Creative challenge no. 4
‘A box without hinges, key, or lid, yet golden treasure inside is hid. What is it?’ asks Bilbo Baggins in Tolkien’s The Hobbit. Riddles pose a question to which initially there seems to be no answer until, suddenly, the answer arrives in a flash of insight: ‘Aha! It’s an egg!’. Riddles could be used to measure or at least stir up creative problem-solving potential, or convergent thinking. Unlike the Alternative Uses Test, the goal here is to arrive at a single correct answer (rather than as many answers as possible).
Up for a teaser?
Five pieces of coal, a carrot and a scarf are lying on the lawn. Nobody put them on the lawn but there is a perfectly logical reason why they should be there. What is it?
(the answer is at the end of the newsletter, but give it a fair chance before you scroll)
The Upside of Perfectionism? Creativity.
Perfectionism is a poor master but a good slave. It has downsides if you let it take over: you waste time on relatively unimportant decisions, you get excessively annoyed with yourself over small mistakes, which drains you, and, because you expect others to conform to your standards, you sometimes make collaboration more difficult.
However, perfectionism isn’t all bad. There are also benefits to it. One largely unrecognised upside is how it boosts creativity. This happens in four ways: when perfectionists are bothered by evidence that runs contrary to their own or consensus opinion, so they explore it; when their desire to understand everything pushes them to seek out new information; when their stubbornness leads to an innovative solution; when their competitiveness makes them hustle to keep up with others.
An article by Alice Boyes, PhD, a former clinical psychologist turned writer.
The creative person and the creative context
A lecture by dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi from march 2008, discussing creativity. When do you feel creative? Where does creativity come from? From inkling to invention, follow the course of imagination in this lecture. Csikszentmihalyi was noted for his work in the study of happiness and creativity, but is best known as the architect of the notion of flow and for his years of research and writing on the topic. If you want to know more about his views on creativity we’ll leave you with a recommendation for a book: Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention, originally published in 1996.
The entire exploratorium.edu website is worth your time. Located in San Francisco, California, the Exploratorium is a public learning laboratory exploring the world through science, art, and human perception. In it’s early days it was the brainchild of dr. Frank Oppenheimer (the brother of J. Robert Oppenheimer - you know, the “father” of the atomic bomb). Nowadays it offers hundreds of explore-for-yourself exhibits, a website with over 35,000 pages of content, film screenings, evening art and science events for adults, plus much more.
Answer: They were used by children who made a snowman. The snow has now melted.