Deep Dive Into Creativity
Forget Everything You Know
Between Your Ears
Often, when people speak of creativity and the brain, they talk about right brain vs. left brain – the right half being the more creative of the two; the left being more inclined towards evaluation and analysis. The thing is, there’s a huge neural superhighway called the corpus callosum that connects the two halves, so although individuals often lean right or left, both sides are helping each other out all the time.
Now here’s something cool you can immediately apply to your creative problem-solving. Divide your creative work into two broad phases. Let’s call them Discovery and Evaluation. And, yes, they do mirror the whole right brain / left brain bit. To learn more about the role of the Discovery phase in the creative process, listen to today’s audiocast.
Pieces of Mind
Here’s a remarkable research finding. Different parts of the brain become more activated based on whether you’re working in Discovery or Evaluation mode (see above). For Discovery, it’s the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). For Evaluation, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC). Now get this. Fascinating new research also tells us that different types of meditation also light up these areas. So, to amp up your mPFC for a Discovery session, start out with a 5-minute observational-style meditation – one that focuses you on being more aware of your physical body and immediate surroundings. Alternately, to step into Evaluation mode, try a meditation form where focusing on the breath or a simple mantra helps light up your dlPFC. Kind of amazing. For lots more info on some of the many forms and benefits of meditation, take the JOOL Deep Dive Into Presence course.
Creativity In JOOL
Setting and hitting creativity targets in JOOL. On the Navigator, click into Are You On Target. Take a look at the average of your past 5 charts (the dotted circle) in relation to where your creativity target is currently set (the yellow disk). Is it above or below the target? If you’re exceeding your creativity target most of the time, move your target up above your average to make it a stretch goal. If you’re falling short most of the time, consider dropping it down a bit to make it a more realistic goal.
CHALLENGE #2: Be sure to listen to the Session 2 audiocast.
Visual puzzles can be fun and they’re an excellent way to give your creative muscles a workout. Here’s a very well-known puzzle along with its solution. You might have even seen it before: Connect all 9 dots using only 4 straight lines drawn without lifting pen from paper.
Visual puzzles can be fun and they’re an excellent way to give your creative muscles a workout. Here’s a very well-known puzzle along with its solution. You might have even seen it before: Connect all 12 dots using only 5 straight lines drawn without lifting pen from paper.
But wait, BEFORE you start working on the solution, take 5 minutes for a centering meditation. Sit comfortably upright in a chair, hands on thighs. Close your eyes and focus calmly on your breath: breathe in (4 - 5 seconds); breathe out (4 -5 seconds); repeat for 5 minutes; enjoy.
Ok, now jump on that problem. We think that brief meditation session will help prime your dlPFC for it ;)).
pencil and paper
Life On Purpose, Victor J. Strecher
Zig Zag, Keith Sawyer
Thinkertoys, Michael Michalko
Cracking Creativity, Michael Michalko
Ideaspotting, Sam Harrison
The Art of Looking Sideways, Alan Fletcher
Gamestorming, Dave Gray et al (gamestorming.com)
The Accidental Creative, Todd Henry
Cards and Apps
ThinkPak, Michael Michalko (card deck)
Creative Whack Pack, Roger von Oech (app, card deck)
BeFocused ((iOS app)
Forest (iOS/Android app)