Creative people create things. It’s that simple. They imagine something new, or imagine alternative options of something that already exists. So if you assembled your outfit today, built a presentation for work, or made your family dinner; you created an outfit, presentation or meal. That means you applied some type of creative thinking, and yes my friend, that makes you a creative person!
Now, are there different levels of creative skill? Absolutely, just like there are different skill levels of driving a car, playing basketball, or typing on a computer. It takes practice to improve your creative skills.
This article places emphasis on someone who tends to have a higher affinity for being creative, and practices creative thinking beyond the average day’s duties or activities. We look at the positive characteristics of creative people and the importance of creative thinking. We also provide some tips on how to be more creative for the person who wants to improve their creative thinking skills.
Creative Definition and Meaning
Merriam-Webster's CREATIVE definition (adjective for a person) is: having the ability or power to create; created something original rather than imitated; imaginative
True Mydentity prefers to add a little spice to that dish.
The term “Artist” does not encompass creative people. Being creative is not solely about art. It’s about creating. Creative people imagine or make something different; something new. They create something, and it may or may not be considered art.
Being creative means experiencing the world with an open-mind and curiosity…then asking, “what if?” It’s about thinking differently, approaching issues from multiple perspectives, finding solutions, making something beautiful, or blowing one’s mind with a designed experience like nothing ever done before.
Creative thinking and problem solving allows us to adapt and survive. It is a skill that has helped build the human race into what it is today. It will also help build and sustain our future.
So when the topic of fixing an issue or creating something comes up in casual conversation; take a moment to stop and realize the significance, the big picture of what that discussion is really about.
Complete our free questionnaire and find out if being creative is one of your most dominant character traits, and which of the other 58 traits are also your most powerful qualities.
9 Positive Characteristics of Creative People
- Curious - Creative people like to look at things differently. They may not ask questions openly, but their mind is actively coming up with multiple alternatives or variables. If there is a common perception, the creative person may offer an alternative. What if we tried this, or did that? What would it look like, how would it work, and would we even like it?
- Dynamic - The creative person’s mind is likely highly dynamic (and the way they express themselves may follow suit). Creative people have an active imagination; not only processing people and things as they are, but often how they could be.
- Genuine - Like most people, the creative person typically knows what they like and don’t like. They are most comfortable when their five senses are enjoying what pleases them. But what takes them a bit higher on the genuine scale is they must express their imagination outward and present it to the world in some form. Because to CREATE is what the creative person does, and creating from their own imagination is as genuine as it gets.
- Independent - The creative person tends to be a bit more independent, more so with their thoughts than anything else. Because they typically decipher the world around them in a “real” and an “imaginative” way, they may have a tendency to keep many of their own original thoughts or ideas to themselves. At least until they find themselves in an environment where creative expression is comfortable for them.
- Intelligent - Having the ability to process what’s around you and vividly imagine it differently, and to create something from an imagined vision, highlights the intelligence of a creative person’s mind.
- Open-Minded - It’s difficult to be imaginative without opening the mind to possibilities.
- Perceptive - The creative person’s mind is naturally running in the background imagining alternative variations of things. Creative people are great to ask for another perspective.
- Serious - Creative people are serious about their creations. In a sense, their creations are a part of them. Derived from their imaginative mind and often created by their own hands, or a team of hands they manage. Therefore, they will act and speak sincerely, passionately and in earnest regarding their creations.
- Skilled - Creative people constantly train their creative minds and learn how to express their imagination through trial and error. And over time, they will master their skills; their craft. Whether it’s creating a startup business, designing new manufacturing equipment, or painting a beautiful landscape; whatever playground and medium(s) the creative person chooses to create; will be mastered over time. They will learn how their imaginative mind and creative skills work best together to outwardly produce what needs to come out, and they will learn how they prefer to present it.
Importance of Creative Thinking
Creating begins with creative thinking. Whether it’s fresh, crazy, logical, systematic, beautiful or inspiring; the ability to create begins with creative thinking.
Creative thinking is more than just imaginative art and design. It can be innovative and help us create new and exciting things. It can help us to develop systems and processes that allow us to do things faster, easier or for lower cost. Yes, creative thinking helps us to express ourselves, but it also helps us solve problems and improve our quality of life. It truly is a gift, given to each of us to wield as we see fit.
6 Types of Creative Thinking
- Divergent thinking - This is the brainstorm; where the intent is to imagine as many possibilities as you can; creating multiple unique ideas, or solutions to an issue.
