Critical thinking and creative thinking cannot coexist. This is why it is critically important for those who wish to generate genuinely unique ideas must remain disciplined in how they think. Below you will find four simple concepts to improve both your critical and creative thinking processes:
Chicken or the egg?
While anyone can think, having the discipline to know what comes first will give you an edge that many people fail to realize. To come up with a new, novel idea you must first think creatively. Vacillating between critical and creative thinking will not only confuse your mind, but also hamper the free flow of ideas. Instead, create a disciplined methodology of ideation followed by a few days of incubation. It is during the incubation stage where the true magic happens. After a creative session, it is best to wait at least one day before critically analyzing what you came up with.
When you think you have enough ideas.
While in creative thinking mode, when you think you are done, force yourself to come up with another fifteen ideas. It is usually in the later stages of ideation where the best ideas will reside. The more you push yourself to find connections between things seemingly unconnected, the greater quality ideas you will generate.
Resign yourself to knowing nothing.
It’s those who know nothing who are the most knowledgeable. Approaching problems as a child will serve you well. Instead of judging a circumstance, see it for what it is without any prior context. This will force you to explore every aspect of what you are trying to accomplish and thus allow you to generate quality ideas. Push yourself to understanding, not knowing.
Crawl before you walk.
Know the fundamental order of how biology works. You must first crawl before you walk and likewise, you must focus solely on creative thinking before you can begin critical thinking and bring an idea into the world. Moving from creative thought, to critical thought and back to creative thought is like a child crawling with the left side of their body while walking with the right. While it can be done, the movement patterns are inefficient and laborious. Instead, remain disciplined enough to allot creative time separate from critical thinking time along with temporal space to allow for full incubation and assimilation of the work you have done.
Discipline thought and disciplined action yield great results. Every thought you have impacts your life, so why not ensure the thoughts you generate have the greatest impact on those you influence, the World and Universe?