Paradoxes of Creative Thinking

  • To create, a person must have knowledge but be able to think naively,
  • must be able to make the familiar unfamiliar,
  • must be able to make the unfamiliar familiar,
  • must expect the unexpected,
  • must look at the same thing as everyone else but see something different,
  • must make connections between dissimilar things without being mentally disturbed,
  • must be aware of experts but know how to ignore them,
  • must work hard but spend time doing nothing,
  • must learn how to fail in order to succeed,
  • must create many ideas with most of them bad,
  • must be certain about uncertainty,
  • must fantasize while still have rooted sense of reality,
  • must be confident while afflicted by self doubt.

For insights into creative thinking go to Michael Michalko’s blog Creative Thinkering: Putting Your Imagination to Work at


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Chris Aristides Pappas on November 2, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    Michael: I cannot argue with your list. 🙂

    In essence, you have described both the Scientific method and agnosticism!


  2. I like this list! Being comfortable with paradox is a key creative skill.


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