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Thoughtful Young Woman of Pompei

Creative people are both more flexible and more selective in the way they think.

Highly creative people are different from the average person. It is not that the typical man or woman on the street is not creative. It is just that the quality creator functions at a greater level of sophistication and (often) output.

Three factors make these creators stand out.

First, such people possess the ability to think profitably by a variety of means. That is, they have at their disposal a range of thinking techniques. There is a characteristic flexibility to their thinking not usually seen in ordinary life. In most cases, they did not consciously acquire this powerful set of thought tools. They picked them up unknowingly as they pursued one interest or another. Often they have explored a series of interests. The primary thinking tools are contradictions, comparisons, images, and metaphors.

Second, the highly creative are selective in applying these thought techniques. That is, they intuitively sense which particular contradiction, comparison (products of logical thinking), image, or metaphor (products of associative thinking) is most likely to prove fruitful when considering a given idea, thing, or situation.

Third, we have the creative person’s resolute commitment to their set of emotionally important ideas. That set of ideas is their personal worldview or philosophy of life. Being creative, and having spent much time in their areas of interest, their ideas are likely to diverge from those generally held by the wider population. Creators feel driven to reveal the unseen reality that people pursuing the consensus ideas of the moment have failed to notice.

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