November 21

Creative thinking may simply
mean that there is no
particular virtue in doing things
the way they have always been done.

Rudolph Flesch


Today's Meditation:

We all define "creative" in different ways.  What's creative to me may be weird or unpleasant to you.  But creative thinking doesn't have to be appreciated or particularly innovative in order to be creative at heart.  What our thoughts need to be in order to be creative is simply to explore new paths--new ideas and new ways of thinking about things.

We start living by rote when we stop thinking creatively.  We simply do the same things we've always done for the same reasons, and with the same results.  Some things make sense if we keep doing them the same way--I really like coffee the way I make it, so I'm not going to change it.

But I do have to admit that if I were to make coffee differently, I might meet up with a concoction that I like even more than I like the coffee I make now.  There really is "no particular virtue" in the way I do it now--only that I like it.  That doesn't mean, though, that I wouldn't like it other ways, and I'm certainly not thinking creatively when I start to make coffee, though. 

On the other hand, I've been seriously and deeply rethinking the ways that I teach writing and reading.  I constantly think of different ways of evaluating students' work.  I have to stay creative because if I keep doing things the ways that I've always done them, I'm going to grow stagnant and unchanging--and while I may still like my coffee a certain way after so many years, I can guarantee you that I would not continue to be an effective teacher if I were to do things the same way for many years.

We're all creative at heart.  Some create when they work on machines, some are artistically creative, others are creative as salespeople or athletes or managers.  We've got to remember always that creativity is within our grasp, and all it takes is the thought that there's no real particular reason for continuing to do something in the way that it's always been done--so let's look for other ways.

Questions to consider:

How would you define creative thinking?  Do you practice it? 

In what ways might you be able to approach things that you do more creatively?

What is the value in continuing to do things the ways we always have done them (other than safety, or knowing that this way works)?

For further thought:

Creativity requires the courage
to let go of certainties.

Erich Fromm

More on creativity.


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