What Is Creativity? How Can You Increase Creativity?

What Is Creativity?
What Is Creativity?. artpartner-images/Getty Images

Question: What Is Creativity? How Can You Increase Creativity?

What is creativity? If you are an inventor, artist or both, you definitely use your creativity. Creativity is the ability to problem solve and create with an an innovative, novel, or new outlook. You use your creativity when you make an invention or create a new work of art.

Creativity is Productive

Creativity is not just the use of your imagination, it is the use of your imagination followed by the act of creation.
Having great ideas and thoughts is not enough to be creative, without producing, great ideas and thoughts alone would be just being imaginative.

Answer: We have described what creativity is, but can creativity be increased? What do you need in order to be more creative?

Creative people are able to look at things and situations in novel ways and from different angles and perspectives. Tests for creativity often measure the number of, and how unique the answers are, that a creative person can think of. Can an individual learn to increase the number of different ways to look for solutions? Is it possible for a person to increase their creativity with both education and training?

Author Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi broadly describes the characteristics of a creative person in his book, Creativity, Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention. Take a look at the following characteristics and consider what they say about creative persons.

  • that creative persons have a great deal of energy, however, they are also often quiet and at rest
  • creatives are on the smart side, but they often have an air of naivety at the same time
  • creatives have a interesting combination of traits relating to playfulness and discipline, or responsibility and irresponsibility
  • creatives alternate between imagination and fantasy, however they also have a rooted sense of reality, as crazy as they may seem to others they are still grounded
  • creatives seem to harbor opposite tendencies on the continuum between extroversion and introversion
  • creatives are remarkable humble and proud at the same time
  • to a certain extent, creatives escape rigid gender role stereotyping and have a tendency toward androgyny
  • generally, creative people are thought to be rebellious and independent
  • usually creatives are very passionate about their work, yet they can be extremely objective about it as well
  • the openness and sensitivity of creative individuals often exposes them to suffering pain yet also a great deal of enjoyment
Overall, it seems that creative people could be described as very flexible in their thinking, as you can see from the several sets of traits that are opposites that creative people have both of. You may or may not relate to the above characteristics, however, you can still train yourself to become more creative. The number one thing I would emphasize is that it doesn't matter if you have not been what you consider to be creative previously. The very fact that you are reading this article is enough, any motivated individual can become more creative and successful with his or her creativity.

Separate Your Thinking

When the human mind is working on solving problems, psychologists have identified two main ways of thinking. You should separate the different thought processes since that could be strangling your creativity.

One way of thinking is called "divergent" that's when we think big and brainstorm thinking of all kinds of possibilities and generating many ideas, you might be thinking, "I could have a million people watching my TV show about inventors, and we'd time travel and interview Albert Einstein, and bring Henry Ford along.

Another way of thinking when problem solving solving is called "convergent". That's when we make lists of what needs to be done in a step by step fashion. You would think about, "I have to call Einstein and Ford and see when they both would be free, f they are not both still alive I'll call the casting agency for replacements."

Both types of thinking are important, however, don't let one stifle the other, allow yourself to think big and then figure out the step by step plan to achieve that big idea.

More Free Training - How to Increase Your Creativity

The following tutorials illustrate different ways that you can boost your creativity.

20 Tips from Psychology for Boosting Creativity
Kendra Cherry gives you twenty tips on how to increase your creativity, all based on proven psychological methods. Try a new one every day.

The Mind Map: 6 Steps to Get Your Creativity Flowing
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15 Cool Ways To Boost Your Creativity
Pick Your Brain offers fifteen simple tips for increasing your creativity that you may not have heard of, such as: eating more blueberries and listening to types of music with certain frequencies with binaural beats and isochronic tones.

How to Increase Your Creativity
Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen gives you a list of simple yet effective methods for sparking your creativity, from taking a nap to getting out of town.