Where Does It Come From?
The brain is split into two halves, a right and a left hemisphere. Both have their own specialized way of thinking. The left side is the cold, analytical part of the brain whereas the right is the creative, emotional side of the brain. For more about left vs right thinking and dominance tests, check here. So traditionally we say that our creativity flows forward from the right hemisphere of the brain but as we will see, to be truely creative it takes efforts from both hemispheres of the brain. That's right, you gotta use the whole thing!
Left and Right Brains Pitch In
The right side of the brain may be the actual creative engine, churning out ideas but it can't do it alone. The left brain has to frame the problem or task(painting for instance) so you can understand in practical terms what needs to be done. Then the right can be unleashed to generate possible solutions or startegies(how to paint it) but then again it's upto the left side to execute the plan. The left side then analyzes and refines the ideas and puts them into action. There are many times when the left brain is engaged in some sort of repetitive activity and is suspended or left on autopilot. A great example of this is driving. Have you ever driven down a well known route, maybe to work or back home, and begin to day dream or plan and suddenly realise that you have arrived? What happens is that since driving is mostly a left brained activity and since your route is a well practiced series of movements for you, your left brain gets put on the back burner and your right brain emerges as the dominant half. while the left side is on autopilot the right is allowed to churn away at full speed. Moments like these are probably some of the most creative moments you have.
There are some biological indicators of creativity. Research has shown that highly creative people who excel at creative innovation are capapble of divergent thinking, which controlled by the frontal lobe and are able to manipulate or redeploy those neurotransmitters in their frontal lobe. Having a a high level of specialized knowledge also helps draw inspiration during the creative process.
3 Steps to Become More Creative
- First, you need to challenge your brain and keep it sharp, regularly and it will make a habit of coming up with creative solutions. Exercise you brain with brain teasers, logic problems etc. This will make sure that all the gears are well oiled in your brain, making it ready to tackle anything.
- Second, train your brain to think and act differently. Different is the key! Do things differently from how you would normally do them, with the opposite hand maybe, or in reverse order. Try dressing yourself with one hand or using a new route to work. Routinely doing things in a new way creates and reinforces new neural pathways in the your brain, literally creating new ways of thinking.
- Third, you'll need a large pool of knowledge and experience to draw inspiration from. This means getting out there and trying new things, meeting new people and experiencing more. This will broaden your realm of what is possible out there in this world. Learning how other people do things will give you insight into solving your own problem or tackling a task.
While training to be more creative remember that your brain will respond to encouragement. When it sends signals, you should pay attention to them. If you reward the action, the action will increase with frequency and refinement. You can do this by acknowledging to yourself, when you are being creative. You can further encourage the onslaught of creative ideas by acting on those ideas. This gets the left brain involved as well in the creative process. With a little effort and persistance you should notice ideas coming to you easier than before.
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