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The Scientific Way to Generate Ideas on Demand

Our brains have two ways of operating

Our brains have two ways of operating
  • Focused: when you're very focused on solving the problem in front of you. But this also clamps down on unconventional and creative solutions
  • Distracted: when you’re unfocused and your mind wanders, because you’re relaxed. This engages the autopilot area of your brain. The rest of your mind is free to wander, making connections and encouraging creative thoughts to form.

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The Scientific Way to Generate Ideas on Demand

The Scientific Way to Generate Ideas on Demand

https://medium.com/swlh/the-scientific-way-to-generate-ideas-on-demand-fc94e0609282

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Key Ideas

Our brains have two ways of operating

  • Focused: when you're very focused on solving the problem in front of you. But this also clamps down on unconventional and creative solutions
  • Distracted: when you’re unfocused and your mind wanders, because you’re relaxed. This engages the autopilot area of your brain. The rest of your mind is free to wander, making connections and encouraging creative thoughts to form.

Generating good ideas on command

Make sure you’re prepared at any time.

  • Find out when you’re relaxed, happy and distracted (because that's when creative thoughts are more likely to appear) and make a mental note of when that’s likely to happen.
  • Find a way to record the ideas that are sure to come.

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Take a Nap

Dreaming is a source of inspiration because your brain is working even when you’re asleep.

If you can’t seem to break through your brainstorming session, take a nap.

Drink

People who are concentrating too hard will sometimes block the creative processes necessary for problem-solving.

A drink or two might just help calm your brain.

Listen to Music

Music can put you into a “mind-wandering” state that’s perfectly conducive to coming up with new and creative ideas.

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Where ideas come from

Ideas come to us when we have a specific problem but we do not focus on solving the problem directly.

It’s not at all obvious how to go about thinking up some new twist on these things...

Unconscious processing

Henri Poincaré, the father of chaos theory and the co-discoverer of special relativity, relates his own discovery. "the idea came to me, without anything in my former thoughts seeming to have paved the way for it.”

The Irish mathematician, Sir William Rowan Hamilton, had a similar epiphany while strolling by the Brougham Bridge. He was so delighted that he stopped and carved the defining algebraic equation into the bridge.

Don't overthink

The first phase of solving can be described as “worrying” about a problem or idea. It evokes anxiety and gives the impression of productivity.

But, overthinking can lead to a dead end. The key to solving the problem is to take a break from worrying. Focus your attention on some other activity. Take a long hike or a long drive, to give your mind the space to have a good idea.

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Increasing Your To-Do-List’s Productivity
  1. Divide it into the following categories: Today, This Week, Later This Week, Long Term.
  2. Once you complete a task, delete it. If you need to follow it up, make a new entry f...
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 t...

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.

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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Consider what you consume

Idea generation is fueled by consumption, not creativity.

Creativity is just connecting things. The more things we have to connect, the better our ideas will become.

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Output

To get the most value out of what you consume, it helps to have a mode of output: Talk about it, write about it or condense it into a tweet.

Expand your viewpoint

To improve your idea generation, zoom out your perspective to a macro level. 

For example, on a micro-level, a Billy Joel concert may just be a fun way to spend a night. On a macro level, it is packed with ideas about how to connect with an audience.

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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 liv..."
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Creativity is complex

It means producing something novel or original, evaluating, solving problems, whether on paper, on stage, in a laboratory or even in the shower.

Knowing how to think

Geniuses know “how” to think, instead of “what” to think.

People who are more creative can simultaneously engage brain networks that don’t typically work together.

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Have a reason to study

Have an end goal in mind when you're learning.

  • What do you want to do with this information?
  • How is it going to improve your life?

Even if ...

Find the right instructor

Set some time aside to see what courses are available.
Take advantage of any free lessons, watch the introductions to their classes and see if the instructor will be a good fit for your skill level and speed.

Don’t binge

Watching online tutorial videos can become addictive. Keep in mind that you are trying to learn something, not get distracted.

How long you would be able to study depends on the density of the subject and the level of your knowledge about the subject.

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The blue mind

A "blue mind" is a mildly meditative state characterized by calm, peacefulness, unity, and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment, that's triggered when w...

Water gives our brains a rest
  • The sound around us, from an auditory perspective, is simplified. It's not quiet, but the sound of water is far more simple than the sound of voices or the sound of music or the sound of a city.
  • The visual input is simplified. When you stand at the edge of the water and look out on the horizon, it's visually simplified relative to a city you're walking through, where you're taking in millions of pieces of information every second.
A meditative state

The water could be inducing a mildly meditative state of calm focus and gentle awareness.

When we're by the water, our brains are held in a state of mild attentiveness. In this state, the brain is interested and engaged in the water, taking in sensory input but not distracted by an overload of it.

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