- Convergent thinking - Convergent thinking is the opposite of divergent thinking, and the two are often used together for problem solving. This type of creative thinking is the fact finder, where the intent is to find the most logical and well-defined solution to an issue; often referred to as finding the “correct answer”.
- Lateral thinking - Lateral thinking prioritizes fresh perspectives to a problem. It is often included in the divergent thinking stage of problem solving. This type of creative thinking intentionally overlooks obvious approaches or solutions to an issue in favor of a fresh approach or new solution. It can have a disruptive effect, often leading to “bad or crazy” ideas, but these “bad or crazy” ideas may contain some legitimate opportunity to pursue.
- Aesthetic thinking - This type of creative thinking looks at something for its design, the beauty of its nature through structure, composition, color and size; commonly applied in the arts, design occupations or hobbies.
- System thinking - System thinking looks at the process. This type of creative thinking analyzes the way a complex system works, step by step, and how the parts connect and interact.
- Inspirational thinking - This type of creative thinking tries to tell the ideal story with the happiest conclusion. The priority is to imagine the best case scenario, every little interaction along the way, and all that is required to deliver the most amazing experience for all involved. Think, Disney World (minus waiting in lines).
Creative Thinking in Your Learning
Practice, practice, practice and practice some more. Going through educational exercises and experiences will help to train your mind in how to apply creative thinking. Over time your mind will learn to think creatively naturally.
When it comes to learning in the classroom, creative thinking becomes a student’s ability to imagine new ideas and apply them to solve assigned problems. This provides them with experience looking at issues from different perspectives and ways to apply different solutions; an extremely valuable skill set in an adult's life after school. This should be an ongoing practice, not just in school.
Ongoing learning is always encouraged for adults throughout their life, and applying creative thinking to problem solving is one of the most advantageous. Be sure to review the tips at the end of this post for ways to further train your creative brain.
Creative Thinking on the Job
Creative thinking is a valuable skill to have on the job. Employers want creative thinkers because they need problem solvers. They want employees who are dedicated to completing the required tasks of their role. BUT if an employee can also identify an issue, implement one or several of the creative thinking types to find a solution, offer that solution to the organization, or simply use it to assist in optimizing their own daily work efficiency; that is a huge win-win for the employer. AND a major competitive edge for that employee.
When a job description states the role requires a problem solver or problem solving skills, know that your creative thinking is a big part of what they’re looking for. The other part, of course, is your ability to do the work and fix problems. So when interviewing for a job and you’re asked to describe a time when you had to solve a problem, be sure to touch on the creative thinking that went into your solution. This will show them you can think strategically AND do the work. This is a competitive advantage that will put you one step ahead of other candidates they may be considering.
Creative Thinking in Relationships
Self-Expression: Representing half of the contributing partners in a two-person relationship requires that you are present and engaged with the other half to assure the strengths and benefits of the relationship are realized. That means expressing yourself. Sharing openly how you feel about the other person, how you appreciate your partner, and the value they provide your life and the lives of others. Share your feelings regarding the ongoing health of your joint relationship; what’s going well and what could be improved. Discuss your future together; where you hope to be, what you plan to accomplish, and what needs to be done to achieve your goals and dreams. If you do not share it openly with your partner (in a rational, respectful, and objective way), they will never truly know that part of you; and therefore never truly know all of you.
Perspectives: There are many ways to look at something; many viewpoints and ideas about how to define something. In a relationship, where two people often have different views, using your creative thinking skills to imagine other perspectives or viewpoints can be helpful in at least understanding where the other person may be coming from, and it may even change your perspective entirely.
Effective Process to Consider Different Perspectives
TRY THIS: When the opportunity arises, try to stop yourself and look at whatever it is from their perspective.
- Ask and Listen: “What do you want me to better understand?” Then listen closely.
- Repeat it back by saying: “What you want me to better understand is ______, Do I have that right?"
- Engage your creative thinking. Put yourself in their shoes. Acknowledge their perspective and share what you understand about it. If your different perspectives caused a heated exchange between the two of you, maybe an apology is in order. After acknowledging what you understand about their perspective, if you feel differently about any of what your partner shared, then tell your partner, “I’d like to share what's on my mind about this.”
- Share how you feel about the topic and offer your perspective. Then attempt to reach a mutual conclusion by stating, “What I’d like now is ______.” This should steer the conversation to a compromise, a mutual agreement, or an agreement to disagree until it can be addressed at a later time.
