Think Again: Tips On Finding and Flexing Your Creativity

Technical work — including problem-solving — is creative work. In addition, creativity is more than a vague and nebulous attribute that either is or isn’t present when it’s needed. A short article by [Anthony D. Fredericks] gives some practical and useful tips on energizing and exercising one’s creativity.

Why would creative thinking be meaningful to a technical person? The author shares an anonymous observation that as children we’re taught to stay inside the lines, while as adults we are often expected to think outside the box. Certainly when it comes to technical tasks, our focus is more on logical thinking. But problem solving benefits as much from creative thinking as it does from more logical approaches.

How can one cultivate creative thinking? The main idea is that creativity is best flexed and exercised by actively looking for connections and similarities between highly dissimilar elements, rather than focusing on their differences. Some thought exercises are provided to help with this process. Like with any exercise, the more one does it, the better one becomes.

Practicing more creative thinking can help jolt new ideas and approaches to a tough problem, so give it a shot. It’s also worth keeping in mind that we all need a feeling of progress, especially during extended times of applying effort to something, so do yourself a favor and give yourself an occasional win.

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