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Bring out your Creativity

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					If you're waiting for that creative light bulb to suddenly switch on in
your head, forget it. It doesn't work that way. Well, not as a rule or on
a consistent basis, anyway.
   We may have thought that the great, early 20-th century American
inventor, Thomas Edison, was just being modest when he said that his
secret to coming up with new ideas involved "one percent inspiration and
99 percent perspiration." Well, as it turns out, the guy wasn't being
modest, but being perfectly honest and precise, as research on the
subject of human creativity over the past thirty years or so in the
fields of psychology, anthropology, neuroscience, and anthropology all
seem to point to the conclusion that creativity indeed takes a lot of
hard work and that new ideas really don't come to us out of the blue in a
magical flash of genius.
   Although we do experience that "Aha!" moment when everything seems to
click into place in our minds, scientists now explain that our brains
actually do a lot of conscious as well as subconscious hard lifting
before getting to that light bulb moment. That's because contrary to
popular belief, creative thinking does not involved a different mental
process, as our brain uses the same mental building block used in
everyday, ordinary routine thinking.
Neuroscientists, through the Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging
(FMRI), have in reality determined that the brain uses the same neutral
connection for both perception and imagination, inextricably connecting
the two functions. And there lies the problem for most of us.


"A Lazy Piece of Meat?"
   because our brains use the same neural circuits for both perception
and imagination, what we are able to picture on our minds is essentially
limited to what we have experienced or perceived, making it extremely
difficult to visualize anything novel. Scientists have also come to
realize that perception is not simply our eyes and ears telling our brain
what they see and hear; perception is essentially the interpretation of
outside stimuli and, therefore, a product of the brain itself, and the
latter, in order to conserve energy, tends to take shortcuts.
   The brain is fundamentally a lazy piece of meat. It doesn't want to
waste energy, that is why there is a striking lack of imagination in most
people's visualization of (for example) a sunset at the bay.
It's an iconic image, so your brain simply takes the path of least
resistance and rectivates neurons that have been optimized to process
this sort of scene.


"Chain of Tiny Sparks"
   So, unless your brain is wired like Einstein was, creativity take a
lot of hard work. Big ideas don't come just by themselves; they are
products of smaller, sometimes seemingly unrelated ideas or solutions
that we consciously or subconsciously put together with the help of other
ideas or stimuli. Creativity happens not with one brilliant flash but in
a chain reaction of many tiny sparks while executing and idea, so the
more ideas you have and accumulate, the better your chances of coming up
with a good and bigger one.
Bad Ideas are Good Too
   Studying and diaries, manuscripts, notebooks, and other historical
records of famously creative people like Charles Darwin, Jackson pollock
and the Wright brothers and other researchers were able to demonstrate
that highly creative people not only work hard for their innovative
ideas, they also have lots of ideas to work with, many of them bad. From
all the historical research, it would seem that creativity also involves
thrashing through and eliminating lots of bad ideas before we arrive at
one that actually works, while often ending up with a few dead ends as
well along the way.
   There's no getting around it; that's how it works for everybody,
certified geniuses included. Edison conducted literally thousands of
tests and experiments on all kinds of rare and exotic fibers from all
over the world before discovering the perfect formula for his light bulb.
Charles Darwin came to numerous dead ends before perfecting his theory of
evolution, spending years refining one bizarre idea after another before
eventually discarding them. They were bad ideas in and of themselves, but
scientists point out that they were critical to the creative process that
led to the invention of the first working incandescent light bulb as well
as the formulating the theory of evolution.


Myth of the Lone Genius
   Researchers also stress that even for sup-er geniuses like Stephen
Hawking or Albert Einstein, all ideas, no matter how earth-shakingly
radical they seem to be, don't magically appear out of nowhere; they are
always built on ideas that came before. Einstein himself acknowledged
that his theory of relativity was a mere "continuation" of the anti-
Newtonian views of Austrian physicist and philosopher Ernst Mach, who is
more famous for inventing the Mach number used today to measure
supersonic flight. Anecdotal evidence has also revealed that novelists
C.S. Lewis (The Chronicles of Narnia) and J.R.R Tolkien (The Lord of the
Rings) bounced ideas off each other as well as with other writer-friends
who were members of an informal Oxford University cicle called "the
Inklings." In this sense, no idea is truly original; we can improve,
build on, or modify or combine ones that already been thought of.


Creativity Tips
   Creativity is not just for artists or inventors; it's important for
all of us to have some measure of it in order to solve business and
school problems or even how we decorate out hones, for example, We use
creativity ( such as in figuring out the best route to avoid a heavy
traffic) every day without even realizing it. Anything that we do out of
the everyday or ordinary routine is in itself creative. Is it possible
then, for us regular Joes, to hone our creative sharpness? What can we
non-geniuses do to, as they say, get the creative juices flowing. Here
are some tips to get that creative juices flowing:


1. Take Risks
   Don't be afraid to try new ideas, no matter how dumb or far-out they
may seem, and expect to make lots of mistakes. Remember that from
Darwin's experience, bad ideas led to good ones; failure to succeed.
Besides, the alternative is not trying anything at all.


2. It's a number game,   meaning the more ideas you try out, the better the
odds of coming up with   something that works. Remember the thousands of
times that Edison went   back to "the old drawing board" before finally
inventing a light bulb   that worked.

3. If creativity is required in your chosen profession, be sure to love
what it is that you do, because major creative breakthroughs take years
of serious hard work. Bear in mind that it took years and years for
Michael Angelo to develop the style that he is known for. As they say,
artists all have to first "pay their dues."


4. Work hard, but take frequent breaks. Your brain is still working on
the problem even when you're not thinking about it. "Eureka!" moments
come when we disengage ourselves from a problem and change what we're
doing and our context, allowing for the activation of other parts of our
brain where the answer can sometimes be found.

5. Develop a network of colleagues and share ideas through unstructured,
informal discussions.

6. Try to learn everything that's been done in your field, take a look at
what others are doing, collaborate with them if possible, and keep
observant of the developments. The more ideas you have on file in your
brain, the more potential "tiny spark" there are to draw form.

7. Change your perspective
   Creativity requires that you look at things differently. Sometimes,
working somewhere else other than your work station help give our brains
a jumpstart.


But perhaps the biggest lesson we can learn from all the scientific
research so far is that creativity is indeed hard work and not being
artsy or gifted and believing in the romantic notion that things will
suddenly come to us in a flash of insight. Waiting for that one great
moment of creative inspiration only serves to waste time, and chances
are, if things don't come to us soon enough, we get discouraged and
decide to forget about the whole thing. Imagine then what useful,
beautiful, worthwhile or even mind-boggling thing we may have ended
creating nothing.

				
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