Creative Minds

A Regular Column by Anthony D. Fredericks

Creativity vs. Logic

Too often, we think logically.  Our education and experiences have taught us that logical thinking is planned, systematic, and dependable.  That’s true, but too much logical thinking crushes our creative instincts and frequently prevents the generation of unique and signature ideas.  We often sacrifice creativity for efficiency.

One of the best ways to break yourself from this over-emphasis on logic is to practice creating alternative uses for common objects.  For example, let’s assume you are wearing a pair of socks.  What are some other alternate uses for socks?  Here are a few I came up with:  A cover for your golf clubs, hand warmers on a cold morning walk, keep your dog’s legs warm when you take him outside, a protective “bag” to carry eggs.  Use them to dry the dishes or to create a surrealistic mural on your living room wall (dip them into paint and be your own “Salvador Dali”).  You also have a set of puppets to tell a story to your child – draw a face on each one and create your own story characters.  Cut the end off each one and slide the ends over your ears in the winter: inexpensive ear warmers.  Or, slip an old one over your hand to clean off the side-view mirrors on your car.

So, here’s your challenge.  Identify a common object at home or your place of work (e.g. pencil, file folder, broom, screwdriver, bottle, shoelace, etc.).  See if you can conjure at least 20 different uses for that item.  If you want, pick your own two-digit number (e.g. 23, 17, 44).  Generate as many possibilities as you can within a designated period (e.g. five minutes, ten minutes).  You, like me, will most likely discover that you have set your mind on fire – breaking it out of its more familiar thinking (logical) patterns and setting it free to examine new ideas and new possibilities.

If you’re the competitive type, do this activity with a friend or colleague.  Who can come up with the most alternative uses (for a piece of copper wire, a coffee filter, a cereal bowl, or a tennis ball [for example] in five minutes?  You will be amazed at what transpires.

“Creativity is intelligence having fun.”

– Albert Einstein


Dr. Anthony D. Fredericks is an award-winning author of more than 170 books, including the highly anticipated From Fizzle to Sizzle: The Hidden Forces Crushing Your Creativity and How You Can Overcome Them (January 2, 2022) as well as five other Blue River Press titles (e.g. The Adjunct Professor’s Complete Guide to Teaching College).  He also pens a regular blog (“Creative Insights”) for Psychology (