AFRICANGLOBE – Creativity works in the most mysterious ways. Creative thinking is an unwavering and defining characteristic for some, but it varies based on the situation and setting.
We’ve all experienced it at some point. That inspiration and idea that seemingly springs from nowhere, causing an excited perplexed feeling of satisfaction. Unknown, creative thinking does require complex cognition yet is completely distinctive from the cognitive thinking process.
Neuroscience paints a byzantine depiction of creativity. As scientists understand it, creativity is intricately more complex than the right-left brain distinction. In fact, creativity is thought to involve a number of cognitive processes, neural pathways and emotions, that transpire subconsciously and spurts out connected and logical neuro-concepts.
“It’s actually hard for creative people to know themselves because the creative self is more complex than the non-creative self,” Scott Barry Kaufman, a psychologist at New York University who has spent years researching creativity.
He says, Creative types know, despite what their third-grade teachers may have said, that daydreaming is anything but a waste of time.
Remember how teachers told us we ought to stop daydreaming? It may seem mindless, but a 2012 study suggested it possibly involves a highly engaged brain state. Most times daydreaming has led to unexpected and significant connections and insights because it’s related to our ability to recall data inputs despite distractions. Neuroscientists have found daydreaming involves the same brain processes associated with imagination and creativity.
Creative thinkers are normally the ones who go against the grain. Everyone goes this way, they’ll go the other. Despite this, creative thinkers have some sought of dynamism about them and the way they think. They are normally laid back type of people, yet very effective. So I thought as we wind down the week that we’ll list some of the characteristics of creative thinkers.
Ever thought that the saying “the world is your oyster” was over rated? Meet the creative person. I call it “David Copperfield intelligence”. These kinds of folks observe and identify possibilities everywhere. Their minds are like super sponges, taking in information that becomes provender for creative expression. As Henry James is widely quoted, “a writer is someone on whom “nothing is lost.”
The writer Joan Didion kept a notebook with her at all times, and said that she wrote down observations about people and events as, ultimately, a way to better understand the complexities and contradictions of her own mind:
“However dutifully we record what we see around us, the common denominator of all we see is always, transparently, shamelessly, the implacable ‘I,’” Didion wrote in her essay On Keeping A Notebook. “We are talking about something private, about bits of the mind’s string too short to use, an indiscriminate and erratic assemblage with meaning only for its marker.”
Many great artists have whispered that their best works are achieved either very early in the morning or late at night. Vladimir Nabokov started writing immediately after he woke up at 6 or 7 a.m., and Frank Lloyd Wright made a practice of waking up at 3 or 4 a.m. and working for several hours before heading back to bed.
Many iconic stories and songs of all time were inspired by gut-wrenching pain and heartbreak. These times and moments were the catalyst to creating great art. An emerging field of psychology called post-traumatic growth suggests that many people use their hardships and early-life trauma for considerable creative growth. Specifically, researchers have found trauma as a trigger to help people grow in the areas of interpersonal relationships, spirituality, and creativity.
“A lot of people are able to use that as the fuel they need to come up with a different perspective on reality,” says Kaufman
The Experience Seekers
Creative people love new experiences, sensations and states of mind that completely relax them.
“Openness to experience is consistently the strongest predictor of creative achievement,” says Kaufman. “This consists of lots of different facets, but they’re all related to each other: Intellectual curiosity, thrill seeking, openness to your emotions, and openness to fantasy. The thing that brings them all together is a drive for cognitive and behavioural exploration of the world, your inner world and your outer world.”
Curiosity killed the cat – not the curious person. Did you know? All of these thing we can instil in kids – not to change their personality, but to instil new way of absorbing things, life and variables around themselves. Creative people are genuinely, insatiably curious. They also have an aptitude to read people very easily.
They Passion Followers
Creative minds are intrinsically motivated. They simply follow their passions, especially if there challenges.
“Eminent creators choose and become passionately involved in challenging, risky problems that provide a powerful sense of power from the ability to use their talents,” write M.A. Collins and T.M. Amabile in The Handbook of Creativity.
Being creative means that you will find activity like dancing, painting or nature as a means of expressing themselves “in the zone,” or what’s known as a flow state. “Flow is a mental state when an individual transcends conscious thought to reach a heightened state of effortless concentration and calmness.”
‘Creatives’ reach this state when they are involve or active in something that challenges them or it takes them to a deeper state of thought.
“[Creative people] have found the thing they love, but they’ve also built up the skill in it to be able to get into the flow state,” says Kaufman.
So, now that we know some of the things that spark creativity, maybe gradually introducing our children and youth to facets of their passion may help improve their personal creativity. Whatever their aptitude, which differs from person to person, each person must have a spark of creativity that can be drawn from connections they really don’t know have already been made.
By: Elton Plaatjes