This method of sharing perspectives and putting yourself in the other person’s shoes is an effective relationship tool, and it does exercise your creative mind. It does take time to get good at it; to train your emotions to take a back seat for a bit while you work through this process of sharing perspectives with each other.
That said, you may be surprised by what you discover, and how taking the time to better understand and/or consider the other person’s perspective may bring you closer together.
Imagine and Create Together: Dream about your future together. Plan the new landscaping for the house together. Take a cooking, dance or art class together. These types of engaging activities and shared experiences help to build a stronger bond between two people. And, they can be really fun!
9 Tips on How to be More Creative
If you are wondering how to be creative, let me stop you right there.
You are creative. But, maybe you’re wondering how to be MORE creative?
For most of us, if you want to get better at something you need to practice. Well, becoming more creative is no different. If you’re serious about it, you will need to try some different things to train your creative muscles.
When you find some time, try these tips on how to be more creative:
- Give Your Mind Permission: Let your mind step outside the “real” stuff and imagine things differently. It doesn’t matter how whacky, messed up or weird you get with your imagination; just don’t let your rational brain put you back in the “real” zone. Ignore it for a little while and let your mind run wild!
- Ask “What if?”: Asking, “What if?” opens up endless possibilities, where anything and everything is game. Asking “what if” can be used for brainstorming and problem solving. It generally initiates creative visualization and your imagination generates ideas. Using it to solve a problem, in this case to solve a scheduling conflict, could be something like, “What if we go to the movies Thursday instead of Friday.” Or an example of using it to brainstorm illustrations for a children’s book could be, “What if everybody had a balloon for a head”.
- Observe and Modify: This is a specific exercise that puts asking “What if” into play. Simply observe something interesting in your surroundings and imagine if something about it changed. Vividly visualize the modified version in your mind, then modify it again, and again. Continue the modification process until you're satisfied with your new creation. Then, try it on something else.
- Write, Doodle, Sketch, and Tinker: Use your hands to produce something from what’s quietly sitting in your brain. Put it down on paper or mess with the pieces or materials. Bottom line, get your hands involved and get them dirty if necessary. Start a journal, sketch out random things in a notebook, or take something apart and put it back together differently.
- Take Notes or Journaling: By writing things down, you capture a text version snapshot of what’s running through your mind at a specific time, and this can be useful down the road. The act of writing it down will help you remember the experience and any thoughts you had at the time, but when the right opportunity presents itself, you can combine that past experience with new possibilities and ideas!
- Daydream: Try doing nothing. Literally nothing. Let your mind wander. If doing nothing is hard for you; take a walk, take a shower, or go workout. The goal here is to unplug (no phone or computer) and to minimize engaging with anything or anyone to let your mind simply wander. It may be beneficial to find a preferred quiet place that eliminates as many distractions as possible. This helps to remove any physical or mental obstacles that may be blocking your natural creative thinking and problem solving abilities.
- Play: Swing on a swing, build with Legos, assemble a puzzle, play a card game, or play a pick up game of basketball. Bottom line, get active and let your mind engage in the experience. It’s great for the mind (and the body) to be actively engaged with something outside of your normal routine.
- Time in Nature: This is NOT time sipping your coffee from inside your house looking at the bird feeder (although, actively observing birds probably does trigger creative thinking). Instead get IN nature, so all of your senses can see, hear, smell, touch, or even taste it. Studies have shown being in nature may increase your creativity, make you happier and reduce stress. It turns out nature may activate cognitive areas of the brain tied to creative thinking. There are many rewards that come from a hike through nature, and improving your creative thinking skills may be one of them.
- Be Patient: Try not to get frustrated with your creative thought process. You will not become a creative genius overnight. It will likely take a decent amount of time to train your mind to use your creative thinking skills and your imagination more often. Even the greatest creative minds hit roadblocks at times.
Creative - True Mydentity Style
True Mydentity offers designs on our clothes that highlight 58 positive character traits. The powerful creative trait is one of the 58 character traits featured. We believe if you know your dominant positive characteristics, and focus on what you do to learn, work and build relationships using these dominant traits, you will feel more fulfilled and closer to your purpose. And as you improve upon leveraging these positive character traits in your learning, work and relationships; you move toward discovering your full potential.
Reinforce the power of your most dominant character traits. If you are a creative person, proclaim it with True Mydentity apparel; comfortably casual for the authentic and empowered.
Complete the questionnaire and find out which of the 58 traits are your most dominant.