The Art of Creative Thinking

This is a short story about the art of creative thinking which I first heard on The ability to think creatively and problem solve is an invaluable skill that will bring you tremendous success once you are able to fully master it. At the end of this story I have included the most commonly asked questions and answers on the art of creative thinking.

The Art of Creative Thinking

Hundreds of years ago, in a small Italian town, a small business owner owed a large sum of money to a loan-shark. The loan-shark was a very old, lonely, unattractive looking man that just so happened to have a thing for the business owner’s daughter. 

He decided to offer the business owner a deal that would completely erase the debt he owed him. But there was a catch, he would only wipe out the debt if he could marry the businessman’s daughter. As one would expect the proposal was met with a look of disgust. The old, pale loan-shark said he would place two pebbles into a small, handheld brown bag; one white and one black. 


The businessman’s daughter would then have to reach into the bag and pick out a pebble. If it was black, the debt would be wiped clean but the loan-shark would get to marry her. If it was white, the debt would still be wiped clean and better yet, the daughter wouldn’t have to marry the loan shark. 

Standing on a pebble-strewn path in the businessman’s garden, the loan-shark bent over and picked up two pebbles.  However, being the man that he was, he picked up two black pebbles, instead of one white and one black and placed them into the bag—the daughter noticed but didn’t say anything. 

The Art of Creative Thinking

He then asked the daughter to reach into the bag and pick one. The daughter naturally had three choices as to what she could have done:

1. Refuse to pick a pebble from the bag because she saw he had cheated. 

2. Take both pebbles out and expose the loan-shark for cheating. 

3. Pick a pebble from the bag (knowing it was black) for the well-being of her father. 


She decided to draw out a pebble from the bag, and before looking at it “accidentally” dropped it into the midst of the other pebbles. She then said to the loan-shark: 

“Oh, how clumsy of me. Never mind, if you look into the bag for the one that is left, you will be able to tell which pebble I picked.” 

Obviously, the pebble left in the bag was black, and seeing the loan-shark didn’t want to be exposed for cheating, he had to play along as if the pebble the daughter had dropped was white, thus clearing her father’s debt and freeing her from having to marry the old(er) man. 


Sometimes to overcome a tough situation it’s necessary for you to do some out of the box thinking. It is always possible it just might not always be apparent.

The Art of Creative Thinking

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some examples of creative thinking?

The best examples of creative thinking include writing, problem solving, coming up with out-of-the-box ideas, and communication.

What is creative thinking and why is it important?

Creative thinking is vitally important because each problem you encounter will need a solution. If you can think creatively and come up with the answer, even though it may not be apparent, that is an invaluable skill that very few can master. Those who are extremely successful have mastered the art of creative thinking.

Why do we need creative thinking?

Creative thinking allows you to solve problems, come up with new ideas, innovate, and do what others can’t simply because you approached the problem from a unique angle. Being able to master the art of creative thinking is a key determinant on the success you are going to have.

How do you develop creative thinking?

Write over and over again. Pick a topic, any topic and write a paragraph on that topic five different ways. This will allow your mind to expand and see how many different ways there are to describe something. Another way to develop creative thinking is by reading a variety of books. Each on different topics, about different ideas. The third way to develop creative thinking is to have a brainstorming session where you just write each and every thought that comes into your mind. Good or bad. Weird or not. Write it down and see where it takes you.

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