Look around you. What do you see? Metal, wood, plastics, paper, paint?
Look around again – from a different vantage point. What do you see this time? Machines, buildings, tools, books, pictures?
Once more – look again – from still another point. Now what do you see? Ideas?
Ideas that transformed old, familiar things into new things – new things of utility, safety, beauty? Ideas that produced greater efficiency, pleasure, security, comfort, spirituality, leisure, health?
The day that you have fixed the regular habit of looking at things in this third fashion will be the day that you have really begun to be a highly creative person. In truth, this Third Look is very nearly a definition of creative thinking. If you would like a more formal definition, here is the one that I prefer:
Creative Thinking is the development of new ideas which will satisfy some expressed or implied need of mankind.
That’s what this is all about.
“Who – Me?”
“Well, that leaves me out. Why, I could never write a Crime and Punishment, or develop a polio vaccine, or compose a Fifth Symphony, or invent a rocket motor, or conceive a Theory of Relativity, or design a UN Building, or win a Nobel Prize, or anything like that!”
Is this what you have just said, or are saying, to yourself? If so, all right; so be it.
Perhaps you are not another Tolstoy, or Salk, or Beethoven, or Einstein, or who-have-you. And quite possibly you may never create a planet-rocking innovation, no matter how much you might wish to do so. (How will you ever find out whether you can or cannot, by the way?)
But hold on a moment! You may be jumping to a misconception, and missing the point about creative thinking altogether.
There is nothing whatever in the definition of creative thinking which either explicitly or implicitly connotes that a globe-rattling idea is one whit more creative than one having a relatively tiny sphere of impact. Size has nothing to do with it, really. An idea for a new pin is just as creative as an idea for a cyclotron!
Further – as though you hadn’t already noticed – there is considerable evidence that the world doesn’t even want a constant stream, mass or succession of great, revolutionary, high-powered, magnificent, overwhelming, earth-shattering ideas.
On the contrary, it seems apparent that our insatiable global appetite for new ideas is on a somewhat more mundane level: leaky faucets, job output, the children’s lessons, pay raises, letters, tools, recreation, cooking, classified ads, highway markers, marketing real estate…
These and countless thousands of other kindred elements of our workaday life are no less demanding of the attention of creative minds. And if this is where you feel most at home, fine! – for this, too, is the “proper” realm of creative thinking; and even the most modest contribution made on this plane may also move the world measurably and desirably forward.
Creative Thinking is the development of new ideas – of whatever magnitude, on every plane, in any field of human interest and endeavor – which will satisfy some expressed or implied need or needs of mankind. So…
“Who, me,” you say? Certainly, you! You, of all people.
And that’s what this is all about.