Creativity is another cognitive skill that suffers from the fallacy of inborn ability. This process is one that occurs mostly on a subconscious level as a result of a well prepared and educated mind shaped by a variety of experiences and knowledge. A well prepared mind boasts three character strengths; adventurous, persistence and bravery. Being adventurous enough to take two seemingly unrelated things and put them together, being persistent enough to work through the problems and challenges until something new emerges or an answer reveals itself, and being brave enough to expose this new combination or solution to the world.
Imagination is a skill used in a variety of cognitive processes like predicting, planning, hypothetical reasoning, visualizing events in the past or future, language comprehension and in design. This skill uses memories and experiences that already exist in two ways; 1.) To dream up fictional events or stories about princesses, dragons and robots that can fly, and 2.) To visualize something non-fiction that hasn’t yet been seen, has yet to occur or even exist.
Enhancing Creativity and Imagination
The term ‘combinatory play’ is used to describe the moment when creativity and imagination are at work. Albert Einstein once said, “Combinatory play seems to be the essential feature in productive thought”. What he means by ‘combinatory play’ is how an individual takes two independent ideas, facts, symbols or objects and allows them to interact with each other. ‘Productive thought’ in this light, is the end result of that combinatory play period or “incubation”. Productive thought does not have to be perfect or even something that works the first time. Failure can be just as productive, in some cases, as success.
Try out the following creativity and imagination activities. You can set a timer if it helps you move along or if you struggle to generate ideas under pressure, spend as much time as you wish.
1.) Write down as many number of uses as you can think of:
Brick Book Chair Paper towel roll Plastic Cup
2.) You’ve shown up to a construction site and forgot your toolbox. Time to get creative. Think of as many different items you might be able to use for each forgotten tool.