In this article, you will learn what exercises you need to do to develop creative muscle, as well as get general recommendations on what to do in order for the inner creator to grow and develop.
“I’m not a creative person, I’m not given it, ” say many of us, admiringly glancing at the cartoons of street artists or listening to a patty hippie singing a Radiohead song in the transition. But there is good news: the latest scientific research suggests that all people are the same and a creator lives in each of us. Therefore, the phrase "I am not a creative person" is just a convenient excuse for your laziness.
The myth of a creative streak has long been cultivated and carefully guarded in bohemia. Artists, musicians, actors, designers and even average copywriters love to look as if they belong to a different breed, and during their work they are moved at least by the hand of God. The standard of a creative personality is a cross between Lady Gaga and Aguzarova, who yesterday was going to fly to the moon, today she smashes the charts with a new song, and tomorrow she gives an interview about the benefits of meditation in a funny kokoshnik. And to start creating, we need to go through nine circles of hell, sleep at least three times, undergo drug rehabilitation and go to meditate in the Tibetan mountains.
Scientific research rejects any distinction between the creative and the corporate working class.
What can I say, if in the modern corporate environment there is an artificial division into "creative" and "corporate" types who relate to each other like students of Gryffindor and Slytherin. However, almost all studies of creativity that have been carried out over the past 50 years reject this division: the creative muscle has nothing to do with genetics, or with the level of intelligence, or with personality traits.
For example, during an experiment at the Institute of Diagnostics and Personality Research (IPAR), scientists invited several dozen successful representatives of various creative professions to the conference. Over the course of several days, they passed many tests, which did not really clarify where to look for creative inclinations. The only common features of the subjects looked like this: balance of personal characteristics, intelligence above average, openness to new experience and a tendency to choose complex options. As you can see, nothing special.
There is no creative personality type
Then the stubborn guys in white coats began to look for creative inclinations in the personal qualities of a person: a huge array of information was collected about the outstanding creators of the 20th century, after which each passed the virtual test "five-factor personality model". Scientists hoped that creative people would be skewed in one of five personal characteristics (openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, benevolence and neuroticism), but again with a finger to the sky - among the subjects there were neurotics, and extroverts, and benevolent drunkards, and many more Who. Conclusion: there is no creative personality type.
Having abandoned psychology, they began to look for the creative muscle in the human brain. Researchers did not give a damn about Einstein's request for cremation and immediately after the death of the genius climbed to study his cranium. And again disappointment: the brain of the famous physicist was no different from the brain of a professional baseball player or a homeless man who was hit by a car. The third round of slingshot shooting at the planes is over, scientists are "burning" with a score of 3: 0.
No correlation between gene code and creativity
When psychologists, physiologists, and just everyone who was not indifferent remained at a broken trough, genetics, who had previously unsuccessfully tried to find the gene for old age and the gene for excess weight, began to solve the problem. To rule out the difference in genes and the influence of parenting, scientists studied only families with twin children. Investigating the Connecticut Twins Registry since 1897, Marvin Reznikoff's group assembled a team of 117 twins and divided them into two groups (identical and double-faced). The results of two dozen tests showed that there was no correlation between the gene code and creativity. 4: 0, and this is almost Argentina and Jamaica.
Over the past 50 years of such experiments, there has been a wagon and a small cart. In his book The Muse Will Not Come, David Brooks cites a dozen more references to unsuccessful attempts to find the nature of the creative muscle and concludes that creative thinking, like any other skill, can be pumped through training.
Creative thinking training
1. Morning Pages
As old as the world, but an effective method. As soon as we wake up, grab a notebook with a pen and start writing. It doesn't matter if it's a story about Godzilla walking in Tokyo, an essay about a warm blanket, or a sleepy analysis of Mongolia's geopolitics. The main thing is to just write and not think about anything. The norm for a morning letter is three notebook pages or 750 words. You can use the 750 words resource and drum on the keys, but experienced scribblers advise you to do it the old fashioned way - with a pen on paper.
2. What if ...
This is not even a method, but a simple question that Stanislavsky forced any novice actor to ask. “What if” can be applied to any familiar object, part or action. For example, what if the story in the book was told in pictures? So the comic was born. Or what if, instead of world news, we talk about what ordinary people care about? This is how the yellow press appeared.
This method perfectly develops imagination and is in fact a trigger for any creative process. And it's a lot of fun to ask weird questions. What if all people drank blood? But what if the president of the country was a funny man with the manners of a dictator from a banana republic?
3. Splitting word
In the brain of an adult, there is a rigid system of symbols, which at the first opportunity likes to give assessments and glue labels on everything around. As a result of this automation, the brain saves resources, but this is also the main reason for narrow and formulaic thinking. Coming up with new words, we force the brain to turn off rational thinking and turn on fantasy. The technique comes from childhood and is extremely simple: we take any two words, combine them into one and then try to imagine what it would look like in life. Bath + Toilet = Bathtub, Kim + Kanye = Kimye.
