The Neural Pathways - Deepstash

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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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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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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  • 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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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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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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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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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.

Studies show that certain kinds of music may be ‘paired’ with your kind of work, like classical music which are stimulating and ‘positive’ or ‘happy’ can help us perform certain tasks which require ‘divergent’ or out-of-the-box thinking.

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Pamela Slim
“We are made to create. We feel useful when we create. We release our ‘stuckness’ when we create. We reinvent our lives, tell new stories, and rebuild communities when we create. We reclaim our esteem, our muse, and our hope when we create.”

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1) Start with a morning freewrite.

Instead of jumping right into your projects when you get into the office, block off ten minutes for a digital detox and grab a notebook and paper to just write.

Writing in a more free-form style will allow your creative juices to flow, while also forcing you to put your thoughts into written words.

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