Hi there, I am Dhairya Agarwal. Well, that’s it, I won’t speak about myself anymore. Coming back to this article, you probably must be thinking about what kind of blog is this going to be. From the heading, it seems like it’s not going to be something very relatable, or maybe it is some boring philosophy. I believe it’s something that can help you in making decisions more voluntarily than subconsciously. I would love it if you gave it a read.

Now, let’s start with the topic. You would have seen a lot of people claiming to be creative, and maybe you’re one of them. A lot more people believe that they are analytical. But do they know what they mean when they make such claims? I have a friend who mentioned in his CV that he’s both analytical and creative. Now, if you look up the meaning of these words, they are kind of the opposite of each other. So is it possible to have both these qualities? Well, my friend didn’t think it through and wrote them in his CV because of the buzz around those words. I’ll try to answer that question in bold in brief. But, some explanation on both these words first would be better.

When you are analytical, you tend to make decisions with the help of data as proof of success. You are very systematic when you use this trait. For example, if you are looking to purchase a new mobile handset over the internet, you will probably look for specifications thoroughly. You’ll compare all devices in your budget and analyse that which handset will offer you the best specs or looks. You examine every bit of information available and then come to your conclusion. It’s one of the infinite situations where you are analytical about your decision. Here’s another example. Imagine you’re the CEO of a product-based company which has multiple product ranges and operates at various locations. You can’t keep all products in all areas as it would be costly. Now, you have to decide which product would be best for which geographical location. You’ll probably analyse the trend of needs of the target audience at a particular area by doing a survey so that you can determine which product fits best for that location. Now just imagine the kind of analysis and efforts required in such type of scenario. By now, you would have a clear image of what being analytical means.

When it comes to being creative, it’s an entirely different trait. It’s a way to look at challenges or issues from a fresh angle that offers unorthodox approaches. In other words, you don’t need data to support your decisions. It consists of breaking from tradition and trying something new to achieve something better. Instead of data, you just need an innovative mindset and a colourful imagination. It’s used when you are deciding on an original method as nothing is sitting on the shelves; the method needs to be built. For example, if you’re trying a whole new cooking recipe yourself, you have to be wildly creative. You have to imagine what dish is it going to be when it comes out of the oven. The result may vary from what you imagined, as you’re testing out an innovation. Now coming back to CEO example, if you’re a creative CEO, you’ll launch a product in an area without having data as proof of probable success in that region. You just start it because it can solve a problem which didn’t exist in data. Or just do it because you think out of the box.

Now when you see, you realise how different both of these traits are. To my earlier question “is it possible to have both these qualities?”, some would conclude that you can’t. But, my answer is that a person can easily possess and master both of the traits. You would notice that both these traits are required in different situations. You have to be creative at some places and analytical at some. If you’re being analytical at someplace, that does not mean you don’t have creativity. Maybe, you’re more of an analytical person than a creative person or perhaps vice versa. Although, I am confident that you are neither 100% nor 0% skilled at any of these two traits. You would be having both at some levels. Also, there are techniques on how to proceed with either type of thinking, and how they can be practised.

Therefore, when you’re in a problem, or you’re about to make a decision, just think for a few minutes. Try to find what kind of mindset you need here in the current situation. Do you need to be creative or analytical? This simple question will change your attitude about the situation and will ease out the process. You would be less wandering around as you would stick to the chosen mindset and follow its method. And there’s no proper way to know which kind of mindset the current problem demands. Maybe that’s because there is no correct mindset for a particular problem as both of them can give optimal solutions in the same situations. But a new question arises. Can you be creative and analytical at the same moment?

Answer to that is, No. Although, there are decision-making techniques like design thinking which require you to be both analytical and creative. And indeed they have given exemplary results for many individuals and organisations. But, these are just systematic processes to be creative. If you try implementing those techniques, you will notice that these techniques dissolve a problem into subproblems. Now, you’ll find that you are analytical at one stage and creative at other. These subproblems may be entangled with each other, but different mindsets can be used to solve them. Hence, you were not creative and analytical at the same moment. But yet you used both mindsets to solve a single problem by dividing it into sub-problems. Now again, you have to decide before solving each problem, that which mindset will be helpful.

That’s it. And here’s a random picture of batman.

Hope you liked and understood this idea. I would love to hear back from you. Kindly do let me know if there are any suggestions or ideas on this topic. Share it with peers who’ll find it useful. And yes, stay tuned.

Software Engineer/Wannabe entrepreneur