- Olga Zbarskaya, Ph.D
Creativity is a habit of the mind. Characteristics of creativity can be learned and adopted through continuous practice and exercise. To enable fluency, flexibility, originality, and the avoidance of premature closure, it is essential to associate these personality trends with particular means, thoughts, or actions. Thus, fluency is associated with an ability to quickly create sequences of ideas, meanings, arguments, or expressions in relation to a certain entity or situation. To enable fluency, it is essential to practice fast responses, produce ideas even when they are contested, self-monitor, improve working memory, generate strategies, freely reason, and practice thinking of conflicting possibilities. These subcharacteristics of ideational fluency can be promoted by exercises such as identifying problems in structures or products, linking as many objects and conditions as possible, and finding as many synonyms as possible. During my presentations on creative thinking, I usually ask my participants to write a sentence using specific words, name an object based its characteristics as quickly as possible, and create as many ideas that are statistically contradictive as possible. Exercises based on producing multiple ideas to meet certain goals and creating multiple associations among irrelevant objects can be fun and effective ways to improve ideational fluency.
Originality can be improved through forming contradictory ideas and combining them with conventional statements. Forming unexpected associations between distant matters, relabeling objects, and redefining generally approved statements endorse original thoughts. Flexibility can be developed through bending rules and creating new ones, both in writing and in drawing. It can be furthermore boosted by adopting new patterns of thinking, walking, eating, etc. Producing a great variety of ideas within or outside of the defined margins increases the ability to generate unusual thoughts.
The potential-extending process of elaboration can be promoted by engaging in sufficient analysis and exercises in which details related to the primary-topic details are found. Finding supporting content and scrutinizing distinctive characteristics from various points of view contribute to increased elaborative ability. Expanding basic ideas and creating as many possible distinctive cues as possible enhance the capacity to elaborate. “Zooming in” on every single detail through the lenses of scrutiny, comparison, and contrast subsidize general ideas and causal relationships between them. This process advances, refines, completes, and clarifies basic thoughts and improves concepts.
The overprotective inner critic constructs creativity blocks, endorses inaccurate results, and boosts incomplete assumptions. To improve the capacity for postponing preliminary judgment, create as many free associations as possible—and don’t overanalyze them. Remain open to any ideas. Preliminary judgment restrains the exploratory process and minimizes the chance for experiencing new thoughts. Looking at a conventional postulate from an unexpected angle will aid the mind in postponing preliminary closure. For instance, you could gain a new perspective on a movie you don’t like by making a list of reasons why you don’t favor it and then writing the contradictory statements across every negative reason. Striving for a higher number of remote ideas and unexpected connections among them with reserved evaluations and postponed criticism allows creative ideas to fully elaborate and reach their peak. The evaluation process should start only after the idea has been fully elaborated.
Established characteristics of creative thinking—including fluency, originality, flexibility, elaboration, and postponed judgment—stimulate self-improvement from the perspectives of motivation, confidence, and productivity. These personality trends result in continuous personal development and dynamic minds that never stop challenging status quo. Being creative means feeling deeply and concentrating exhaustively, being sensitive and seeing inspiration in everything, taking risks and getting bored with routines. Creativity is the greatest and most valuable trend of the mind; it allows people to invent, imagine, and successfully solve problems. Creativity improves self-esteem and motivation. It doesn’t simply increase achievement; it makes people more open to more challenges in which achievement is a potential endpoint. Fluency, originality, flexibility, elaboration, and postponed judgment help in problem solving across all aspects of life while extending one’s means of self-expression and leading toward mastery. Creativity additionally hones sensitivity to problems, deficiencies, and gaps. It helps in both detecting missing particles and searching for solutions. When improving characteristics of creativity, we reduce causes of stress that trigger aggressive behaviors and nervous breaks. Creative trends help us channel anger into passion and they boost our confidence.
Creativity enhances the quality of solutions to life’s problems and it, better than even intelligence, predicts life achievements. Creative people can adapt to different situations and reach their goals. To improve creativity, in general, and its characteristics, in particular, it is essential to display interest, think new thoughts, open up to experiences, imagine, take risks, and ignore distractions. It is also feasible to set clear goals. Making unusual connections, forming opinions, putting ideas into practice, and classifying information are the powerful tools for successful decision making. Comparing and contrasting, postponing evaluation, and adapting new attention patterns promote creative outcomes. Besides personality characteristics, social environment is important because it can either promote or confine personal tendencies. Using positive affirmation and balancing the inner self are effective practices for enhancing creative self. Establishing a harmonious environment, increasing performance standards, and improvising all promote major characteristics of creativity and increase the likelihood of success.