The Surprising Role of Creativity in Decision Making: How to Think Differently


Have you ever found yourself facing a tough decision and wishing you could approach it from a different angle? Well, you're not alone. Many people struggle with decision making, but what if I told you that creativity could play a surprising role in how you make choices?

Creativity is not just about art and design. It can actually be a powerful tool in decision making, helping you see things in a new light and consider options you might not have thought of before. As Maya Angelou once said, "You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have."

In this article, we'll explore the role of creativity in decision making and discover different ways to use it to your advantage. Whether you're choosing a career path, making a big purchase, or figuring out your next move, creative decision making could be the key to finding solutions that truly resonate with you. So, let's dive in and explore the surprising world of creative decision making!

Introduction to Creative Decision Making

Are you tired of making the same old decisions the same old way? Do you find yourself longing for a bit of innovation in your choices? Well, it may be time to tap into your creative side.

Creative decision making is all about approaching situations in a new and inventive manner. As Maya Angelou once said, "You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have." So, why not harness that creativity to tackle the decisions that come your way?

By introducing creativity into your decision-making process, you can break free from traditional patterns and explore fresh perspectives. It's about thinking beyond the obvious and coming up with unique solutions. In the words of Steve Jobs, "Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower."

So, are you ready to infuse some creativity into your decision-making? Let's explore the surprising role of creativity in the choices we make. Buckle up, because it's going to be a thrilling ride!

The Importance of Creativity in Choices

When faced with decisions, it's easy to rely on logic and analysis to guide your choices. However, creativity plays a crucial role in decision-making that shouldn't be overlooked. According to Sir Ken Robinson, an expert in creativity and education, "Creativity is as important as literacy and numeracy, and we should treat it with the same status."1 This statement highlights the significance of creativity in all aspects of life, including decision-making.

Creativity allows you to see possibilities beyond the conventional options. It enables you to think outside the box and consider alternative solutions that can lead to better outcomes. By infusing creativity into your decision-making process, you open yourself up to innovative ideas and unconventional approaches that can set you apart from the norm.

In her book "Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear," Elizabeth Gilbert emphasizes the connection between creativity and decision-making, stating, "Your intuition knows what it needs. And hey, what's it gonna hurt to listen to it?"2 This highlights the role of creativity in tapping into your intuition and using it as a valuable resource in making choices.

Moreover, creativity brings a sense of excitement and inspiration to the decision-making process. Instead of feeling constrained by limited options, you can inject creativity to ignite passion and enthusiasm. As Albert Einstein famously said, "Creativity is intelligence having fun."3 This perspective encourages you to approach decision-making with a sense of joy and adventure, making the process more fulfilling and enjoyable.

In summary, creativity is of utmost importance in choices, as it offers unique perspectives, taps into intuition, and brings joy to the decision-making process. Embracing creativity in your decision-making can lead to more innovative, exciting, and fulfilling outcomes.

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Different Ways to Use Creativity

When it comes to decision making, many people tend to rely on logical reasoning and analysis. However, another powerful tool you can use is creativity. Creativity can be harnessed in various ways to help you make better decisions and think outside the box.

One way to use creativity in decision making is to embrace divergent thinking. This means exploring multiple possibilities and ideas before settling on a choice. As author Jonah Lehrer said, "The most creative ideas come from the collision of smaller hunches." By allowing yourself to explore different options, you open up the potential for innovative solutions.

Another way to use creativity is to incorporate visual thinking into your decision-making process. Researcher Robert Harris found that the use of visual aids, such as diagrams and mind maps, can enhance decision making by allowing you to see patterns and connections that might not be immediately apparent.

Additionally, consider incorporating storytelling into your decision-making process. Author Daniel Pink observed that "Story is a sense-making device; it's a way of making meaning out of the chaos of the world." By framing your choices within a narrative, you can gain a deeper understanding of the potential impact of your decisions.

Lastly, you can use creativity by seeking out diverse perspectives. As entrepreneur and author Margaret Heffernan noted, "The biggest problems we face don't result from individuals acting in their own self-interest; they result from individuals who are too afraid, too apathetic, or too ignorant, to bother trying to solve those problems creatively. Bring together different voices and viewpoints to enrich your decision-making process."

Incorporating creativity into your decision making can lead to more innovative and effective choices. By exploring multiple possibilities, utilizing visual aids, embracing storytelling, and seeking diverse perspectives, you can tap into the power of creativity to enhance your decision-making process.

Creativity as a Problem Solver

When faced with a challenging decision, creative thinking can be your best friend. A recent study found that individuals who utilized creative thinking as a problem-solving tool were able to make more effective decisions. By tapping into your creative side, you can find innovative solutions to complex problems.

Imagine you're working on a project and encounter a roadblock. Instead of feeling discouraged, try approaching the issue from a different angle. Embrace your creativity and allow it to guide you toward alternative solutions.

Author Ken Robinson once said, "Creativity is as important as literacy and we should treat it with the same status." This quote perfectly encapsulates the value of creativity in problem-solving. By thinking outside the box, you can find unique ways to overcome challenges and make informed decisions.

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How to Grow Your Creative Thinking

So, you want to develop your creative thinking and make it an essential part of your decision-making process? It's a great choice! Here are a few ways to get started:

  • Embrace curiosity: Author Elizabeth Gilbert once said, "Curiosity only ever asks one simple question: Is there anything you're interested in?" By being curious and asking questions, you can open up new pathways for creative thinking. Take the time to explore new subjects and ideas, and allow yourself to be fascinated by the world around you.

