Some have asked why I named this blog Retrain the Brain.
It’s because I believe that to maximize creativity, most people, whether pursuing personal, corporate or organizational goals, need to rekindle the creativity that is latent in all of us.
Every human being is born with the ability to be creative, but unlearn it as they grow to adulthood. Five-year-olds are the most creative creatures on earth — more than 95% tested are classed as highly creative. But by age 10 that number is halved. By the time they become adults, only about 2% are still highly creative.
Why is this? Because 5-year-olds haven’t been socialized. They don’t know all the words so make up their own. They don’t know they’re supposed to color fire engines red, so color them with whatever they like (based on emotion).
Our societies are based on logic, which insists on step by step thinking that prevent the thought leaps that are the basis for creative thinking. To use a language example, logical thinking would have you go from A to B to C in an orderly progression. But creativity involves leaping from A to, say Z, and back again, likely stopping at M, O, P, and several other letters along the way.
Each time, the brain stops at a letter, even for a nanosecond, a little insight is formed. These insights are mashed together by the brain into an idea that may be way “out of the box” of progressive thinking. Rather than see the alphabet as an orderly series of steps, we may combine letters into a new word. Thus, we have the basis for written language, the invention of which was an apex of creativity.
We all know written language today because our brains have been trained to understand the thinking leaps they involve and the symbols words represent. When combined, these form a structure of more complex thoughts. In a sense, written language is the result of applied creativity, the putting of creative insights into a complex structure that we all understand.
Similarly, to be more creative in our personal, business, and organizational lives, we have to retrain our brains to see in different ways, to escape the thinking structures we build in our heads over time to process the constant flow of information that comes our way. We usually refer to this as “experience”.
To paraphrase Einstein, the thinking that got us into a situation won’t get us out of it. This requires another form of information processing, in which we put together seemingly random bits of information to create new insights and ideas.
So, to retrain the brain, a person has to examine previous ways of thinking, change them where appropriate, and sometimes build new ones.
There are many ways to do this, and they will be highlighted in following posts.