar to us, and particularly those with a kindred background and comparable views on life. But, if we only associate with these individuals, we run the risk of allowing our thinking to get lazy. Our assumptions go unchallenged and our views, no matter how faulty they may be, constantly get reinforced in these social circles.
Take time to go out and make new friends, meet new people, and pay special attention to those who are not so much like you. Check out Bingo games for money online, for example, and engage with your fellow players. As fun as these titles are to play, there’s a huge social element to them, and you’ll meet people from all over the world this way.
By simply putting yourself out there, in the way of new experiences and unfamiliar people, your thinking will broaden, and you’ll be better able to see and do things differently.
Travel as Much as You Can
Research studies have repeatedly shown that people who have lived abroad and travel widely are consistently more able to think creatively when problem-solving than those who have not.
We don’t all have the means to hop on a plane, passport in hand, whenever we want to, but the internet has made the world a much smaller place. Actively seeking out and taking advantage of brand-new opportunities will have the same effect, so challenge yourself to learn a new language, try new dishes in the kitchen, get a new hobby, and meet people outside your comfort zone.
Challenge Your Thinking
Another study revealed that people asked to think of individuals who did not fit into a stereotype, like a male midwife, for example, were better able to think creatively than those asked to bring to mind someone who did. As small as this may seem, it shows the effect of conventional thinking on our ability to formulate new ideas.
Be conscious of stereotypes, question yourself often, and you’ll find that you’re thinking out of the box more often.
Actively Engage with Art, Music, and Theatre
People who make a habit out of going to the theatre, attending music concerts, and seeing art exhibitions are more able to think creatively because these activities challenge our perceptions.
Above and beyond making you feel more connected and fostering connections with people who don’t think like you, enjoying arts in your leisure time will help you broaden your horizons as well entertain and amuse you.
Enjoy the Benefits of Creative Thinking
There are many advantages to being able to think a little differently. You will notice a vast improvement in your problem-solving abilities and find it easier to see things from someone else’s perspective. You may notice a decrease in the overall conflict in your life as a result.
In an increasingly global world, broadening your horizons, learning new skills, taking on challenging tasks and gaining insight into your habits and methods of communication will pay off huge dividends.