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Oscar T.

@osc_t529

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Creativity
The creative process is the act of making new connections between old ideas or recognizing relationships between concepts.

While being creative isn't easy, nearly all great ideas follow a similar 5 step creative process.

@osc_t529

How to Master Creativity and Uncover Your Creative Genius

jamesclear.com

  1. Gather new material directly related to your task as well as learning general material by becoming fascinated with a wide range of concepts.
  2. Thoroughly work over the materials in your mind.  Examine what you have learned by looking at the facts from different angles and experimenting with fitting various ideas together.
  3. Step away from the problem. Next, you put the problem completely out of your mind and go do something else that excites you and energizes you.
  4. Let your idea return to you. After you have stopped thinking about it, your idea will come back to you with a flash of insight and renewed energy.
  5. Shape and develop your idea based on feedback. For any idea to succeed, you must release it out into the world, submit it to criticism, and adapt it as needed.

Some people are primed to be more creative than others.

However, nearly every person is born with some level of creative skill and the majority of our creative thinking abilities are trainable.

How to Be Creative
  1. Give yourself permission to create junk.
  2. Create on a schedule. Genius arrives when you show up enough times to get the average ideas out of the way.
  3. Finish something. Anything. Stop researching, planning, and preparing to do the work and just do the work.
  4. Stop judging your own work. Laugh off your mistakes and continue to produce the thing you love.
  5. Hold yourself accountable. Share your work publicly. It will hold you accountable for creating your best work. 

Finding your creative genius is easy

  • do the work, 
  • finish something, 
  • get feedback, 
  • find ways to improve, 
  • show up again tomorrow. 
  • Repeat for ten years. Or twenty. Or thirty.

Inspiration only reveals itself after perspiration.

Making Bad Decisions: Being Intentionally Stupid

Our various cognitive biases make us behave irrationally, even though we believe we are acting logically. If we are tired, in a rush, or are distracted we tend to rush towards a bad decision. Other factors include working with an authority figure or in a group.

The rule to follow is to never make important decisions when one is emotionally weak, tired, distracted, or in a hurry.

Avoiding Bad Decisions

fs.blog

The real problem is rarely visible in the first instance, as we only look at the symptom or the result. If we let someone else define the problem, we are far away from it. We might be too close to the problem and need an objective view.

The rule is to not let others define your problems

We normally trust people and believe we have the right information. The resulting outcome is akin to chinese whispers, the phenomenon when information is passed on to a lot of people in a chain, leading to distortion and falsification.

The thumb rule here is to seek information from credible, first hand sources.

Making mistakes is fine, but making the same mistake over and over is not. We need to make mistakes, and learn from it, or else we will keep living the same year in repeat mode. If we don’t analyse and reflect on our actions, we will never learn from our mistakes and will be unable to calibrate our decision making.

The thumb rule here is to be less busy, and maintain a daily journal to think and reflect on your past actions.

It is easier to portray being virtuous, to create the image, than to actually be virtuous. We are by default programmed to do what is easy and not what is right. If we get too focused on optics rather than outcomes or results, we will start being biased and selfish. We would then be away from our true nature, making decisions because of external factors.

The rule here is to act like you own the company.

Meta-learning

Meta-learning is when you learn about how much you know and don’t know in a particular domain.

Meta-learning is important because it’s easy to delude yourself into believing you know more than you actually do.

The Importance of Knowing What You Know | Scott H Young

scotthyoung.com

  • Familiarity is the sense that you’ve seen something before. That feeling of, “ah, I’ve seen this before,” is commonly confused with actually being able to recollect said information. 
  • Recollection is much more than familiarity. To recollect something, you need to be able to produce the answer without prompt.
  • When something feels familiar, but you can’t actually recollect it when self-testing, you have an incorrect assumption about your own knowledge.
  • Self-testing: Doing practice problems, flashcard reviews or even creating your own questions gives you the chance to see past familiarity and get more accurate information about what you know and don’t know.
  • Self-explanation: Articulation is a difficult task, so weaknesses in your knowledge get exposed quickly.
The Illusion Of Control

Many people, who are otherwise perfectly healthy can create patterns and have an illusion that they are somehow in control of the external events that no one could influence.

The belief is so strong that it can affect their behaviour and make them do superstitious actions that make no sense.

