How to foster creativity

Let's take a minute to explore creativity.

If you feel like you're in a rut and can't "think out of the box," then go some place you've never been before.

New evidence suggests that creativity flourishes most when we place ourselves in situations we've never experienced. New faces, new places, new thinking.

Why is this? Researchers say the brain's natural tendency is to be somewhat lazy. The mind prefers to take shortcuts and rely on established images and ways of seeing things. To jolt the brain into creative mode, it apparently helps to jump into something you have absolutely no experience with. Take away the "safety net," break your historical mental connections and see what happens.

In an article entitled "Neuroscience Sheds New Light on Creativity," reveals that when it comes to seeing things differently, Mark Twain may have been right when he said, "Education consists mainly in what I have unlearned." When the brain confronts different situations, it reorganizes perception. It pays more attention to all of the senses. It lives in the moment. The more radical the experience, the greater the chances of acquiring new perception.

If scientists are right, then what a wonderful supporting argument this makes for the benefits of travel and for changing the scenery once in a while.

Just remember to bring a pen and paper with you. You may find solutions to your problems when you least expect them -- on the top of a pyramid, learning to ski or on a hike in the woods.

Willlam James:

"Genius means little more than the faculty of perceiving in an unhabitual way."

Albert Einstein:

"You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created."

....and my favourite....

Buckminster Fuller:

"There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly."

Yes, indeed.

Other links:

Ten Steps for Boosting Your Creativity

The Astounding Power of the Brain

Take a 5-minute test to compare your Right Brain vs Left Brain Creativity (from the Art Institute of Vancouver).

Photo credit: Thanks to Robert Russell for his shot of a Florida sunrise.


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