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Creativity in Daily Life

Learn more about creativity in daily life.
friends having a picnic with cheese and wine
© CQUniversity 2021

We have now learnt that creativity is not just for artists, it is not just something people do for fleeting moments. It is something we engage in frequently.

Professor Murray Gell-Mann, who received the Nobel prize in Physics in 1969, explains in a video that ‘at any moment we can be faced with something that requires a creative thought’ (Gell-Mann 2007). Even though a creative thought is not creativity, it is thought that once actioned or tested, leads to creativity.

Gell-Mann illustrates this with a story about a picnic. He explains a group of good friends gathered in a park with lots of cheese and other party food, but no one brought a knife. One girl then took her credit card, wiped it clean, and used it to slice off a piece of cheese. For Gell-Mann, the girl used creative thinking to come up with this solution. It is not as complex or difficult as some other examples, but it is still creative thinking.

The girl at the picnic had to think differently about the ‘tools’ she had available. She had to move beyond what items are normally used for (in this case, to pay for things) and imagine how they can be used differently to solve the problem being faced at the moment. The test came when the credit card effectively cut through the cheese (remember, creativity should be original and useable).

Gell-Mann says even Einstein approached problems in this same way. He discarded the conventional view about how and why things work the way that they do. From an evolutionary perspective, they are essential for us to be able to live our lives, but they often limit creative thinking and the development of new ideas/solutions. You can intentionally challenge your assumptions, which can be a way to come up with new ideas.

Let’s Reflect

Think about some times when you have applied this type of creative thinking in your daily life. What do you think made you come up with that specific idea or solution?

© CQUniversity 2021
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