CREATIVITY AND UNCERTAINTY

Both Related To Change

The future is uncertain — but its uncertainty is at the very heart of creativity.

Ilya Prigogine

To be creative is to have the ability to create, to cause something to exist; it is an art. To be uncertain is to not be sure, to be open to change. Therefore, it seems you need to be uncertain to be creative. Creativity requires change; change requires uncertainty. Uncertainty results in open-mindedness. I have been writing forever about change, creativity, uncertainty and open-mindedness.

James Adams, in his book, The Care and Feeding of Ideas: A Guide to Encouraging Creativity, 1986, says creativity and change are two sides of the same coin.

They are often linked, in that creativity is needed to respond successfully to change and creativity, in turn, results in change. Creativity and change both imply new directions. They are both associated with uncertainty.

Decision making is, of course, about uncertainty, creativity, open-mindedness — and about change. When deciding what to do, you are deciding about your future. Your future doesn’t exist and it is unpredictable, so it is uncertain; it needs to be created. You have two choices: create it or let someone else create it.

In 1991 I published my book, Creative Decision Making, Using Positive Uncertainty. It was later revised in 2003, with my wife Carol Gelatt as coauthor. Since then, author Sheena Iyengar went one step further in describing creative decision making. Science can assist us in becoming more skillful choosers, but at its core, choice remains an art, The Art of Choosing, 2010. I would add, a creative art.

This is why open-mindedness is an essential skill. An open mind is a beginner’s mind. A beginner’s mind is a mind that is willing to see everything as if for the first time. Zen saying. The beginner’s mind is what Zen practitioners use when describing the notion that learning requires an empty cup. When full of what you already know it is hard to acquire new knowledge. A beginner’s mind is trying to discover its ignorance, not to disguise it. This empty cup, beginner’s mind idea is like being child-like. Children don’t know a lot so they learn a lot. They have a beginner’s mind.

You might try thinking like a child. A child hasn’t yet learned rational, adult thinking. Almost all creative thinking techniques, brainstorming for example, involve the abandonment of rational, logical thinking.

An open, beginner’s mind allows us to be receptive to new intelligent thinking processes possibilities and prevents us from getting stuck in the rut of our own expertise, which often thinks it knows more than it does. Jon Kabat Zinn

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2 Responses to CREATIVITY AND UNCERTAINTY

  1. EUGENE UNGER says:

    We all are trying to create a new way of life with so much uncertainty! What do you trust? How are you doing? Carol? Rose and I are doing well even great! Rose very good. Weight up too normal! Looks and feels good. Miss our meetings. Stay healthy!! 🙏

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  2. hbgelatt says:

    WOW What good news. congratulations. what you were doing worked!! We are also doing fine.
    Although I would like breakfast out. I atually watch some live baseball.
    Carol says we should zoom. She can arange it.

    H B

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