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Is your brain killing creativity? Learn how to rewire your brain for innovation.

creative thinking creative thinking exercise how to be creative innovation tips May 26, 2020
How to rewire your brain for innovation. Learn from Dr. Karen Tilstra as she teaching you how to train your brain to think creativity and boost your ability to innovate.

Humans are lazy.

“What? Wait a minute, I’m not lazy."

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s true. We are lazy. Don’t believe me, just ask Nobel Laureate, Daniel Kahneman, “Laziness is built deep into our nature."

Four Things The Brain Craves

At first glance, this may seem depressing. But it’s actually quite amazing. In an effort to keep us alive and well, our brains are designed to make us lazy. You see, the brain: 1) Hates a void, 2) Avoids redundancy or anything that makes it do unnecessary work, 3) Needs to be always working towards a goal, and is 4) Addicted to the familiar. Let's take a closer look:

  • Void: Basically, as soon as the brain sees a void, it fills it. Think about it. Your kid is out past curfew, you begin to fear the worst. Or your boss ignores you one morning, you’re sure you're getting fired. On and on it goes. Your brain fills the void.

  • Redundancy:  Your brain also hates REDUNDANCY and craves efficiency. It may be finding the shortest way to the grocery store or the quickest way to load the dishwasher - left-hand loads while the right-hand rinses. Whatever the case, your brain finds the simplest way to get from point A to point B. 

  • Goal attainment: To make things worse, the brain is always on the lookout for a goal. Any goal. Goal attainment makes the brain happy. Why? Because the brain gets a big fat dose of dopamine whenever a goal is met. Reach a goal, dopamine dumps, and the happy chemical saturates the brain. Just as any list-maker.

  • Addicted to the familiar: We are also addicted to the familiar. We don't like new things; they're scary.  So we tend to stick to the known path. After all, it worked before, didn't it? Well, let's ask Kodak, Blockbuster, oh yeah… Sears.

So what’s the big deal with our brain being lazy? It seems like these four things are what’s keeping us alive and kicking. Well, even though these habits are great for survival, they are also the perfect recipe for killing creativity.



Killing Creativity

Creativity is a beautiful mixture of chaos and order. Most people don't have a problem with order; it's chaos they can't stand. It's at the point of facing chaos, aka- unfamiliar, unpredictable, fast-paced, and seemingly threatening when our brains default to a 'fight or flight' mode. That’s when left unchecked, our brains kill creative thinking, and we go back to the known.

When we start to understand our brains, we begin to see that it isn't that we aren't creative; it’s that we simply lack the tools to override the brain’s natural default system. The GOOD NEWS is that it’s possible to take control and train our brain to become comfortable with creative thinking. It takes learning some new mindsets and skills.



How to Retrain Your Brain

Wanna start retraining your brain? All you need to do is adopt a Yes, And mindset. This means that next time you hear a new idea, instead of shutting it down because it’s not what your brain knows and understands, try to apply these Yes, And principles:

  • Say "Yes" and suspend negative judgment

  • Say "And" to keep the conversation moving forward. You don't have to agree with the idea or thought. Saying "and" simply allows you to build on the ideas of others and keeps you in the conversation.

Try this combination of words and see where it leads. You just might be surprised! 

There it is two simple tasks that inspire creativity! Commit to a "Yes, And" the next time your brain is about to kill creativity. Try it and hold onto your hat, your brain is in for a big surprise!


Keep inspiring creativity!

- Karen



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