It’s not necessarily deluded to feel in control when you’re not | Psyche Ideas

psyche.co

Scientists studying the illusion of control phenomenon in many of us state that the exaggerated belief patterns are actually a useful tool for success, as the overconfidence of our actions influencing the outside environment can act as a catalyst.

Being in control does wonders to our self-esteem and the sense of power creates a chain reaction that helps us even if it is just a delusion.

  • Psychophysics is an experimental branch of psychology that investigates the limits of human perception.
  • Humans are hardwired to be delusional about their actions and are extremely sensitive to how the world responds to whatever they do.
  • The key takeaway of this puzzle is that even though our beliefs may be false, they create a rational inference that may be needed in an uncertain world.
Decision Matrix Analysis

A decision matrix is a table that helps you to visualize the best option between your different alternatives.

It works by getting you to list your options as rows on a table, and the factors you need consider as columns. You then score each option/factor combination, weight this score by the relative importance of the factor, and add these scores up to give an overall score for each option.

Decision Matrix AnalysisMaking a Decision by Weighing Up Different Factors

mindtools.com

Neuroevolution

Neuroevolution is a form of artificial intelligence. It is a meta-algorithm, an algorithm for designing algorithms. It adopts the principles of biological evolution in order to design smarter algorithms. Eventually, the algorithms get pretty good at their job.

Computers Evolve a New Path Toward Human Intelligence | Quanta Magazine

quantamagazine.org

Traditionally, evolutionary algorithms are used to solve specific problems. For instance, the ability to control a two-legged robot. Solutions that perform the best on some metrics are selected to produce offspring.

In spite of successes, these algorithms are more computationally intensive than approaches such as "deep learning."

The steppingstone principle

It goes beyond traditional evolutionary approaches. It explains innovation. Instead of optimizing for a specific goal, it embraces the creative exploration of a diverse population of solutions.

The steppingstone’s potential can be seen by analogy with biological evolution: feathers likely evolved for insulation and only later became handy for flight.

Biological evolution is the only system to produce human intelligence.

If we want algorithms that can navigate the physical and social world as we do, we need to imitate nature's tactics. Instead of hard-coding for specific metrics, we must let a population of solutions blossom that may discover an indirect path or a set of stepping stones to allow them to evolve better than if they'd received those skills directly.

Pursuing specific goals can be a hindrance to reaching those objectives.

Kenneth Stanley, a computer scientist, hoped to show that by following ideas in interesting directions, algorithms can produce a diversity of results and solve problems. Thus, ignoring an objective can get you to the solution faster than pursuing it. He showed this through an approach named novelty search.

Cons
  • It requires a considerable amount of computation.
  • Most people want to solve a particular problem. Neuroevolution might get you to a creative solution but could lead you astray before it puts you on the right path.

Pros

  • Other AI, like reinforcement learning, can lead to short-terms gains, but will eventually get stuck in a rut. Random exploration in the steppingstone principle can beat the best algorithms. 
  • Open-ended exploration might lead to human-level intelligence via paths we would never have anticipated.
  • Maintaining a population of different solutions
  • Optimizing a single solution. 
Tests help us remember better

Tests can have a powerful effect on what a student remembers.

What happens if you get an answer wrong? Common sense says if you practice making errors, you learn to make errors. But common sense also says we learn most from making mistakes.

How tests and wrong answers help us remember what we learn

theconversation.com

Previous research has shown that if you're young and healthy, mistakes enhance learning. But people with memory impairments, such as ageing, benefit most from error-free learning. New research challenges all of this. Researchers found that the types of clues make the difference.

If the test is conceptual (relating new learning to information we already know), young and older people remember more from a test they didn't get right. For example, asking to name a pastry, followed by feedback that "it was a tart", rather than just giving the answer without being tested on it. With non-conceptual information, errors will not help.

In reality, it's common to write down a wrong answer and not find out the correct answer for a while. Trying to find the correct answer afterwards lead people to remember more.

There is no evidence that it's good to make errors on purpose. Teachers need to ensure that the problems students face are challenging enough, so they are engaged in productive struggle. If they don't make mistakes, they may not be learning.

Our addiction to bad news

If every year feels like the worst, it's mostly because our brains tend to judge the present more harshly. Indiscriminately watching the news skews our perception and makes us more prone to slip into unhealthy patterns.

