Creativity is a key part of intelligence. When you become more creative, your skills at solving problems improve dramatically, your brain efficiency speeds up, and you develop more and more effective ways of thinking and behaving. Jonathon Schooler, professor at the University of California suggests your creativity is what is driving us forward: “If you look at the advancement of humanity it fundamentally depends on creative innovation”.
So if this is what separates us from the animals, why don’t we utilise this more? Perhaps we lack the awareness and knowledge to understand its capability?
Vanderbilt University management professor Richard Daft says “the average human spends only about 2 per cent to 10 per cent of their time each day using the frontal lobe”. The rest of the time we are on autopilot. We are thinking the same thoughts, feelings and emotions day in, day out. A brain on auto polite is a bored brain. We get so distracted and hypnotised by our external world the rest of the brain is active while the frontal lobe “creative powerhouse” is dialled way down.
So how do we dial up our lobes and tap into this powerhouse?
Ask open-ended questions to create a new mind!
Neuroscientist Dr Joe Dispenze says, “The frontal lobe has connections to all other parts of the brain and when you ask open-ended questions like; what would it be like to…? How would it have to be…?, the frontal lobe (like a symphony conductor, looks out at the landscape of the entire brain and begins to select different networks of neurons and seamlessly pieces them together to create a new mind.”
Whenever we make our brain work differently, we are literally changing our minds, and we turn on the frontal lobe, our creative centre! When the frontal lobe turns on, it begins recruiting circuits in the rest of the brain that is related to things we’ve learnt and or experienced in life. When this occurs, we now have a new intention or vision of the future. With the intention locked in our frontal lobe, the new thought becomes a new possibility or potential in the quantum field
Change it up! Let’s be honest; most of us are creatures of habit. We tend to do the same things and think the same thoughts every day. So next time you brush your teeth try brushing it the opposite hand, think about how the colour pink tastes, what the clouds smell like or simply just try out a new recipe. When we change our routine, experiences or change the way we do things we are creating new brain connections. You are activating these new brain connections.
Imagination “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination” Albert Einstein. Your imagination is the true source of creativity. Napoleon Hill points out that “imagination is the most marvellous, miraculous, inconceivably powerful force that the world has even known”. The average individual doesn’t activate imagination, and if they do, they use it against themselves. They imagine what they don’t want and the associated problems instead of using creativity to imagine what you do want. Don’t get pulled down this rabbit hole.
Activate your imagination. Daydream. Think of all the possibilities your life could be – It is limitless. If we keep thinking about making that future become a reality, we naturally begin to insert ourselves into the scene of our future. According to research on mental rehearsal, once we immerse ourselves in that scene of our imagination, changes begin to take place in our brain. Therefore each time we do this, we’re laying down new neurological tracks (in the present moment) that literally change our brain to look like the brain of our future. In other words, the brain starts to look for the future we want to create and has already happened. WOW!
Unplug Sometimes your mind needs to unplug from the influx of information and just be. We need to train our brain to think less. Or maybe even have a nap! Companies like Google, Uber, Ben & Jerry’s and PwC have adapted sleep at work. They provide nap pods, sleeping nooks, or have napping policies for their employees to rest, and recharge, so their creativity remains high throughout the day – yes please!
The Disney Strategy:
When it comes to creativity and imagination, there is no more significant inspiration out there other than Walt Disney. NLP Pioneer and author, Robert Dilts, identified how Walk Disney brought these visionary ideas from dreams to reality. He observed that when Disney had a plan for a new film, he seemed to go through three phases of thinking which they named Dreamer, Realist, and Critic.
- Dreamer: dream all the possibilities without any inhibitions. Anything is possible. Then take that dream to the realist and make a plan;
- Realist: How are we going to make this work? This would mean a step-by-step plan using logic, reason, and pragmatism.
- Critic: What am I missing here? What obstacles are we going to face, how do we get around them? The devil’s advocate.
Walt Disney used each of the three styles – but in sequence rather than simultaneously! This produced action. Many of us muddle up the three styles – producing confusion, disenchantment, and inaction, which leads to the mental road, blocks to creativity. The Disney technique is a powerful tool to help efficiently channel inner creativity while ensuring all paths to success are flowing in the same manner.
So I challenge you to try each of the techniques above over the next week to see what changes start taking place in your life. Are you a leader or a follower? Build your creativity muscle today!