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The secret to creativity – according to science

Pablo Picasso

"Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”

Pablo Picasso

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The right side of the brain
The right side of the brain

Creativity isn’t the preserve of one side of the brain, and it isn’t a talent confined to people with a special kind of brain. If you’re human and you’ve got a brain, you’re capabl...

The “Eureka!” moment

This myth encourages the belief that creativity is a passive process. It suggests you have to wait and hope that you’ll make a breakthrough.

That Eureka moment is actually the last step in a long, involved process and not the only step. For this to happen, your unconscious mind needs material to work with. You have to put in the hard work of studying and mastering your field and exposing yourself to different perspectives.

The lone, eccentric geniuses

In reality, creativity is a team sport.

The lone genius myth is a stereotype and it’s unhelpful because it suggests the route to innovation is to cut oneself off from colleagues and collaboration. You need a modest amount of intelligence to be creative, but extremely high IQ is neither sufficient nor necessary for being an innovator.

Creativity expectations
Creativity expectations

Our expectations of how creativity should look like block us. Creative inspiration is all around us, but we don’t see it because we've grown up being taught to look for it in specific p...

How to feel more creative
  • Take a break. Give your brain some space to think of other things.
  • Expand your definition of creativity. You’re probably conditioned to look for it in specific places. Break that mold.
  • Limit yourself. Fewer tools and less time, counterintuitively, force you to be more creative.
Science-Fiction As An Educational Tool

Science-fiction can make scientific theories more accessible to the general public, especially when communicated visually. Besides inspiring science related activities, science fictio...

Science-Fiction, Connection And Hope

We may currently lack the technical or social capacity to reach our goals, but the vision of an eventual breakthrough breeds optimism and builds resolve serving as beacons of faith and moral bearings for how we live today.

Portrayals of a better future can also inspire actions that contribute to something greater than ourselves; when we emotionally invest in mythic ideas about the future, we feel empowered to actualize them. That sense of empowerment fuels purpose and fosters global communion with the rest of humanity.

Science-Fiction And Perspective

Science fiction can coax us to think creatively by letting us leapfrog to the distant future where we may glimpse what radical change could look like.

These stories often imply that we will survive as a species and overcome our challenges or warn us that though we may progress as a society, dangers abound. A multi-generational perspective that is scaled to encompass interplanetary habitation enlarges our understanding of our context within the universe and discourages shortsighted actions while encouraging peaceful coexistence and conservation.