Many of us become obsessed with the world's seemingly increasing danger. We can't stop checking narratives of the deadly diseases, police brutality, protests, conspiracy theories, and politics, even if it is halfway around the world.

Why every year-but especially 2020-feels like the worst ever

nationalgeographic.com

In Western culture, people tend to interpret current events negatively, while we tend to remember the positive experiences of the past.

Frightening things have happened in the past too and before the current pandemic, the majority of Americans already believed the country was going downhill.

  • According to a 2017 survey, respondents who consumed excessive news reported lost sleep, stress, anxiety, and fatigue.
  • In 1968, a study found a direct correlation between time spent watching television and the likelihood that the watcher will perceive the world more dangerous. Viewers who watch violent television shows generally believe violence is common in reality.

However, the effects of media aren't always negative. It depends on the medium of consumption and how you use it. Actively engaging in positive conversations with friends and family can have a positive effect. Lurking or scrolling through updates without engaging has a negative psychological impact.

While we may never see the present as perfect, we can learn to control our biases.

  • Acknowledge how the media shifts our perceptions. It can make the present look worse than in the past.
  • Take a realistic view of history and compare it with the present.
  • Take stock in what we do have. We are making progress socially and scientifically, a feat that would have been impossible a hundred years ago.
Luck And Chance

Like the flip of a coin coming up with heads or tails, chance is what happens out there, and is an aspect of the physical universe. Luck, on the other hand, is a perceived value of the ‘chance’ outcome.

It is our subjective reality of a good or bad fortune, imposed over the objective reality of the final result or consequence. The chance event is the same, and people see it as lucky or unlucky.

The Deceptions of Luck

nautil.us

People try to change the chance outcomes, and thereby their luck by using blind superstition or old ritual to affect the outcome, but there is no evidence of them working.

Luck can be increased with hard work, though what can happen out there is still anybody’s guess. The prepared mind that is able to act with speed and direction has more favourable chances than the one who is not paying attention.

Being lucky or unlucky often is our own perception and outlook towards life.

If we survive a car accident, we consider ourselves lucky to be alive or to be unlucky to be involved in the accident in the first place, ruining our vehicle.

  • One of the first preparations is to increase the odds of winning by participating in a bigger or better way. The logic is that if we don’t buy the lottery ticket, we are sure we won’t win the one million lottery prize, but if we buy one ticket, our odds of winning have now increased. If we buy more tickets, the odds are more in our favour.
  • The law of truly large numbers takes the odds calculation to the extreme and increases the number of chances to win to such a degree that winning becomes inevitable. Example: By increasing the number of positions we apply to, we increase the odds of landing an interview and an eventual job offer.
  • Being ready to seize an opportunity when it comes, able to see the links, networks, and relationships that others do not is one of the major factors to increase one’s own luck.
  • Being a positive, outgoing person, getting exposed to new people and ideas, makes one’s mind prepared for opportunities for positive things to happen.

If the result is binary, like a flip of a coin or the stock market going up or down, we can work towards both the possibilities, and get into the playing field where we are in control of both the outcomes.

Social Cognitive Theory

It is a learning theory developed by Stanford psychologist Albert Bandura in the 60s/70s and provides an understanding of how people get influenced and in turn influence their environment.

It delves into self-learning through observation and modelling, of desirable or undesirable behaviours, and then acting them out on their own.

Social Cognitive Theory: How We Learn From the Behavior of Others

thoughtco.com

Behaviourist B.F. Skinner had theorized that learning can only be achieved by individual action.

Social Cognitive Theory, however, states that an individual can learn by observing and imitating models, grasping and reproducing the learning much faster.

  • Attentional: When people observe their model.
  • Retention: When the observed information is remembered.
  • Production: When the observed information is recalled and reconstructed later, producing a variation of the learned model.
  • Motivational: Depending on the feedback and the outcome, the individual is motivated or demotivated to produce the same.

Models become a source of inspiration, motivation and are enablers of self-learning. Successful outcomes increase the observer’s self-efficacy and impacts one’s personal growth and change. This positive self-belief can make all the difference in the course of life of the individual.

Example: TV sitcoms in India promoted gender equality and raised women’s status through gripping stories, and made the masses understand the message to emulate.

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