Looking beyond the obvious has it’s rewards according to new research on how imagining an event in the future enhances our creativity:
This research has important practical implications. It suggests that there are several simple steps we can all take to increase creativity, such as traveling to faraway places (or even just thinking about such places), thinking about the distant future, communicating with people who are dissimilar to us, and considering unlikely alternatives to reality. Perhaps the modern environment, with its increased access to people, sights, music, and food from faraway places, helps us become more creative not only by exposing us to a variety of styles and ideas, but also by allowing us to think more abstractly. So the next time you’re stuck on a problem that seems impossible don’t give up. Instead, try to gain a little psychological distance, and pretend the problem came from somewhere very far away.
Here’s a TED video of information designer Tom Wujec talking about three areas of the brain that help us understand words, images, feelings, connections and the importance of knowing how our brain makes sense of the different types of information we engage with in our daily lives.
“I don’t have time to think about this right now, I need to get things done.”
How often do you hear this everyday?
I was recently reminded of the importance of having “thinking time”, reflecting on what you’re doing instead jumping straight to execution.
Having time to think about a problem your trying to solve often takes the back seat to execution, but often the key to finding a novel solution to that problem is to stop thinking about it and “daydream”.
When I was a young boy my parents sent me to the Silva Mind Control Method course (best investment ever!), and one of the things I was taught was the importance of letting your mind rest. According to our instructor back then, our brain makes the most connections when we’re sleeping and therein lies new solutions to problems.
There is a technique that we were taught for getting our brains into Alpha, a state similar to sleep called the 3 to 1 technique.
Why are people afraid of failure? Failure’s not just part of life, it’s essential to life — and to success. Henry Ford put it most eloquently: “Failure is the opportunity to begin again, more intelligently”. You can’t learn if you don’t fail.
The fact is all people will fail more than a few times in our lives.
We tend to learn more from our mistakes than our successes. At our best, we turn them to our advantage. Thomas Edison once said, "I make more mistakes than anyone I know. And eventually I patent them."
If you believe that your talents are inborn or fixed, then you will try to avoid failure at all costs because failure is proof of your limitation. People with a fixed mindset like to solve the same problems over and over again. It reinforces their sense of competence.
Children with fixed mindsets would rather redo an easy jigsaw puzzle than try a harder one. Students with fixed mindsets would rather not learn new languages. CEOs with fixed mindsets will surround themselves with people who agree with them. They feel smart when they get it right.
But if you believe your talent grows with persistence and effort, then you seek failure as an opportunity to improve. People with a growth mindset feel smart when they’re learning, not when they’re flawless.
Michael Jordan, arguably the world’s best basketball player, has a growth mindset. Most successful people do. In high school he was cut from the basketball team but that obviously didn’t discourage him: "I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career, I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game wining shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."
If you have a growth mindset, then you use your failures to improve. If you have a fixed mindset, you may never fail, but neither do you learn or grow.
If you don’t risk failure, you’re not trying hard enough.