Being Creative Versus Being Intelligent

Being creative is to do something entirely new, while being intelligent is to be a problem solver. And occasionally, you can be both: creating something entirely new to solve a problem. But most times we are choosing between being intelligent and being creative.

Every problem solving decision you make for which you have evidence that it will work is not a creative decision. You are making a purely intelligent decision. Whenever you go through an alternate route because you are sure based on past experience that the usual route will be congested, you have made an intelligent decision. Not a creative decision. When you try out something you read in a book and you are sure it will work, you are making an informed (aka intelligent) decision, not a creative decision.

When, then, can you claim to have made a creative decision? I will start with my overused and already boring example: quitting your job of a steady paycheck to start a business you have no certain idea of how it will grow. Another example is the start of a relationship without any paperwork; like dating someone. Nothing is guaranteed. You are doing something entirely new. Even if it's your 5th relationship you still have no idea if it will work out. And that's the mark of every creative endeavour. You can't model it or just sit and think your way through it. No painter or musician thought through his most creative piece; he simply starts and let piece create itself.


How do you know which one is dominant in your life: intelligence or creativity? 
If you live a fairly regular life then intelligence is dominant. But if people have a tough time understanding your priorities and choices in life, then creativity is dominant. Only a creative person will take a part-time job to have more time to write novels. Only a creative person will keep at an art that makes him no money and sucks all his time. Creative people have crazy lives. And when I say creative people I mean those whose life is dominated more by spontaneous creativity than structured intelligence.

Which is better: to be intelligence driven or creativity driven?
The answer depends on who is seeking the answer. In my case, being creativity driven is better. It's not because of my personality (which pulls me towards the other direction). It's not because of anything I have done. It's simply because of who I want to be. Maybe Socrates was right: we crave most that we lack most. Being naturally plan driven and non-spontaneous now drives me to want to be the opposite. While most people struggle to make a daily routine out of things, it comes easy to me. I eat the same type of meal for lunch everyday. I brush daily with my left hand. I write daily. I have to force myself, sometimes, to break out of the such routines. Last week I decided to stop recording daily every expense I make. Been doing it since 2011. I have stopped seeing the value in doing it but I continued. So now I am breaking free from plans and meaningless routines. I now care more about doing things than doing them extremely well. I want to someday look back and say that there is nothing I wanted to do that I didn't attempt and feel happy to know that every idea that comes to my mind will get a shot at reality. I want to seen as creative rather than intelligent.


  1. I think I am more creative, than I am intelligent. lol. Great article as always-second nature now. Thumbs up!


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