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To Be More Creative, Cheer Up

http://nautil.us/issue/20/creativity/to-be-more-creative-cheer-up

nautil.us

To Be More Creative, Cheer Up
I pour a cup of coffee, sharpen my pencil, and get ready to create. I’ve dusted off a half-conceived novel outline I abandoned three…

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Creativity

Creativity

While some people are born creative, it is possible to acquire this skill. The right conditions and the right training can make everyone creative, in their own unique way.

As we move from the past where the industrial economy and more recently the knowledge economy had world domination, we reach the conceptual age, where the innovation economy thrives.

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Traits Of Creative People

  • In various studies, it is found that creative people tend to be more driven, impulsive, and self-confident.

  • They are less conventional and unorthodox in many aspects of life.

  • Openness to new ideas, curiosity and disagreeableness comes as common traits of creative individuals, as they are opposite of normal or popular, and like Steve Jobs, are a prickly personality.

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Steps Of The Cognitive Process

Creativity can be learned as a cognitive skill using the following steps:

  • Preparation: The basic rules, languages, and instructions in any skill.
  • Incubation: When ideas wander in your brain's neural network, lost in the wild.
  • Illumination: This is the Aha! Moment, the light bulb coming on.
  • Verification: Where it is verified that the idea is real or just a random dream without legs.

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The Neural Pathways

The neural pathways in our brain, that drive creativity is where incubation happens; this process involves the entire brain, not just the right-brain side, as assumed by most.

These neural pathways fostering incubation are known as the default mode network (DMN). It jostles and dances for space and sparks with another pathway known as the cognitive control network (CCN), forming an outer layer of pathways.

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Divergent Thinking

Divergent thinking is a tuning out process that widens the mental ‘net’ and is akin to shifting the focus from micro to macro, or changing the focus altogether. Divergent thinking is a hallmark of incubation and eclipses even ‘IQ’ as a predictor to one’s creative powers.

Incubation is critical to restrain or inhibit habits that might otherwise hamper our creativity.

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Happiness and Creativity

One way to continuously be in a state of mind that is prepared for a stroke of genius is to be happy-go-lucky, staying in a positive mood, with a relaxed, flexible state of attention.

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Basic Biochemistry Of Creativity

Basic Biochemistry Of Creativity

For creative achievement to be realized, there are three broad cognitive abilities that are required:

  • The ability to generate new ideas.
  • Response inhibition, that is the ability to break out of a routine with ease.
  • A working memory that retains ideas.

Creativity is a never-ending slog and it’s best to keep writing, practising and just being in a river-like flow.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Listening To Music While Working

Listening To Music While Working

While monotonous work like making a report is tolerable with your favorite music playing in the background, any kind of creative work can be significantly impaired if it is accompanied by music.

Creativity: The Incubation Period

After a problem has been examined and analysed, creative thinkers often hit a roadblock, which is actually an ‘incubation period’ where the brain works in the background to process information at an unconscious level.

This results in an ‘aha’ or a ‘Eureka!’ moment when the solution or idea pops inside the head later when we are not consciously thinking about it.

Unexpected Connections

Certain unthought of combinations, associations, innovations and links between remote objects or ideas can be stimulated by specific kinds of music, provided it helps us focus ‘away’ from the problem rather than focussing more on it.

Most music that one listens to while doing creative work is just a distraction, and rather than helping us, it creates more cognitive load on our brain, which has to block out the sound.

The passage of time is subjective

The passage of time is subjective

Time is the product of physics, but how we perceive the passage of time is the product of the mind.

Your perception of time is subjective and malleable - it changes in res...

Time is manipulated by the things we do

When our minds are not stimulated, it can feel like time is moving very slowly.

When we are fully engaged, especially when we are busy with activities that keep us in a state of flow, our sense of time seems to speed up or even disappear. This "flow state" is where one is wholly absorbed in a mental or physical activity.

Improvisation and flow

Improvised art forms, such as music, acting, or comedy is an example of a flow state. Improvisation is a highly complex form of creative behaviour. The ability to improvise requires cognitive flexibility, divergent thinking and discipline-specific skills.

During musical improvisation, there is an increase in the area of the brain involved in intentional self-expression and the pursuit of goal-oriented behaviours and a decrease in the brain areas involved in conscious self-monitoring, focused attention, and evaluation of planned actions.

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Creativity is exciting

Creativity is exciting

It triggers some degree of surprise or excitement within us and gives us a new way of seeing things that we could not see before.

However, history and science teach us that...

What it means to be creative

Creativity is often thought of as creating something unique. But, most of what we experience as "new" is simply old stuff presented in fresh or unexpected ways.

Creative work also adds some kind of value to the world. If something is novel but doesn't add value, we won't consider it. If it adds value but isn't new, we consider it to be a rip-off.

Combining novelty and value

Combining novelty and value requires a lot of trial and error. It requires feedback. It requires understanding your audience and their values. It requires shaping and perfecting your craft over many years. For every great idea, there are hundreds of failed ideas.

And that is why creativity can get boring. It appears that creativity is really a skill you can practice and get better at.