While watching Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland movie, I marvelled at the creative genius behind the original story by Charles Dodgson (pen name, Lewis Carroll). A mathematician, Dodgson toys with logical and illogical notions in his timeless tale of imagination and fantasy. He forces the reader to abandon assumptions about what makes sense in the real world. Dodgson’s illogical prose redefines what is “real”, what is “imaginary”, and what is utter “jabberwocky”.
Creative thinkers choose to venture beyond logic and embrace non-logical possibilities. A creative mind is comfortable thinking logically and illogically; it can adopt multiple viewpoints and integrate challenging situations without judgement or emotional reaction.
Professor Robert Sternberg, renowned psychologist in the field of human intelligence, recently visited UTD and spoke on the topic of creativity. Sternberg believes that creativity is not some innate mental gift, but rather, a conscious skill to create novel and useful ideas. Sternberg suggests that creativity begins with a decision.
I also believe that anyone can think creatively. Once you master the skills needed you’ll find that, with practice, it becomes second nature. The first step in creative thinking is to discover the edges of your ideas—what assumptions and limits are you placing on the problem? Now you are ready to redefine the problem. When you can turn the problem around in your mind and see it from all viewpoints, you will uncover new possibilities that previously did not exist in the landscape of your mind. When a new viewpoint reveals a solution that is both novel and useful, then your creative solution has been “discovered”.
Training and fostering your creative mind is the path to both success and happiness.
Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said. “One can’t believe impossible things.”
“I dare say you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass
About Tony Cecala
Tony is a business strategist. He publishes the Holistic Networker and produces the Wellness Expo. In his spare time he reads about technology and the mind.