Use creative thinking to progress in life

Creative thinking separates the successful from the herd.

Each year I assist a certain political group in Colchester in their elections, this year I decided not to be involved.   When people have run out of ideas, have stopped being creative it fails to impress me.  The mundane approach to lack of money is raise tax, and bring about cuts; important considerations, but on their own uninspiring and uncreative.

The cash problems of a council is reflected in a government, a business and the individual; their approach is often the same unoriginal response of following the herd.  Those that opt for a creative approach to problem solving often are inspiring and successful in resolving a cash crisis.

I read the WordPress blog of an unemployed middle-aged man, who moaned at the unfairness of life.  The blogger to his credit made the effort to attempt to find a job, but it was unoriginal routine methods he used.  The blogger applied to newspaper job vacancies, looked at Craig List, did the sort of thing thousands of competitors were also doing.  By being unoriginal his chances against a vast competition for few opportunities was slim.  Through creative thinking he could look to create opportunities nobody else would know about.  Two thirds of job vacancies are never advertised, and so getting the sense of where those jobs are, catching the attention of a decision maker, perhaps through networking, could pay the blogger dividends.

When I studied the Victorians of Colchester, I was impressed how resourceful they were, leveraging their knowledge and skills to maximum effect; with an adaptability to change their method to changing situations.  Everyone has assets, skills and knowledge that can be leveraged, there is always a need out there for what can be offered.  This is so for business, for they can spin-off a product to a new market, or adapt something for an alternative use through creative thinking.

Government and council appear unable to think creatively, preferring the routine way of cuts to services and raising tax; they seem unable to grasp that they can create an environment to draw money towards their areas of influence, which by indirect means benefits their cash flow. For Colchester I could suggest creating a department dedicated to applying for grants, something that could attract millions of pounds to Colchester; or to leverage their collection of clocks by hiring out to the film industry.

Those who think creatively will always rise above those who can’t.

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9 responses to “Use creative thinking to progress in life

  1. I have to agree with your post. THe idea of creative and critical thinking has been replaced for so many by the concept of just responding to external stimuli and being told that you are actually being original in the process. While technology improves our access to information, it also induces a sense of isolation as it replaces vital human interaction for so many of us. The tidal wave of information can cause us to respond without actually thinking because we have the sense of being overwhelmed by everything. Inevitably, this results in the shortening, and eventually, the near elimination of thought regarding what goes on around us. Why bother to write what we think or feel when someone else has already said basically the same thing?

    When we reach that point, the first thing that suffers is our ability to express our own opinions and thoughts. That takes time, and what if someone thinks I am an idiot? Shirking that responsibility of thinking for yourself because of what someone else might think is an easy way out of being yourself. The people that we read and hear about making a difference are the ones that have refused to abdicate their responsibilities as a person and indeed, are the most creative and critical thinkers among us.

    • Hi John, it appears with each advance of technological progress there is a corresponding loss of meaning and ability to think. I read one blogger suggest the objects we create have become our rulers. It is unfortunate with the explosion of information that instead of making us think, it eliminates thought as you suggest.

      Have you noticed in some debates someone quotes something from Wikipedia or other “authority” as if to say, there it is, argument closed. Such actions encourages those attitudes you have highlighted in your comment.

  2. Alex,

    Yes, I have noticed that trend of believing everything that you can find on the internet. Very lazy way of defending one’s point of view, and very dangerous because people seldom take the time to figure out who is doing that thinking for them in the first place.

    • I attended a lecture once where it was commented that technology encouraged people to become lazy.

      • I am reminded of a commercial for Sony PlayStation where the guy said “You cannot believe everything you read on the Internet. That’s how World War I got started” 😉

  3. I wonder how much of this is a product of the education system. As someone with both advanced graduate degrees and experience teaching in higher education, I am often appalled at the lack of creativity. Case in point: I offer, in my upper division courses, a research-based open ended assignment (open media, theme connected to the course). Its amazing to see so many students struggle because “I’m not giving them a topic” and “I’m not telling them what to do.” I tell them that the goal of education is to have them become critical thinkers….but I’m not sure that most of the education system teaches them to do so. It teaches them to color within the lines, to listen to the rules, and to think within the confines of a discipline (Thomas Kuhn wrote about the same thing in his Structure of Scientific Revolutions). The idea that they have to come up with their own ideas and execute them puts them into an uncomfortable place (which is part of the goal of the assignment, haha).

    Of course, I don’t think this is limited to the education system–most jobs don’t require creative, adaptive thinking either.

    • Hi Willowcrow, it appears to me that the education system is part responsible for the problem. Some people describe modern education as exam factories that prepare students to pass examinations, rather than think for themselves and in a creative manner.

      There are a number of TED videos that look at creativity, and recognise how important it is.
      Examples:

  4. Creative thinking is “inspired” thought. There are also intellect, which stems from knowledge acquired and/or possessed at an Earthly level, and intelligence, which is inherent.

    • It helps me to treat concepts like this in metaphorical terms, there is a great Celtic metaphor of the salmon who eats the nuts of knowledge and becomes wise.

      Wisdom in the Celtic philosophy is equated to creativity.

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