Creativity: Thirst That Needs Quenching

(getting a "fire in the head" in order to get the flame of creativity in motion)

"There are no tried and true cookbook approaches to becoming creative, or to helping others discover their creativity. Developing creativity, at any level, is a series of personal evolutionary steps, trial and error procedures, and again, a process of sorting out messes. This is often intensely personal work. Thus, finding one's creative sense, or spirit, is rather like a journey into the unknown."

—Leslie O. Wilson

Many artists experiment with their craft, exploring different ways of using familiar tools and media. This heralds the level of invention. Breaking rules is the order of the day, challenging the boundaries of academic tradition, becoming increasingly adventurous and experimental. Inventors use academic tradition and skills as a stepping-stone into new frontiers.

—A. Taylor, "The nature of creative process"

For every person consumed with the need to achieve, there's someone content to accept whatever life brings

For everyone who chooses the 80-hour workweek, there's someone punching out at five. Men and women; so it's said, express ambition differently; so do Americans and Europeans, baby boomers and Gen Xers, the middle class and the well-to-do.

Even among the manifestly motivated, there are degrees of ambition. Steve Wozniak co-founded Apple Computer and then left the company in 1985 as a 34-year-old multimillionaire. His partner, Steve Jobs, is still innovating at Apple and moonlighting at his second blockbuster company, Pixar Animation Studios. Ambition and creativity are expensive impulses that require an enormous investment persistence and motivation.

Convergence and Divergence

Obviously, creativity means numerous things to different people and can be defined in various ways. Creativity can be defined at many distinct levels: cognitively, intellectually, socially, economically, spiritually, and from the finite perspective of different disciplines; business, science, music, art, dance, theater, etc.

Partly because it is tied to business, a great deal of effort has been put forth defining creative problem-solving. In this genre one of the more common definitions of creativity has to do with dissecting creative thought into a process of dual exchanges through the melding of two types of thinking: convergence and divergence.

  1. Definitions of divergent thinking usually include the ability to elaborate, and think of diverse and original ideas with fluency and speed.
  2. Convergent thinking is defined as the ability to use logical and evaluative thinking to critique and narrow ideas to those that are best suited for specific situations, or set criteria. This type of thinking is suited to crucial and well-formed decisions after appraising an array of ideas, information, or alternatives.

In creative production, both thought processes are necessary as one first diverges ideas in numerous quantity and then narrows and refines the array through convergence. Specifically, in creative-problem solving, or in any complex-problem solving activity for that matter, one must be able to weave in and out of divergent and convergent thought patterns in arriving at an appropriate conclusion that is specific for a given situation.