What is creative thinking? How do you become a creative thinker?

Thanks for the question. There are several different types of creative thinking, and each has its own combination of supportive conditions and factors that serve it — often varying from one person to the next. Here is an initial take on how I would map those out….

1) Creative problem solving under pressure.

2) Serendipitous inspired insight that leads to innovation.

3) Creative self-expression in an organized form.

4) Creative communication.

5) Outlier thinking (thinking “outside the box”).

6) Discernment and wisdom.

7) Moral creativity.

Now each of these has its own specific definition, context, application and supportive conditions, and generalizing about them all is probably going to miss the mark. But — again as a very loose generalization — there are a number of common factors engaged to varying degrees, including:

1) Letting go of analytical rigor and rapid-cycling “head time” — along with its associated high-pressure intentional focus — to allow alternate input streams (emotional, somatic, spiritual, relational, etc.) to percolate through our awareness.

2) Holding everything involved in a given situation very lightly…what I call “the art of suspension…” so that no particular input or concern dominates.

3) Relinquishing personal ego-attachments to outcomes (i.e. expectations of praise, monetary rewards, career success, etc.).

4) Preparation and self-discipline — personal education, training and skill development in the form of creativity being practiced.

5) Looking inward rather than outward (i.e. relying on the still voice and spaciousness within to evoke and distill creativity, rather than on external stimuli or conditions).

6) Isolation from a deluge of cultural memes — that is, insulating oneself from a constant barrage of media, cultural inputs and expectation, etc.

I would also say that, beyond “creative thinking” itself, these conditions and practices also encourage excellence in creative thinking, choices, expression and follow-through.

My 2 cents.

How can a person be both rational and creative?

Quora answer to "How can a person be both rational and creative?"

Thanks for the A2A. I think this only becomes a dichotomy when we allow analytical reasoning to interfere with creative impulses and vice versa, instead of encouraging harmonious synthesis - we might call this interference "fragmentation." As an example, when I write poetry or a song, I let the words and melody flow from my creative center - the intuitive, emotionally felt, aesthetically-oriented structures in my psyche - and effectively suspend my "editor and arranger," which will only interfere with that flow. Once I've completed my first draft, however, I will take a break (from a few hours to a day) and actively engage my "editor and arranger," which definitely involves more analytical structures. In both cases, it's the same mind being used, but the focus or emphasis of processing - and the structures that are called upon for primary support - are different. Not opposite, but different. And so this is more about shifting the focus of my consciousness between rational and creative, and then into a mode of combining synthesis, which I can do very fluidly now. However, I want to be clear that* this was not always the case*. When I was younger, I had trouble moderating these two modes - I felt more fragmented, as if the underlying structures could only compete rather than synthesize. Either I would remain in my creative space to the detriment of constructive rationality, or I would become hyperrational to the detriment of my creativity. So "being both" required self-discipline and honoring of different dimensions of being and combining them harmoniously, skills which took many years to mature, and the byproduct of which might be called "consilience."

My 2 cents.