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Attitudes to be creative and more innovative

Lady Gaga

“I don’t see myself in terms of artifice. I see myself as a real person who chooses to live my life in an open way – artistically.” Lady Gaga

How do attitudes we hold about ourselves and the world impact our creative thinking? Can we change those attitudes to be more creative?

In her research publications and book The Creativity Challenge, KH Kim describes a model and series of concepts for helping children and adults be more creative and productive.

Her CATs model uses gardening and plant growth metaphors, and practical steps to enhance innovation.

It includes three areas of influence on creative people: Climates; nurturing creative Attitudes, and developing creative Thinking skills.

She writes:

“Creative attitudes are individuals’ characteristics, beliefs, and visions that compel them to create, which enable their creative-thinking skills.

“I use the term ‘attitudes’ instead of ‘personality’ because attitudes are more teachable than personality is. About 40 to 55 percent of adult personality is inherited, but attitudes are less genetic and more changeable than personality is.”

Here is a video about her concepts – read more about attitudes below.

Below are a few examples of the collection of “soil attitudes” that, Kim says, “help individuals become resourceful cross-pollinators, which enables their creative-thinking skills.”

But, she warns, reactions from other people toward children or adults energized with these attitudes can at times be dismissive or negative.

From the book:

(1) The open-minded attitude involves considering others’ views that are different from one’s own. It’s developed by early diverse experiences including exposure to other cultures.

But open-minded individuals might seem “distracted” to some people.

Anthony Bourdain - Parts Unknown TV show(2) Having the bicultural attitude means embracing new cultures while maintaining one’s own cultural identity.

It’s developed by learning from other cultures, and it matures by seeking diverse mentors.

But bicultural individuals might seem “rootless” to some people.

(3) The mentored attitude comes from being mutually interested in and taught by experts and their constructive criticism.

It’s developed by individuals’ trusting others and being teachable. Mentors share their expertise with mentees and guide them in developing mentees’ own.

Mentors and bicultural experiences help individuals understand complex views.

But mentored individuals might seem “channeled” to some people.

(4) The complexity-seeking attitude is characterized by embracing equivocal and conflicting views.

It’s refined by dealing with or solving increasingly complex situations/problems, and it helps find and analyze unique opportunities.

But complexity-seeking individuals might seem “overcomplicated” to some people.


The Creativity ChallengeRead more about Prof. Kim in my post Are We Losing Creative Thinking Ability?

Read much more in her book The Creativity Challenge: How We Can Recapture American Innovation.

From the Amazon summary: “Through the life stories of innovators, Kim debunks the assumption that creative people must be born with innate talents.

“She shows how parents, educational methods, and cultures shaped innovators’ creative expression.

“As her research clearly indicates, cultural climates and attitudes (including over-reliance on standardized testing) often work against innovation unless creativity is deliberately grown and developed.”



Attitudes to be creative and more innovative

Douglas Eby

Douglas EbyDouglas Eby, MA/Psychology, is a writer and researcher on psychology and personal development related to creativity; creator of the , and author of books including [link to book site with excerpts.]
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APA Reference
Eby, D. (2016). Attitudes to be creative and more innovative. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 4, 2020, from


Last updated: 14 Nov 2016
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