November 27, 2010

Your creative brain by Shelly Carson

Your creative brain by Shelly Carson

Seven steps to maximize imagination, productivity, and innovation in your life.

[This book gives many methods/exercise to work on your creativity; type-casting what type of creative brain you have...]

The seven steps are CREATES -Connect, Reason, Envision, Absorb, Transform, Evaluate, Stream]

Connect Brianset :

When you access the connect brainset, you enter a defused state of attention that allows you to see the connection between objects or concepts that are quite disparate in nature. You are able to generate multiple solutions to a given problem rather than focusing on a single solution. This type of cognition is called divergent thinking and a condition known as synaesthesia.

Reason Brianset:

When you access the reason brainset, you consciously manipulate information in your working memory to solve a problem. When you are thinking, you are using this brainset.

Envision Brianset:

In this brainset, you think visually rather than verbally.

Absorb Brainset:

You open mind to new experience and ideas everything fascinates you and attracts your attention

Transform Brainset:

You find yourself in a self-conscious and dissatisfied state of mind. In this state you are painfully vulnerable but you are also motivated to express (in creative form) the pain, the anxieties and the hope that we all share as part of human experience.

Evaluate Brainset:

You consciously judge the values of ideas, concepts, products, behaviors, or individuals. This is the 'critical eye' of mental activity.

Stream Brainset:

Your thoughts and actions begin to flow in a steady harmonious sequence, almost as it they were orchestrated by outside forces.

What is creativity?

First, the creative idea or products needs to be novel or original.

Second, it has to be useful or adaptive to at least a segment of the population.

How brain communicate with itself:

Your brain contains around 10 bn nerve cells called neurons and each of which can form up to 10,000 connections with other neurons making a total of 100 trillion connections - that is the strange capacity of your brain. When you learn something new or form a new memory, new connections are made between neurons. The more you learn,, the richer and denser your 'neural forest' will become. If you revisit those memories or bits of learning, you will increase the speed and strength of these connections. It is like building highways between cities.

A memory is not stored in one specific location in the brain. Parts of the memory are stored in different locations.

Geography of Brian:

The right and left hemispheres:

The left hemisphere is for - letters, words, language, verbal memory, speech, reading, writing, arithmetic, objective processing, systematic problem solving, abstract thinking, sequential processing analysis, logical problem solving & approach emotions.

The right hemisphere is for - geometric pattern, face recognition, environmental sounds, melodies, musical chords, nonverbal memory, sense of direction, mental rotation of shapes, avoidance emotions, concrete thinking, parallel processing, & holistic picture versus details.

Frontal lobs - motor movement, planning, decision making, working memory, self-awareness, attention, reasoning, and problem solving.

Parietal lobs is for - sensory perception, sensory integration, spatial skills, body awareness in space

Temporal Lobe is for - language comprehension, face recognitions, memory function and emotion function

Occipital lobe - vision processing.

Creative 'Hot Spots in the brain:

Executive center (scientific name DLPFC) is for - planning, reasoning, decision-making, visualizing future.

The "me' brain is for - self-awareness, social understanding, social comparison, determining how events affect you personally, autobiographical memory

The judgment center - conforming to social demands, inhibition (embarrassment) of inappropriate behavior, judgment of positive or negative impact of an event

The reward center - internal rewards that make you feel self-confident and good about you

The fear center - appraisal of fear-related events and other highly emotional stimuli.

The association center - integration of sensory information & connecting meaning with words

Opening mind- Accessing the absorb brainset.

The first and arguably most important strategy for thinking and acting creatively is to develop your ability to absorb information nonjudgmentally. A second result of accessing the absorb brainset is that you are more receptive to seeing association between things in the environment and problem that you are trying solve. This is called 'opportunistic association'. The third result of the absorb brainset is that you remain receptive to ideas originating in your unconscious (eureka moments)

This is associated with such as words as autohypnosis, trance, alpha state, absorption, mindfulness, primary process thinking, openness to experience, disassociation and translimilariity. Three princiapl factors define the absorb brainset: attraction to novelty, delayed judgment, and mental or cognitive dis-inhibition.

The state of cognitive disinhibition and receptivity that we are calling the absorb brainset is so important to the creative process that people from all creative walks of life seek it out through a number of methods. (The easy way to have this is through the influence of alcohol, drugs). Roman poet Horace wrote:"no poem can please for long or live that are written by water drinkers"

Imaging the possibilities: accessing the envision brainset:

Imagination is more important than knowledge - Einstein.