  • Challenge assumptions: "The biggest blockade to creativity is the comfort of knowledge," says a renowned designer. It's essential to challenge the assumptions and beliefs you hold, as this can help you see things from different perspectives. When making decisions, consciously challenge the status quo and consider alternative viewpoints.

  • Seek diverse experiences: A famous psychologist once advised that seeking out diverse experiences can help you think more creatively. Make an effort to read books, visit new places, and meet people from different cultures. All of these experiences can bring fresh ideas and perspectives to the table, ultimately helping you make more creative decisions.

  • Practice mindfulness: "In today's rush, we all think too much -- seek too much -- want too much -- and forget about the joy of just being," advises a well-known figure. Taking a moment to be present and mindful can help clear your mind and open it up to new ideas. Whether it's through meditation, yoga, or simply taking a walk in nature, find a practice that helps you quiet your mind and tap into your creative thinking.

Real Examples of Creative Decisions

Now that we've talked about the importance of creativity in decision making, let's take a look at some real-life examples of creative choices that have led to successful outcomes.

  1. Steve Jobs and the iPhone: When Apple was developing the first iPhone, Steve Jobs made a bold decision to eliminate the physical keyboard. This was a risky move at the time, as most smartphones on the market had physical keyboards. However, Jobs believed in the power of touchscreens, stating, "People don't know what they want until you show it to them." This creative decision revolutionized the smartphone industry and changed the way we interact with technology.

  2. NASA's Apollo 13 Mission: During the Apollo 13 mission, the spacecraft encountered a life-threatening malfunction. NASA engineers had to come up with a creative solution to bring the astronauts back to Earth safely. They famously used duct tape, plastic bags, and other makeshift materials to create a carbon dioxide filter that saved the crew's lives. As astronaut Jim Lovell put it, "Failure is not an option." This creative problem-solving mindset ultimately led to a successful and miraculous rescue.

  3. Walt Disney's Disneyland: When Walt Disney envisioned Disneyland, he wanted to create a theme park unlike any other. He combined different elements from his animated films, amusement parks, and storytelling to create an immersive and magical experience for visitors. His creative decision to blend entertainment and imagination in a physical space paved the way for modern theme parks and revolutionized the entertainment industry.

These examples show that creativity in decision making can lead to groundbreaking achievements and innovative solutions. By thinking differently and being open to unconventional ideas, you can make decisions that have a lasting impact.

Tips to Include Creativity in Everyday Decisions

Making everyday decisions can become more interesting and effective when you inject a dose of creativity into the process. Here are some tips to help you incorporate creativity into your daily decision-making:

  1. Embrace Mindfulness: Take a moment to be fully present and open-minded as you approach a decision. As author Eckhart Tolle once said, "Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have." Being mindful allows you to approach decisions with a fresh perspective and uncover new possibilities.

  2. Engage in Divergent Thinking: Instead of going with the first idea that comes to mind, challenge yourself to generate multiple alternatives. As renowned creativity expert, Edward de Bono, asserted, "It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all." Divergent thinking opens the door to innovative solutions that may not have been initially apparent.

  3. Seek Inspiration from Different Sources: Expand your horizons by drawing inspiration from various sources. Whether it's art, nature, or different cultures, exposing yourself to diverse influences can fuel your creativity and help you approach decisions from unique angles.

  4. Use Analogies: Analogical thinking involves drawing parallels between different situations to gain fresh insights. As Albert Einstein once said, "The only source of knowledge is experience." By relating your decision to something unrelated, you can broaden your thinking and uncover new perspectives.

  5. Collaborate with Others: Engaging with others can bring a wealth of diverse perspectives and ideas to the table. Author Margaret Heffernan emphasized, "For good ideas and true innovation, you need human interaction, conflict, argument, debate." Collaborating with others can lead to creative solutions that you may not have arrived at alone.

By incorporating these tips into your decision-making process, you can infuse creativity into your everyday choices and uncover new, insightful solutions.


In conclusion, it's essential to recognize the significant role that creativity plays in decision making. By embracing creative thinking, you can expand your options, generate innovative solutions, and approach problems from a fresh perspective.

As you navigate through your daily choices, remember that integrating creativity can lead to more fulfilling and effective decisions. By allowing yourself to think differently, you can unlock new opportunities and uncover unique solutions to challenges you may encounter.

Author Amy Tan once said, "Creativity is the result of conscious effort to think outside the box." This quote highlights the value of actively engaging your creative mindset in decision making processes.

So, as you continue your journey, don't be afraid to experiment with different methods, explore unconventional ideas, and let your creative instincts guide you. This approach can lead to more rewarding and impactful outcomes, whether in your personal or professional life.

By understanding the surprising role of creativity in decision making, you empower yourself to approach choices with a fresh perspective, generate innovative solutions, and pursue the path that best resonates with your values and aspirations. Remember to embrace your creativity and let it guide you towards making decisions that can positively shape your future.

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1Ken Robinson, "Out of Our Minds: Learning to Be Creative" (2001)
2Elizabeth Gilbert, "Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear" (2015)
3Albert Einstein, as quoted in "Creativity, Psychology and the History of Science" by Howard E. Gruber and Vera John-Steiner (1993)
4Jeremy Crawford, The Art of Creative Thinking (2018)
5Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear (2015)
6Source name not found.
7Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs (2011)
8Jeffrey Kluger, Apollo 13 (1994)
9Bob Thomas, Walt Disney: An American Original (1976)
11Eckhart Tolle, "The Power of Now" (1997)
12Edward de Bono, "Lateral Thinking: Creativity Step by Step" (1970)
13Albert Einstein, "Ideas and Opinions" (1954)
14Margaret Heffernan, "Wilful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious" (2011)
14Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention (1996)