“Creative geniuses redefine the desired solution. They don’t just push the envelope; they create a whole new courier system.”
Puneet Bhatnagar

When we consider creative thinking, we tend to imagine that it is a personality trait- that some people are more creative than others. We put ourselves into boxes and stay there. But creative thinking is available to all of us and has little or nothing to do with our personality or gifts. Creative thinking is really about giving ourselves the freedom to trust our ideas and ask questions that maybe others are uncomfortable asking. It is about giving ourselves the freedom to think differently from conventional patterns. in fact, creative thinking is an innate trait given to all human beings.

Often when we encounter roadblocks or “unsolvable” or “impossible” problems we tend to get frustrated and fail to see any options or solutions because we only look at what we want to see. We become blinded by our own thinking. Other times we put up our own barriers and limit ourselves to what is expected or what has already been done before whether or not it has given positive results. Somewhere along the line, we lose the innate creativity that we were born with and which was so alive when we were children.

In his book The Power of Your Potential, international leadership author and speaker, John Maxwell gives 8 keys to increasing our capacity to think creatively.

1. Believe There Is Always an Answer

If we begin with this mindset that there is a solution, then we can also eliminate the idea that there is no solution. In this way, creative thinking is a choice to see what is possible rather than what is impossible. The process of finding a solution then becomes a stimulating challenge rather than a frustrating exercise in futility (banging our heads against a wall).  Choosing to believe that there is always an answer opens up new possibilities and new doors that we might never have thought of exploring.

“A conclusive mind cannot be a creative mind.”
amit kalantri,

2. Believe There Is More Than One Answer

John Maxwell likes the word optionsIt is natural to think that for every problem there is only one solution. We seem to be wired to think this way. But what if we chose to consider and think of several possible options and then choose which one is optimal for the situation? In this way, we can harness the thinking power of several people (brainstorming) to collectively find possible solutions/answers. Thinking this way helps us to develop open-mindedness, flexibility, and adaptability which are all efficient skills to have for problem-solving.

3. People and Situations Can Change and Get Better

People and situations can change and they change all the time. Whatever a situation looks like today is not necessarily how it will look tomorrow or next week. New information, new ideas can turn a situation around. People equipped with new and better information can begin to grow and change their mindset and ways of doing things. Nothing is a lost cause. When we believe situations and people can change and improve, we are beginning with an advantage over not believing in possibility. When we believe in possibility, we become part of the solution.

“Change the questions you ask, the way you view the issue will be transformed and innovation will start!”
Isaac You, 

4. Questions Help Us Become More Creative

Questions are an important catalyst in stimulating creative thinking and open questions such as “What if..?’ stoke the creative spark even more. Ultimately we want to think creatively to see how we can improve things, make them even better than before, and how we can improve ourselves in different areas. Questions force us to reflect and evaluate. Having creative people around us asking questions also stimulates us to think differently and collectively. Steve Jobs said:

“Creativity is just connecting things.”

5. Ideas Don’t Have to Be Perfect

What is important is having ideas and cultivating ideas. They do not need to be fully developed. Sometimes we are afraid of sharing our ideas with others because we fear they might be criticized or dismissed. The fear of rejection can have a paralyzing effect on us. But stimulating our imagination and cultivating ideas no matter how good or bad they are is part of the creative process. Some ideas will become superstar ideas and others will end up in the trash can. The point is to have ideas and not be afraid of them. If they don’t work, just move on to one that does.

6. Let Go of How You thought Yesterday

What worked or was valid yesterday might not be appropriate for today. Sometimes we sit for too long on what worked in the past and we expect that it will always be the case. Furthermore, by hanging on to past ways of doing things we inhibit ourselves from learning and embracing new ways of doing things. If we hang on to the past we could very well miss out on opportunities. Sometimes being too satisfied prevents us from being dissatisfied and we don’t actively seek out improvement. It really comes down to are we too comfortable within our secure structure to climb out of the box and embrace creativity?

7. Get Around Creative People

Having creative people around us is like supercharging our own creativity. So a group of out-of-the-box thinkers is an important tool in the creative toolbox. However, as John Maxwell says, it is also important to form a group of the right people who are flexible with ideas, generate original ideas,  willing to take risks, imaginative, have a shared value system and other qualities. It is important to get around people who will synergize with one another and not create fireworks.

8. Find A Quiet Space


The final key to increasing our creative potential is to regularly have alone time with ourselves to think from within. Just as it can be beneficial to bounce off of the ideas of others, it is equally important to spend time alone thinking and reflecting on various questions or whatever we want to think about.

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Diana Lynne’s passions are family, traveling, learning, and pursuing a debt-free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and being with her dog Skye. Diana is a Quebec City girl. who loves living life.  You can connect with her through Livingandstuff.ca