Written by: Lach Ravelo

The Creative Mind: How Creative People Think and Solve Problems


Explore the unique ways how creative people think and solve problems. Read this.

What is it about creative people that makes them think differently than the average person?

Creative individuals have a unique way of perceiving the world and expressing themselves that sets them apart from others. There is something special about the creative mind that allows creative types to unlock their inner creative genius. Here’s a blog about how creative people think and solve problems:

What is Creative Thinking?

Creative thinking involves making connections between concepts and ideas that may seem unrelated to the average person. Creative brains are able to think flexibly, exploring possibilities and combining different perspectives. This ability to synthesize information allows creative people to generate novel solutions to problems. They are not constrained by conventional ways of doing things.

What is Creative Expression?

Creative expression comes naturally to those with a creative mind. Creative people have a strong desire to exercise their imagination and find an outlet for their innovative ideas. They thrive when given the freedom to experiment and actualize the products of their creative genius. Whether through art, writing, music, or other means, creative individuals have a natural ability to think outside the box and break free from mainstream modes of thought. They march to the beat of their own drum, fueled by curiosity and a passion for self-expression. In short, how creative people think and solve problems boil down to their exceptional ability to perceive the world through a fresh, original lens.

how creative people think

Characteristics of the Creative Mind

What are the characteristics that set creative minds apart? Science has uncovered fascinating insights into the traits and thought processes that enable innovation and imagination. Here are some of the most notable qualities of highly creative individuals:

Openness to Experience

problem solving is only one aspect of creativity

Creative people exhibit openness to new experiences, ideas, and possibilities. Their minds remain agile, receptive to information coming from both external sources and their own unconventional musings. This quality allows them to draw inspiration from diverse places.

Fluid Thinking and Connecting the Dots

Creative minds display remarkable fluidity in thinking – they are able to shift between different ideas and perspectives with ease. This helps them connect disparate dots and form novel associations between concepts. Their thoughts flow flexibly.

Adeptness at Divergent Thinking

Divergent thinking, or the ability to generate numerous original ideas from a single starting point, is the cornerstone of creativity. Creative people excel at expanding their ideas in different directions through divergent thinking.

Intrinsic Motivation and Curiosity

that identifies unique solutions to issues through a process of problem identification

Creative individuals are driven by an intrinsic motivation to learn, discover, and experiment simply for the joy of it. Curiosity fuels them to ask questions and seek explanations. Their hunger to know propels their creativity.

Independence of Judgment

Because creative people think differently, they are comfortable opposing conventional wisdom and majority opinion. They make up their own minds based on their experiences.

Preference for Complexity and Ambiguity

Creative minds have a higher tolerance for complexity and ambiguity. Whereas the average person is averse to the unknown, creative types remain open and curious in the face of the unfamiliar.

Risk-taking and Tolerance for Failure

They solve problems regularly by using an original thought

Creators take risks and have a higher threshold for failure. Their willingness to explore uncharted territories yields innovative breakthroughs through trial and error.

Vivid Imagination and Visualization

Creative people have powerful imaginations that aid them in visualizing abstract concepts and bringing their ideas to life. Imagination enables them to transcend physical constraints.

And here’s something worth remembering—these traits interact and overlap with one another. For instance, openness paired with intrinsic motivation and independence of judgment enables creative people to overcome social pressures that discourage unconventional thinking.

Inside the Creative Brain

But what actually happens inside those ingenious brains? Neuroscience has shed light on the brain activity linked to enhanced creativity:

  • Increased communication between brain hemispheres. Creative people tend to have more connections between the left and right brain hemispheres, facilitating integration of logical and intuitive thinking.
  • Enhanced working memory and cognitive flexibility. Studies show creative folks, especially in domains like music and theater, have superior working memory. This fuels their cognitive flexibility.
  • Higher cognitive disinhibition. Creative minds exhibit lower levels of cognitive inhibition, allowing them to tap into latent ideas outside the mainstream. Disinhibition gives them access to more options.
  • Abundant alpha brain waves. Alpha brain wave activity is related to creativity, helping creative people access a free-flowing, relaxed, and reflexive state of mind conducive to making imaginative leaps.
  • Activated medial prefrontal cortex. The medial prefrontal cortex region linked with divergent thinking is more active in creative brains.

Creative Thinking Processes

In essence, creative brains are wired to deviate from the expected and imagine possibilities beyond the ordinary. But their novel ideas wouldn’t come to fruition without creative thinking processes:

Divergent and Convergent Thinking

Creators utilize both divergent thinking to generate ideas and convergent thinking to hone the most promising ones.

