If you feel stuck, frustrated, bored or demotivated, then you must open yourself up to new possibilities. It’s very difficult to make progress along the journey of life without discovering new possibilities. New possibilities are the product of the creative thinking process. Creative thinking is the process of coming up with new ideas. ‘New ideas’ does not mean a revolutionary thought or a radical idea, it might be in the form of small subtle shifts in the existing ideas or things. In other words, making small moves towards expanding your horizons.
So this is when you find solutions to a problem, or when you see something you had been overlooking before, i.e. you start cultivating creative insights or start generating new ideas.
This is when millions of neurons connect together to make a rare combination – when neurons, the cells that collect and process electrochemical signals, make certain unique paths that never existed before. So, creative thinking is all about those unique neural pathways.
There are billions of neurons between the primary parts of the brain that are responsible for knowledgeable thinking and memory (hippocampus and cerebral cortex). These two parts are integral for creative thinking or idea generation or idea processing and evaluation. So from those billions of neurons, millions of neurons work every second to generate or interpret an idea.
This neuroscientific concept is really important to understand for you if you want to enhance your creativity. Because the more neural connections you would make, the stronger your rational thinking skills would become. Once you capture the importance of making more neural connections, you would eagerly engage in activities that contribute towards making more and more neural connections; like you would like to solve crossword puzzles or play different card decks.
Neuroscientists say that it all depends upon how you use your brain, if the brain is used in a particular way, it adapts according to it and shows better performance in that particular area because more neurons are dedicated towards that problem or thing. So the more you focus on a thing, the more improved brain functionality becomes towards that thing.
Research in neuroscience supports the idea that unique and original ideas are produced when two diverse brain networks are activated simultaneously, i.e. the associative-spontaneous and the normative-conservative.
As, creativity is all about thinking in diverse and unique ways to find better solutions or simply come up with some different and original ideas. The research conducted by Dr. Naama at the department of Psychology, the University of Haifa hypothesized that the brain must activate a number of different, in fact, contradictory networks in order to come up with a new idea.
In this research, the brains of the participants were scanned using functional magnetic resonance imaging while they were responding to answers. Firstly, they were given 30 seconds to come up with a new and unique idea about the unexpected usage of different objects. Then in the second instance, they were given 30 seconds or less to give a unique description of the objects. The results found on FMRI were: the increased activity in the associative parts of the brain of those participants that were able to present unique and original ideas. This is the region that functions in the background when the person does not concentrate like we do in daydreaming. And this does not work alone to generate an original idea, the region that got simultaneously activated and was seen on FMRI was ‘administrative control region’. This rather more conservative area is held responsible for dealing with social norms and rules. Research further supported the idea that the stronger the collaboration between these two regions, the more original ideas emerge.
So, the researchers concluded that there is a brain region that is responsible for generating original ideas but that region does not work alone, this requires cooperation from another region of the brain that is responsible for interpreting that idea and these two regions need to be activated simultaneously to come up with an original idea.
So, by studying some neuroscientific basis of creativity, now we understand the importance of increased brain activity in order to be more creative. We must indulge in activities like solving puzzles, doodling, painting, free writing in the morning, daydreaming, playing musical instruments etc. These all activities enable us to experience more and more, experience different things, and capturing more and more experiences leads towards coming up with new ideas. Because for an idea to come up, you must have a base, without a base you cannot create anything. In other words, when you have nothing, you can create nothing, i.e. nothing comes from nothing.
Everything comes from something, consider the evolution of language: it started most likely with some form of sign language, gestures, and vocalizations. Then, humans moved gradually towards a written language for the purpose of record-keeping. At that time, there were only three languages (Middle East, China & Meso-America) actually comprising just 13 characters with most languages stemming from two of those three languages. And now there are approximately 3,866 written languages with a number of characters and radicals each. So, it’s important to understand that nothing comes all of a sudden, and everything new is made from something old and so do our ideas and thoughts that come from memories of past events i.e. experiences. We can’t think of anything without recalling the parts of our thoughts. So, do new things every day. Capture more and more experience to become more and more creative.
The more things we do, the more and stronger connections our brain makes. Explore new things, even those you really don’t like. The more your experiences are, the stronger neural connections are formed in your brain. Then, those connections enable you to come up with new, unique and original ideas
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