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5 Creativity Myths You Probably Believe

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.

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5 Creativity Myths You Probably Believe

5 Creativity Myths You Probably Believe

https://99u.adobe.com/articles/35045/5-creativity-myths-you-probably-believe

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Key Ideas

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 capable of being creative.

It’s true that the two brain hemispheres do function differently, but crucially they are joined by massive bundles of nerve fibers and most mental functions involve the two hemispheres working together.

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.

External incentives for creativity

When it comes to creative output, external gains don't really work. In fact, the opposite may be true.

Creativity that is driven by internal ambition and reward (the simple joy and satisfaction of doing something) tends to lead to more original and imaginative end results than work fueled by the promise of external gains, such as money or public recognition.

Brainstorming and creativity

This is a persistent myth, that the best way to come up with ideas together is to embark on a classic brainstorming session. But people need time to work alone first, and only then should the collaborative process begin.

Group brainstorming is an effective way to share and merge people’s ideas and solutions, but it’s the wrong way to come up with ideas in the first place, and it certainly shouldn’t be the end of the creative process.

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The Originality Myth

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Re-reading and highlighting

Both of these study strategies are relatively ineffective. Passively reading the same text over and over again won’t do much for recall unless it’s spaced out over time. 

Different learning styles

Systematic studies of learning styles have consistently found no evidence or very weak evidence to support the idea that matching the material to a student’s learning style is more effective.

Right or left-brained

There is no conclusive evidence that people preferentially use the left or right hemisphere.

Certain functions are processed more by one region of the brain than others, and this is known as lateralization. But we all use our entire brain equally.

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Restrict yourself

Research suggests placing self-imposed limitations can boost creativity. 

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Re-conceptualize the problem

Instead of thinking of a cut-and-dry end goal to certain situations, creative people sit back and examine the problem in different ways before beginning to work.

If you find yourself stagnating by focusing on generic problems, try to re-conceptualize the problem by focusing on a more meaningful angle.

For example: Instead of thinking “What would be something cool to paint?” rather ask, “What sort of painting evokes the feeling of loneliness that we all encounter after a break-up?”

Create psychological distance

Creating “psychological” distance may be useful for breaking through a creative block.

Try to imagine your creative task as being disconnected and distant from your current position/location - this may make the problem more accessible and can encourage higher level thinking.

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Knowing how to think

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The connection between genius and possible insanity was first documented in 1891 in the Italian physicians’ book The Man Of Genius.

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Genetic Studies Of Genius

A body of work of Stanford psychologist Lewis M. Terman, was an in-depth multi-decade study of gifted individuals, and an attempt to improve the measurement of genius and its association with the degradation of mental stability. This also included an enhanced version of the French IQ (Intelligence Quotient) test.

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Brainstorming

It encourages people to come up with thoughts and ideas that can, at first, seem a bit crazy. Some of these ideas can be crafted into original, creative solutions to a problem, while others can ...

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  • It brings team members' diverse experience into play. It increases the richness of ideas explored, which means that you can often find better solutions.
  • It can help you get buy-in from team members for the solution chosen – after all, they're likely to be more committed to an approach if they were involved in developing it. 
  • It helps team members bond, as they solve problems in a positive, rewarding environment.
Why individual brainstorming might bring better results
  • groups aren't always strict in following the rules of brainstorming, and bad behaviors creep in
  • people pay so much attention to other people that they don't generate ideas of their own – or they forget these ideas while they wait for their turn to speak. 

On your own, you don't have to worry about other people's egos or opinions, and you can be freer and more creative.

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