Synthesis of Contradictory Concepts

The capacity to accommodate seemingly contradictory concepts sparks creative epiphanies. Contradictions get resolved at higher planes.

Thought Experiments

Creative geniuses perform thought experiments through imagination – like Einstein imagining himself riding a beam of light. This leads to out-of-the-box ideas.

Metaphorical Thinking

Speaking with people from different professional backgrounds

Metaphors draw surprising parallels between disparate concepts, leading to unconventional connections. Creative people instinctively use metaphors.

Mental “Incubation” Periods

Creative insights often arise during periods of mental incubation when people take a break from conscious thinking, like in the shower or during a stroll.

With all this going on in their brains, it’s no wonder creative people see possibilities and solutions the average mind would easily miss. They have an exceptional ability to think both broadly and deeply, blending imagination, intellect and intuition. Their minds touch the heights of vision and depths of detail, allowing revolutionary ideas to crystallize.

Creative Expression and How Creative People Think and Solve Problems

When it comes to creative expression, what mediums do creative people turn to? Here are some of the most common ways they exercise their originality:

  • Visual arts – Painting, drawing, photography, filmmaking, and sculpture provide blank canvases for free creative expression. The possibilities are endless with art supplies in hand!
  • Writing – Whether through fiction, poetry, journaling, satire or storytelling, writing is an outlet for imagination. Writers experiment with language to evoke emotions and share their inner worlds.
  • Performing arts – Theater, dance, singing, and comedy allow creators to express themselves through their physicality and voice. The stage is their oyster.
  • Crafts – From pottery to jewelry-making to woodworking, crafts like these provide a hands-on way to make magical things using skill and vision.
  • Culinary arts – Cooking and baking are creative endeavors, letting chefs and bakers blend flavors and textures into something new. Every dish tells a story.
  • Music – Composing, playing instruments, producing tracks – music is a portal into the emotions only creative people can convey through melody and rhythm.
  • Fashion design – Clothing design calls on aesthetics and originality. Creative designers set trends by reimagining fabrics, forms and accessorizing.
  • Innovation and invention – Creators dream up new products, services, solutions and technologies that never existed before. Turning imagination into reality.

The list goes on. Simply put, creative people gravitate towards anything that lets them ideate and forge their unique inner worlds into an external creation process.

Unlocking Your Creative Potential

Problems are merely challenges to creative minds

Here’s the kicker – while creativity comes more naturally to some, it lives in all of us. We all carry that creative spark within. The key is to exercise and build up that muscle. Though genetics play a role, creativity can also be nurtured through habit.

What are some ways to flex your creative muscles? Here are tips to tap into your inner muse day-to-day:

  • Ask lots of questions – Curiosity expands perspectives and sparks new connections. Challenge assumptions.
  • People-watch – Observe interesting characters and imagine their lives and backstories. Spark creative scenarios.
  • Daydream and imagine – Let your mind wander freely without self-judgment. Daydreaming incubates ideas.
  • Journal stream-of-consciousness style – Write freely without stopping as thoughts flow to tap into your unfiltered inner world.
  • Brainstorm and mind map – Thinking up ideas without critique releases creative juices. Mind maps visualize thought patterns.
  • Doodle aimlessly – Doodling relaxes the brain’s executive functioning, allowing more spontaneous ideas to emerge.
  • Play and tinker – Play awakens lighthearted creativity. Tinkering and prototyping bring ideas to life.
  • Get moving – Exercising, walking, traveling, and engaging the physical self sparks mental inspiration.
  • Switch up your routine – Trying new experiences combats habit and stimulates creativity. Shake things up.
  • Observe nature – Nature’s beauty and wonders spur appreciation and insight. Outdoor time cultivates creativity.
  • Turn off internal censorship – Silence your inner critic and let ideas flow freely without blocking yourself.

Final Thoughts on How Creative People Think and Solve Problems

thinking is actually a skillset, a mental process of focusing and unfocusing

Innovation thrives when people feel empowered to think freely without fear of judgment. For organizations seeking to build a culture of creativity: offer psychological safety, reward outside-the-box thinking, and allow time for unstructured exploration and play. Lead through inspiration rather than constraint. When people are given the space to unleash the full power of their minds, there is no limit to what they might dream up!

The creative mind holds invaluable gifts for the world when expressed. With an insatiable curiosity about life, a rich inner world, and the courage to challenge the status quo, creative humans uplift society through their ingenuity and visionary works. The greatest creative leaps forward often come from the minds that think differently from the norm. We all can nurture our own creative spark by being a little more playful, imaginative, inquisitive and adventurous. You never know what creative wonder your beautiful mind holds until you set it free.


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