I just read this amazing article (Where Good Ideas Hide by Kyle Smith) about creativity. In summary “the two critical ingredients scientists have discovered in creativity… persistent hard work plus the liberating effect of a feeling of childhood.”
I truly believe that in order to motivate and inspire we need creativity to be a persistent quality in everyone of us. Sometimes you need creativity in your life to handle the stress, to get to the gym, to lose that extra weight, to ask for that promotion etc… Things aren’t always so cut and dry, words can’t always motivate and help isn’t always just around the corner. You need your own creativity to lead an ACTION lifestyle. Remember, Albert Einstein once Said “Creativity is more important than knowledge.” Creative Motivation!!
Where good ideas hide
By KYLE SMITH
Last Updated:12:17 AM, March 18, 2012
Posted:10:23 PM, March 17, 2012
Viewing an exhibition of children’s art in 1956, Pablo Picasso said, “When I was the age of these children, I could draw like Raphael. It took me many years to learn how to draw like these children.”
These two factors — persistent hard work plus the liberating effect of a feeling of childhood — are among two critical ingredients scientists have discovered in creativity. In one experiment mentioned in Jonah Lehrer’s superb new book “Imagine,” a group of people were asked what they would do if they were 7 years old, had a day off and were free to do anything. A second group was given the same instruction — without being told to put themselves in a kid’s shoes. Result: The first group came up with far more imaginative ideas.
Innovative companies like 3M (essentially an idea lab which came up with the Post-it note and many more ingenious thingamabobs and doohickeys), Google and Pixar nudge their employees to think like children, famously supplying them with recess time, Ping-Pong tables and kids’ cereal. Google orders its workers to spend a day a week working on their own random projects, an idea 3M had first.
Milton Glaser’s, who came up with the I ♥NY logo (“the most widely imitated work of graphic art in the world,” says Lehrer), the DC Comics logo and the Bob Dylan silhouette poster, among many other familiar designs, worked relentlessly on the New York motto but was stuck on various uninspired creations. One day, while literally stuck — in a taxi caught in traffic — the celebrated logo came to him in a eureka moment.
Brain scientists have been studying such episodes for so long that creativity is no longer cloaked in an aura of the magical and unknowable. Lehrer recounts how people working on a problem that requires a burst of creative thinking complain of running out of ideas. They hit the wall.
This point is simply the moment when the left brain responsible for working in a linear, literal way shuts down — but the good news is that it allows the freewheeling right brain to crank up. As ad man Don Draper once said, while instructing an underling on how to be creative on season one of “Mad Men,“ “Just think about it deeply, then forget it . . . then an idea will jump up in your face.”
Some “forget it” situations that can kick-start the right brain epiphany include: being drowsy, being exposed to the color blue, watching a funny video, waking up a little earlier in the morning to reflect for a moment (instead of automatically rushing to begin the day), taking a warm shower and interrupting one’s focus (by taking a walk or playing Ping-Pong, for instance). Studies show that traveling, taking a new job or getting to know new people can also unlock creativity.
Even the mental picture of traveling can stimulate creativity: Students asked to list as many transportation options as they could think of came up with more answers when told that the problem was conceived by Indiana students living in Greece than they did when told that the problem was devised by Indiana students living in Indiana.
Some things people do to enhance concentration — such as taking Adderall, Ritalin or caffeine — actually make epiphanies less likely by keeping you locked in left-brain thinking. Similarly, a brain that does not allow itself any down time for daydreaming — you know who you are, addicts who whip out your iPhone during that 20-second elevator ride — risks creative malnutrition.
“When your brain is doing nothing,” says a neurologist and radiologist quoted in the book, “It’s really doing a tremendous amount.”
Still, focus and the stimulants that enhance it make possible what Lehrer calls “grit” — persistent slogging through a problem in the absence of a eureka moment. Lehrer recounts how poet W.H. Auden, fueled by stimulants, created lean, spare poems in which not a word was wasted.
Stimulants increase the flow of dopamine, creating a state in which “the world is suddenly saturated with interesting ideas,” Lehrer says. “Dopamine makes even the most tedious details too interesting to ignore.”
Brain science, then, has validated Nietzsche’s view of the creative class as divided into the Apollonian (who diligently imposes order on messy reality) and Dionysian (who allows himself to be intoxicated with non-linear thinking).
An excellent example of the latter: 1965 Bob Dylan. Exhausted by his touring schedule, out of ideas and tired of writing literal-minded protest songs, he retreated to a cabin in Woodstock with no intention of making music. (He didn’t even bring his guitar.) Then, in an epiphany, he was stricken by an uncontrollable urge that he compared to vomiting. He gushed forth a torrent of 20 pages of strange imagery that became his breakthrough into abstraction: “Like a Rolling Stone.”
“It’s like a ghost is writing a song,” Dylan said later. “It gives you a song and goes away.” Dylan simply needed to learn how to trust the ghost.
Creative Motivation by Seth D. Cohen