The mind likes habits and stability: in most cases we see what we expect to see or what we have seen before. A synapse (a junction that permits a neuron to pass an electrical or chemical signal to another cell) that fires frequently is more likely to fire again; thus creating mental habits.
“We all observe the world through our own window. A window is a viewpoint over a horizon, a framework, a piece of glass that is always tinted to some extent, and it has its orientations and its limitations.” (Tariq Ramadan). Real creativity arises from being able to see not only a situation, but ourselves looking at the problem and to move outside this perspective. It is the imagination to look differently: to create new associations and metaphors and the flexibility to explore new paths. It means stopping being afraid: being comfortable with ourselves and without fixed boundaries. It means being able to laugh and play allowing the space for the intuition of the right brain to surface.
It means being comfortable with the idea that there isn’t a right answer; something school does not encourage since it rewards you for giving “the right answer” and punishes you for taking risks and falling down. Yet how can one learn without doing this? “Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes.” (Scott Adams)
As G.E. Miller wrote: “We say we want sensitive, thoughtful, analytic, independent scholars, then we treat them like Belgian geese being stuffed for pâté de foie gras. We reward them for compliance, rather than independence; for giving the answers we have taught them rather than for challenging the conclusions we have reached”
“Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them.” Albert Einstein