The publishing house "Mann, Ivanov and Ferber" published a book by neuropsychologist Estanislao Bahraha - on how to learn to think outside the box and how the thinking process works. Life around publishes an excerpt on how to learn how to generate ideas
How do ideas come to mind
Creativity feeds on ideas that must come from somewhere. They, in turn, are born in the brain. One of the most interesting works explaining the emergence of ideas is Eric Candel's Cognitive Neuroscience and the Study of Memory. In 2000, he received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for this study. Dr. Kandel and his colleagues propose a new model of the brain, the so-called smart memory. Since the advent of this model, most neuroscientists have rejected Dr. Roger Sperry's theory of two cerebral hemispheres - the right and the left. According to Kandel’s theory, analysis and intuition function simultaneously in all models of thinking. There is no left brain and right brain - only learning and memories in various combinations in a single brain.
I will not bore you with scientific difficulties. The theory says something like this: from the moment of birth, everything, absolutely everything that happens in life, is registered in one or another part of the brain. This is smart memory. Not only experience, but also everything that we learn: what we read, what we see, what we are told. To better understand this theory, imagine: there are many boxes in the brain. Each case of life is stored in one of these smart memory boxes. Consequently, the brain works as an archiver.
Drawers open and close, and memories are randomly connected. And the more relaxed we are, the more often they open and close and the more memories get mixed up. When this happens, at some point in the day or night, we have more ideas than at any other time. For each, this is individual: for someone - in the shower, for others - while jogging, playing sports, driving a car, on the subway or bus, during games or swinging a daughter on a swing in the park. These are moments of clarity of mind.
When the brain is relaxed, more thoughts appear in it. They may be ordinary, familiar or unimportant, but sometimes ideas that we call creative leak into their ranks. The more ideas, the more likely that one of them will be non-standard. In other words, ideas are a random combination of concepts, experiences, examples, thoughts and stories that are arranged in boxes of smart memory. We are not inventing anything new. Novelty is how we combine the known. Suddenly, these combinations of concepts collide, and we “see” the idea. It dawned on us. The higher the level of clarity of mind, the more opportunities for discovery. The less extraneous noise in the head, the calmer we become, enjoying our beloved business, and the more insights appear.
Creativity is not some kind of magic light bulb that can be turned on anywhere, it is closely connected with the environment. Creativity requires a stimulating environment.
What prevents generating ideas
We have already mentioned productive thinking when new thoughts come to our mind, as opposed to reproductive thinking, when what is already known is reproduced. Productive thinking fosters creativity. But how to generate a lot of ideas, how does he carry out a lot of attacks by Messi, hoping that one of them will end in a goal?
When Edison upgraded the light bulb and created the battery, one of the assistants asked how he managed to continue working on these inventions after thousands of failed attempts. Edison replied that he did not understand the question, since for him these attempts were not unsuccessful. He learned ways that do not work. Picasso created about 50 thousand works, including paintings and drawings. Not all works from this huge amount are known. But the artist knew: he had to write a lot in order to create something new. Many ideas should be produced, rather than trying to come up with one good or unusual one. To do this, you need to think freely, without criticizing yourself, without evaluating, without condemning. First you need to relax, free thoughts and start thinking. There is nothing more harmful to creativity than criticism or condemnation. It’s hard for us to avoid this. Education and surroundings teach us critical thinking, and we constantly make judgments. Immediately evaluate our new ideas and thoughts, subject to instinct, as if driving a car, holding one foot on the gas pedal, and the other - the brakes. As a result, producing a large number of ideas, for example during a brainstorming session, we then spend a lot of time (sometimes too much) thinking up the reasons why this idea will not work or cannot be implemented.
In fact, we must try to work out all possible ideas. As soon as you or others start to evaluate the idea, creative thinking is paralyzed. In this case, the little that has appeared will slip into familiar, proven and conservative thinking patterns. Thinking without evaluating is a dynamic and free process. Ideas collide when discussing, creating new combinations and associations, and creative possibilities increase infinitely.
Another obstacle to creativity: when a good idea comes to your mind, it may prevent you from coming up with a better one. Therefore, you need to produce ideas without thinking about whether they are bad or good, whether it is possible to realize them, whether they will solve the problem. Give yourself time to think uncensored. For this, I always advise you to set a goal for yourself in terms of time and the number of ideas. Thus, you direct creative energy in the right direction.
The Seven Commandments for Creating Ideas
Do not evaluate: let your thoughts float freely, be flexible.
Do not comment: any negative comment or criticism will spoil the mood and affect the creative process.
Do not edit: Do not allow the internal editor to influence the process. Editing is the work of the left hemisphere of the brain, and it does not participate in the birth of ideas.
Do not execute: an idea occurs to you, and then another part of the brain is distracted, thinking how to realize it. It is not right!
Do not worry: as we will see later, fear interferes with creativity.
Do not look back: do not tell yourself: "I already tried this two years ago, and nothing came of it."
Do not lose motivation: it is very easy to lose your fervor and interest in what you have been doing for a long time. Avoid this.