Photo: Composita. Source: Pixabay
Creativity is a funny thing. Creative people are at the heart of technological progress, whether it’s science, engineering, or art. Ancient cultures saw inspiration as a gift from the gods, a literal bolt out of the blue. That’s why great works of literature often start off with a prayer to the gods. But creativity is a disciplined process as well, where people have to exercise their craft and the focus on the nuts and bolts of writing, drawing, coding, or designing. Which is it?
Increasingly, scientists who study the creative process believe that it’s both. Often, when we work hard on a problem we get nothing but frustrated. But if we go for a walk in the woods we just see tree roots and hear birds’ songs. The key comes in the times of transition, between work and play. That’s when people frequently get their “aha” moments. It helps to be in a good mood, to be engaged in a routine task like bathing or doing the dishes, and to have our minds primed with fresh content. Then, especially if we’re a little tired, the pieces come together.
Photo: Alexandra. Source: Pixabay
Setting up the proper conditions for original ideas is like arranging lightning rods for our brains. We’re far more likely to receive inspiration when the conditions are right. But to get that jolt of mental energy, the weather still needs to cooperate.
Douglas R. Tengdin, CFA