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Is Creativity Mysterious?

Do you think some people have it and some don’t?

I looked up the definition and it’s “the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations.”

So it doesn’t just apply to artistic endeavors but can be found absolutely anywhere that folks are trying new things…cooking, gardening, music, landscaping, architecture, farming, decorating, religion, raising kids, and on and on.

Check out “The Creative Brain,” a Netflix documentary with neuroscientist David Eagleman who explains the brain functions behind this “crowning glory of the human species.” Creativity, he explains, is not about generating something from nothing. Rather it’s taking ideas from one place and using them in another.

Eagleman gives three tips for enhancing your creativity:

  • Push to try something new. Get off the path of least resistance. To be efficient, our brain has a tendency to do what we’ve done before. That takes the least energy and our brains are energy guzzlers consuming 20% of our energy. Support this by learning new skills both in your field and outside your field.

  • Push boundaries beyond your comfort level. Our brains do tend to be novelty seekers. Try to not go too crazy and not too boring.

  • · Embrace failure. This is key to achieving the previous two tips. You are taking risks when you go outside what you’ve done before. You may have to throw out your painting, or that cake or your new garden may disappoint. That’s okay. What did you learn from your experience?

Eagleman highlights a young scientist with a new job and mission but no budget for the incredibly expensive equipment she needed. Then she remembered her childhood toy – Shrinky Dinks. With it she was able to build the chips she needed and shrink them to just the right size. So honor all your life experiences and continue to enrich your learning. Meantime, you’ll be growing your creativity.

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