3 Myths about Creativity and the Brain

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Let’s face it. We’re more creative than we think we are. The problem is that we’ve bought into some powerful myths that sabotage our confidence in those abilities. Wendy Suzuki, a neuroscientist and researcher at New York University, and the author of Healthy Brain, Happy Life, debunks three of the myths that most often hold us back:

Myth #1: Creativity Lives on the Right Side of the Brain

It’s time we shelved this time-worn tale of the analytical left brain and the creative and intuitive right brain. It’s a story that’s just not true. In fact, recent studies reveal that the most creative people take full advantage of both sides of their brains.

Myth #2: Creativity is a Gift not a Skill

There are no limits on our creativity. Nope. Creativity is a skill we can cultivate over time. Common ways to do that include: shaking up our routines, tackling problems from a different perspective, and deliberately placing constraints on the time or resources available to us.

Myth #3: Creativity is All about Originality

There’s very little that’s never been thought of before. When it comes to creativity, it’s actually more likely that the biggest creative breakthroughs will be variations on someone else’s theme. For example, Suzuki points out that Steve Jobs didn’t invent the elements of a personal computer. Instead, he perfected the technological tools that xerox had already developed, and then he packaged them for the home market.

Suzuki’s book includes lots more brain hacks to foster creativity, including hacks to promote invention and to strengthen divergent thinking skills. I encourage you to check them out.

And if you want to hear Wendy talk about creativity and the brain, listen to her interview on Curious Minds. If you enjoy it, please rate and review the show.

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