Is a child more creative than an adult? Most of us would probably answer as ‘yes’ because when we think of this question we relate to a child’s high imaginative power as compared to an adult. But creativity is not directly related to imaginative capability. In fact, it is a function of four factors – attitude, knowledge, evaluation and imagination. Attitude is the right mindset that enables us to do divergent thinking (read article, “Attitude for creative thinking“). Knowledge and evaluation is the understanding of the subject area and to be able to critique. Imagination, simply put, is thinking big – searching for radical novel ideas by deferring premature judgment. A child is strong in the area of imagination and needs help in developing the other three areas. An adult is typically strong in the area of knowledge and evaluation, and needs support with imagination and attitude. As we gain skills in the area of knowledge and evaluation, we ignore our innate capability to imagine. Einstein was very good in all of these four factors. He was a master of his subject area and was highly capable of critiquing. Additionally, he was the epitome of imaginative power. He could imagine things far beyond the comprehension of his peers. Remember his famous quote, “imagination is more important than knowledge”. What he knew in terms of the knowledge of physics was pretty much the same as what his contemporaries such as Max Planck, Ludwig Boltzmann and others knew.
He valued his imagination as more important than the knowledge he had as it was his imagination that was serving him well. What is more important for you? If imagination comes naturally to you and you think you may need support with the knowledge, then may be knowledge is more important for you at this time. But ultimately, we should seek to master all four factors so we can be a highly creative person.