Mental imaginary or thinking without words is a type of cognition that employs the perceptual of the brain ordinarily used for processing the sensory information of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. Highly creative people appear to be able to form vivid mental images and manipulate those images both to envision creative dilemma and to come up with creative solution to problems.

One way to improve or increase your creative capacity is to improve your ability to mentally image and research indicates that this is definitely possible. We can divide visual imagery into two basic types. The first type is pictorial in which you visualize a replica of an object or scene as it appears in real life of pictorial image. The second type of visual image is 'diagrammatic' in which the image is seen as a symbol or diagram of a real object or scene. This type of imaging involves an extra step of mental processing. In addition to imaging an object, you have to transform that object to a symbolic representation between objects. The other way to practice manipulating images through guided sequential visualization. Hypothetical thinking is the foundation of your imagination. When you do this, you are mentally imaging something that is not manifest in the world of reality.

Thinking Divergently: Accessing the connect Brianset.

Brianstom is a way of divergent thinking. The process should be divergent thinking and gather many solution/idea a- using the contents of memory to generate multiple solutions to a problem in an open-ended manner. Convergent thinking - directing all of one's knowledge toward a problem that has a singular and specific solution.

Synaesthesia is an unusual condition in which different sensory and verbal systems in the brain seem to be cross-wired. They may hear hear colors.

Goals are essential to creative work. Following are some of the things that goal settings can do to help you achieve your creative objectives.

Motivate action

Help you manage time

Increase chances for success

Increase self-confidence

Increase sense of control over your life.

The trick is to have written and specific goals and you achieve this in the reason brainset.

Steps in the problem solving process:

Recognize when you have a problem

Define the problem

Set a goal

Brianstorm possible solutions

Evaluate possible solutions

Choose the best solution based on pros & cons

Make a plan to implement the solution and try it

Assess success

If the first solution did not work, try another.

Some guidelines for evaluating your work

Get some distance

Evaluate your work with respect

Don't decide to throw out a work midway through the project

Look at individual parts of your work

Look at the work from the point of view of the audience

Be flexible

Decide whether to consult others

Be hard on your work.

Rules for handling negative evaluation from others.

Congratulate yourself - you did something new and hence others criticizing

Consider criticism to be valuable feedback

Do not defend yourself if criticized

Rephrase the main points of the criticism

Thanks the person criticizing your work for their feedback

Determine the value of the criticism objectively.

The conditions of state of flow as described by Mihale Csikszentmihalyi in his book - Flow and the Psychology of discovery and invention.

1. There are clear goals

2. There is immediate feedback to your actions

3. The level of challenge matches your skill level.

When these conditions of flow are met, the ensuing mental state includes the following characteristics.

There is a merging of action and awareness

Distractions go unnoticed

There is no worry of failure

Self-consciousness disappears

Time become distorted

The activity becomes an end in itself.

How can you increase your intrinsic motivation in the activities that fill your daily life?

1. Set time limits on the task or establishes deadlines

2. Increase your appreciation for the task

3. Increase your standard for task performance.

If the tasks are too challenging, bring down the challenge so you won't feel anxious or overwhelmed by it.

1. Break the task down into smaller manageable parts

2. Reinforce your skills

Setting the Mood: tips for establishing a creative environment.

1. Increase your exposure to creative work - Go to concerts, museums, opera and lectures

2. Create an environment hat values and expects creative behavior - Insist that everyone in your environment respects and encourages creative behavior even when the results do not pan out.

3. Avoid premature evaluation of ideas

4. Provide time and opportunity for solitude - Creative ideas often occur during moments of solitude and contemplation.

5. Spend time in places of natural beauty - Spend time in mountains, at the seashore, gazing at the stars, walking in the forest r watching colorful sunset.

6. Spend time with other creative individuals

How do you find a creative problem?

1. Keep a list of things that bother you (pet-peeves?)

2. When something goes wrong, brainstorm possible causes

3. Think about what slows you down

4. Pay attention to your negative emotions

5. Scan your env. Regularly for things that could be changed and improved.

Following are the hints on how to enter the absorb brainset and prepare for insight while you are allowing ideas to incubate.

1. Make a creativity playlist of music that inspires you and allows your mind to wander

2. Find a place of natural beauty

3. Take a walk

4. Spend time in natural light

5. Carry a notepad or digital recorder.

Here are the tips on getting your work out

1. Increase your visibility in your community

2. Create talking points

3. Brand yourself (Special logo that's associated with your work)

4. Develop a web presence.

Books recommended:

Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

The art of thought by Graham Wallas

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