Can you really be both Creative and Logical?

Can you really be both Creative and Logical?

The question of creativity and logic has always been on a scale. Which is better, people wonder, and can one person be both? A lot of people seem to think these two concepts are mutually exclusive and poles apart but the truth is that the idea of them being mutually exclusive may be the farthest thing from the truth.

What then is logic? Logic is reasoning conducted in line with guided rules of fact, validity or rationale.

Creativity, on the other hand, is the capacity to develop or express ourselves and ideas in new ways. Creativity can be expressed or classified in four different ways. Deliberate and emotional creativity, deliberate and cognitive creativity, spontaneous and emotional creativity and spontaneous and cognitive creativity.  

It is possible to be both logical and creative as both are closely related, creativity is at the core of every reasoning and analytical ability.

I often hear people say it is not possible to be both and I always ask you. Why can one person not be both? Why can a logical person not be creative or a creative person, logical?

There are a couple of reasons this view is so widespread. Probably the most prominent of them all is the right-left brain theory. The left brain is largely considered logical, analytical and academic while the right side of the brain is considered as artistic, intuitive and creative. Years ago, people were either placed in the category of left or right thinkers. You had to be one of the two and not both because scientists believed that you either used the left or the right part of your brain to do your dominant thinking, making you either a left or a right thinker.

However, upon more studies, researchers discovered that the brain does not work in centers but in circuits and it has a lot of neural pathways that are linked to one another in one way or the other. Further studies showed that Science and Engineering students or Nobel Prize Scientists are 3 to 10 times more likely to excel in arts than other members of the public and 15 to 25 times more artistic than other scientists respectively.

You will find out more about these two aspects of reasoning and how they play out in all our lives as you continue to read.

What is more important, Creativity or Logic?      

I mentioned that recent studies debunked the notion that you are either in touch with your left or right brain. These studies show that everyone of us makes use of both sides of our brain when performing certain tasks. Although, you must also note that some brain patterns similar across several people have been linked to logic or creativity. However, the patterns do not necessarily explain who is good at what and why, bringing us right back where we started. The left and right brain dichotomy is a stereotyped myth that we will do very well without.

In a world that places a lot of value on high profile academic performance – as it should- arts and general creativity is oftentimes neglected or overlooked. While the STEM fields flourish and gets all the financial aid and accolades, the creative and humanities departments are relegated to the background. This is actually not a surprise because if we step outside the schools or learning sector, we will also find that the STEM field in the workforce has a lot of attached value and more job opportunities than creative subjects or career choices because of the age-long notion that the former is more important.

In schools, you will find that the criteria for getting into the STEM field or any other field considered ‘more intelligent’ is relatively more tedious or harder to attain than when a student intends to enroll into a creative class or course. The divide is a song as old as time, this article is just to try and demystify some of the stereotypes that a lot of us are aware of. Our first mistake is thinking that scientists or any of the fields in STEM are logical but not creative because creatives are seen as less logical.

Take a moment to yourself and go over why you think creativity is not logic. There is a definite overlap when it comes to using the right and left side of the brain, especially in the use of mental imaging and visualization. Well known intellects and scientists like Albert Einstein, Nikola Tesla and Michael Faraday were all acclaimed to have used mental imaging when going through their thought processes. This mental imaging technique is also vastly applicable to creatives like pianists or composers, painters, designers and architects.

To be emphatic; scientists require creativity and their thinking processes cuts across both the right and the left hemispheres of the brain. Scientists and well-known intellects. Albert Einstein and Leonardo da Vinci were known to be both prolific in science and arts and creativity. These days many scientists or science students use arts as a means of relief or clearing their thoughts. The dichotomy we have placed on these two categories is nothing short of ridiculous.

Intelligence, on the one hand, is the capacity to get and utilize skills and knowledge, while creativity is the capacity to use original ideas, imagination or existing knowledge to make something or solve a problem. Even from the definition we will find that there is an overlap when creatives use preexisting knowledge or intellect to solve a problem or create something. Creativity breaks the borders of knowledge and intelligence while intelligence cultivates creativity.

Ground breaking medical inventions and discoveries were inspired by creative intellectuals who broke the borders of knowledge and intelligence. Technology, writing, painting, coding, each one of these fields are overlapping with intelligence and creativity. Of course, the question of which of them is more intelligent or creative is not the purpose of this article today. But when it comes to their importance I will categorically tell you that it is impossible to say which is more important, logic or creativity. They are both very important and they both serve their own purpose and goals. No one is more important than the other. They both feed off of each other in a mutually beneficial relationship.

Working/Career life:

The type of work you do will definitely influence the way you think or your thought processes. If you are in any of the STEM fields, you may be inclined to say logic is more important in your work, but like we have already established, your logical thought process is being aided by a creative flow. It is also important to note that if you intend to stand out in your scientific, technological or any other widely logical field then you need to employ creativity to break the borders of preexisting knowledge and be innovative beyond the ordinary.

As a creative, you also need logic in your line of work. Creativity is not the absence of logic. A composer, for example, needs his imaginative ability to picture how he wants the flow of the music to go but he needs logic to piece it together. Same goes for other creatives like writers, painters, designers etc.

Day to day life:

Like I have established, creativity and logic feed off each other and our day to day life is not exempted. We need both logic and creativity to maneuver our daily problems and challenges.

How to be more logical

Logical thinking is a reasoning skill that involves using a set of rules or guidelines to analyze a situation or problem and arrive at a sensible conclusion or solution. We have established that both logic and creativity are equally important and needed to excel in our various fields. Right now we have to focus on how to build our logical skills to meet halfway in the logic-creative balance. There are different ways we can hone our logical processes.

There is one thing you must note before I continue, and that is knowledge. To be logical you have to know. You have to build your way towards acquiring knowledge because if you notice all the definitions I have talked about in this article, you will realize that preexisting knowledge and applying skills and knowledge are at the very core of logic. Some of the ways we can improve logic are;

  1. Analyzing the outcome of your decisions
  2. Learning a skill
  3. Socializing
  4. Asking questions, and
  5. Adopting creative relief outlets like painting, writing, leisure reading and playing of instruments.

How to be more creative

For so long, people believe that you are either born creative or logical. You are either one or the other and never both, but recent studies have taught us that this is not true. A predominantly logical thinking person can be creative and there are different ways both parties can hone their creative capabilities. Creativity is free flowing and lateral. Some of the ways we can let our creative juices flow are to;

1.    Let our minds wander

Let your mind stray across the borders of your knowledge. Consider the impossible, dwell on the inconceivable and focus on the ignored. Try as much as possible not to let your human constraints or restrictions box you in.

2.    Limit distractions

Your mind can wander but you will get easily distracted if your visual senses are all over the place from distractions all around you or your work area. You will also need to cultivate the habit of focusing on the problems you are trying to solve.

3.    Practice mindfulness

This is a tactic to improve selective attention and focus, it is paying attention to the present and to reality and training your mind to focus in the moment and the important details.

4.    Read a novel, watch a movie

Engaging in creative activities like these will create a stronger connection between both halves of your brain, the right and the left halves. It will also promote your own creativity by triggering your imaginative eye.

Can we lose our creativity?

Many people who were very creative growing up lost touch with their creativity when they grew older and they often ask if it is possible to lose one’s creativity. Creativity cannot be lost but you can, however, lose touch with it if you are either tired, if you underutilize it or stopped practicing or reading. Losing touch with your creativity is not uncommon but you can always reconnect with it by simply doing any of the things I mentioned above when you’re trying to improve your creativity.  

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