In a complicated modern world, keeping our minds dynamic puts us up with the rapid pace of change. A flexible mind- being non-judgmental, open and receptive, makes us highly resilient. If there is an effective way that this can be harnessed, it is through creative thinking. What is the relationship between creative thinking and resilience that makes a fluid mind?
First, we may have to define what creative thinking is about. These are skills that any person can sharpen, whether they are from the arts discipline or not. When we speak about creativity, does it mean that we should be able to draw, paint or sculpt to practice it? This is where the difference lies between creativity and artistry, to which the ability to make beautiful things is a product of the latter. When one is creative, it is not synonymous with being artistic. Creativity is a skill of generating ideas to solve problems in different ways and not with one answer alone. It is a practice of expanding your thoughts without being judged or limited, to which an authentic creative experience plays a part.
Convergent vs Divergent
Think of an activity where you can make as many ideas as possible without being judged. Right now, the art world is viewed to be “licensed” to do that because artists are given the permission to be unique to the extreme of being peculiar with their ideas. In the world of art, a person is allowed to be fluent with their thoughts, to elaborate concepts, to explain things from their own point of view and even experiment on new ideas. This is why the mind becomes more fluid in a creative experience. There is no judgment on what ideas can be generated.
Sadly, anything outside of this creative world should otherwise have a correct and incorrect answer. Everything else should be convergent, which means that every problem has a corresponding answer- like Math and the Sciences. That may put the world in order, thus, making Convergent thinking valuable. But in the paradigm of relationship building, negotiating and new ways of thinking, a convergent mind may limit us in terms of our career choices and expectations towards others.
What creativity harnesses is the other side- divergent thinking. In a presented problem, there can be so many answers. Guilford talks about four creative thinking skills that promote divergence: Fluency, Flexibility, Originality and Elaboration.
Fluency is about generating as many answers to one question. Guilford’s Circles Test help one think of as many ways to visualize a circle. Elaboration is expanding a reference concept through adding details. The Mind Mapping Method is one effective way of increasing fluency and elaboration skills. What comes out may be original as it comes from an array of choices. Flexibility allows one to shift thought patterns and quickly adapt to new models. Flexible thinking can be harnessed through play and experimentation.
Flexibility and Resilience
Flexible thinking has a strong link with resilience. When one is able to quickly shift thoughts and emotions, it becomes easier to bounce back from sudden change. We easily bounce back from defeats and take account of our actions. We do not feel victims of outside situations. This has something to do with this world right now where change is always inevitable. If we aren’t flexible enough, how will we quickly adapt to setbacks, loss, new technology, unpredictable people and economic shifts?
Drawing from Spencer Johnson’s classic book, Who Moved My Cheese, he emphasizes the need to constantly find ways to adapt to change. As we increase our flexibility and resilience, we gain a wider acceptance of ourselves- to be more forgiving, accommodating and receptive to diversity. We get to be non-judgmental, understanding and flexible about our views of others. When we see that in ourselves, we see it in others as well. In our relationships at work and personal lives, we do not always control other’s responses to the point of driving them away.
Creative Thinking and Well Being
In Creative thinking, I began to view myself divergently. I realized that I am not defined by my work or my material possessions. I can be different persons in one. This gives me the freedom to pursue my well-being and constantly assess my spiritual, physical, intellectual, emotional, social and occupational dimensions which are according to Dr. Hettler’s 6 Dimensions of Wellness. I periodically check myself on how I am faring with my wellness areas and how I can improve them. And what better way to assess oneself than through interpreting it in a creative experience? Art is divergent, offers multiple layers of expression and can be explained in different ways. By using art as a way of discovering how it can nurture the well-being, it becomes a rich source of self-discovery.
I focus on building a stronger self-concept that is solid enough to sustain and enrich my relationships. Being an effective partner, son, daughter, friend or colleague comes from strength within. This strength can emerge from as simple as letting creativity come into one’s life.
Amos V. Manlangit offers Well-Being Management Through the Arts, a series of seminar-workshops designed to help in visioning, personal leadership, expression, mindfulness, resilience and grit. For more information, contact sir Amos at 0917-534 1780, or email email@example.com . Check his website www.amosmanlangit.weebly.com