4. Torrance method
The method is based on doodles - scribbles of the same type that need to be turned into a drawing. On a sheet of paper, draw the same symbols in a row (circle, two circles, a nail, a cross, a square, etc.). Then we turn on imagination and start drawing.
Example. A circle can be Captain America's shield, a cat's eye, or a 5-kopeck coin, and a square can be a haunted house or work of art. It develops not only imagination, but also perseverance in the search for ideas, since each new doodle is a competition with oneself.
5. Method of focal objects
The method consists in finding connections between the main idea and random objects. For example, we open a book on an arbitrary page, grab 3-5 words that first caught our eye, and try to connect them with the subject we are thinking about. The book can be replaced with a TV, video game, newspaper, or something else. Works great when the thought process is moving by inertia.
6. Gordon's Analogies
This is not the easiest to learn, but a very powerful method. William Gordon believed that a treasure trove of creative ideas lies in the search for analogies, which he divided into four groups.
Direct analogy: we are looking for an analogy to an object in the surrounding world. On a scale from your room to the country.
Symbolic: we are looking for an analogy that will describe the essence of the object in a nutshell.
Fantastic analogy: we come up with an analogy, leaving out of the brackets the limitations of objective reality.
Personal analogy: we are trying to stand in the place of the object and look at the situation through the eyes of the object. For example, how does the chair we sit on?
7. Indirect Strategies
This is a very strange and interesting way that Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt came up with to get a tired brain out of a creative stupor along secret paths. The essence of the method: we have 115 cards on which advice is written. And the advice is rather strange: "Remove the ambiguity and turn them into details", "Massage your neck" or "Use an old idea." The trick is that there are no direct instructions for action, and in each advice two people can see two different solutions to the problem. You can make the cards yourself and pour them, for example, into a vase or use online tips.
General recommendations for the inner creator to grow and develop
Maintain a daily routine.
In his latest work, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, Haruki Murakami debunks the myth of the creative bummer by talking about a strict daily routine (wake up at 5 am, lights out at 10 p.m.) became the main catalyst for his performance. The mind is inclined to be capricious and find excuses for its own laziness, and following the regime takes it out of its comfort zone and teaches it to turn on with half a turn.
Do not neglect other creative pursuits.
Draw, write, learn to play the guitar or dance. Any creative activity keeps the brain in good shape, and their alternation switches attention and allows you to find answers in rather unexpected places.
According to research, more than a third of the Nobel Prize winners in literature were involved in another art form - painting, theater or dance. Einstein called music his second passion, and if he had not become a physicist, most likely he would have gone to the violinist.
Don't give up.
When things don't get off the ground, show perseverance. For example, the writer Rodie Doyle says that during a stupor, he begins to pour out nonsense that has come to mind on paper. After a while, the brain stops pushing and protesting and simply turns off, releasing streams of thoughts outside. And Hemingway, when he sat down to write a novel, could write dozens of versions of the first sentence until he found the one he believed. Then he developed the action.
Don't get hung up.
If persistence does not help, we go from the opposite direction. Take a walk, do something distracted, communicate with other people. There is a theory according to which everything has long been invented, and the creative process consists only in a combination of these ideas. And if the answers are hidden within us, you just need to tune in to the right wave and hear them. You can sit in the sun in the lotus position, do the dishes with concentration, walk in the woods listening to ambient music, or go jumping to a rock concert. The main thing is to do what allows us to turn off the internal dialogue and concentrate on the moment.
Treat creativity like a game.
Creativity is, first of all, fun. Don't take it too seriously. Let me explain why. In 2001, an experiment was held at Maryland College in which students had to lead the mouse through a maze drawn as in childhood. The students of the first group walked forward to a piece of cheese (positive attitude), while the latter ran away from the owl (negative). Both groups coped with it in the same time, but the students of the second group started avoiding mechanisms, and the second group solved the tasks that followed the maze on average 50% longer than the students of the first group.
Just get started.
Many of us dreamed of becoming musicians, artists or actors in childhood, but over time, a pragmatic approach to life pushed these dreams further into the mezzanine. Betsy Edwards has a theory that in most modern people, with age, the left half of the brain becomes dominant. She is responsible for analytical thinking, the system of symbols and the mode of action, and every time we try to learn how to play the guitar or draw, we hear her voice, which advises to put this bullshit away and do something useful.
At first, it will be difficult to overstep the inner critic, but if you have enough courage and desire, then over time his voice will become quieter, and criticism in the style of "you paint like f * ck" will be replaced by something more constructive. Getting started is the hardest part.
As you can see, every person can think creatively, the only question is training. This can be compared to a lack of flexibility: right away trying to sit on a split, we will groan, moan and cry, but if the muscles are properly warmed up and stretched, then in a couple of years it will be possible to send a resume for the position of a circus gymnast. The main thing is to remember that it is never too late to start something new: artists, musicians, poets and writers already live in us. Feel free to wake them up.