Finding the Spark: Five Myths About Creativity

(Editor’s note: This article from Sara Bellum is from the Summer 2016 issue of Brain World magazine.)

Our brains have the power to find a path where none is visible, and to make new paths where none have been set. But we tend to be confined to the personality we have experienced, to the self we know, and find it difficult to move beyond it. This limits our own creativity. It is when we go beyond what we know and what we have experienced — when we challenge our brain with new questions and give it new tasks — that the brain will begin to manifest its creativity. As we know, the human brain is designed to transform endlessly. It adapts, rewires, and replaces itself based on its own feedback and information. New brain cells and neural circuits are created through unusual stimulation and responses to that stimulation.

There are many preconceptions we have about creativity — a phenomenon that seems to be around at least as long as there have been people, and which neuroscience is just beginning to understand. And yet, creativity ultimately comes from being free from the thought that you ought to learn or ought to do something specific. Having no expectations — that is the beginning of the creative process.

So, try to move beyond your past failures, beyond what you like and what you don’t like, and tweak your mindset just enough to start anew. You will gain confidence and create new possibilities. That’s just how the brain works. Let’s take a look at five confining myths that hamper our creative power, and work on breaking them, shall we?

SOME PEOPLE ARE CREATIVE AND SOME ARE NOT:

Human beings are creative by nature. Think about it. Whether you like it or not, whether you know it or not, you are constantly expressing yourself and creating your world. The sheer force of our choices in life brings about creativity. It might be that you don’t like your creation, and because we often associate creativity with beauty, we shy away from our creation, become judgmental about it and discard it. We might be dissatisfied with the way we said something, or with the way we performed, or with what we produced at a given point. But we can acknowledge our current creation and dig deeper in our brains to take it to another level and find new and greater joy and fulfillment in it. The first step is to stop looking at others’ creation, and acknowledge that you are a creative being.

CREATIVITY IS A SKILL:

Creativity is not a skill. It is potential. It is already inside our brain. Figuring out how to unleash it is what we have to work on. Creation and creativity do not need to be learned, nor do they need to be expressed in something as huge or impactful as a novel or mural. All the organs and cells in our bodies are connected to our brains. That’s why when we truly set a goal or art project we want to create, we unleash our creativity to get there. The brain starts to pull all the information necessary to make it manifest. All creativity starts with an inner thought or image, and ends when we spend all our energy bringing it to life. Try it out! Take an image in your head, focus on bringing it to life, and spend all your energy on it. You might need people, tools, and atmospheres. Seek out all the resources you need. You’ll see it come to fruition.

CREATIVITY CAN’T BE DEVELOPED:

Our creativity is infinite and therefore it can be developed. It is not a fixed trait we are born with a certain amount of. By peeling off layers of expectations and preconceptions, we can tap into our increasingly genuine creative power. Research has shown how both deliberate problemsolving and spontaneous insight lead to creativity. So whether you are someone who likes to work hard to figure out something, or someone who just follows his or her instincts, simply trust yourself — you’ll find yourself moving closer to your creative genius.

CREATIVITY COMES WITH MADNESS:

We can be creative and centered and emotionally balanced at the same time. That’s perhaps the purest form of creativity. Creativity happens on a blank canvas — it is a process reaching beyond our thoughts and emotions. In fact, we might need to quiet these areas or move past them in order to find our true inspiration, as some experiments are starting to show. By looking at images of the brain and measuring brain waves of individuals in moments of insight, scientists have found that sparks of creativity may be the result of a constellation of neurons that bind together for the first time in the brain to create new pathways. Some studies have hinted that other parts of the brain quiet down in order to allow for that spark to take place.

CREATIVITY IS CONFINED TO THE ARTS:

Creativity is not merely about making a nice piece of art. It goes beyond that. It can be manifested in many different ways. Art and abstract form is one way of expression, and can help elevate the senses and expand our spiritual world. But creating the lives we want and actualizing our imagination — bringing to life the pictures in our heads we have of ourselves — that is also a form of creativity all of us are submerged in. Creativity can be as simple as coming up with new solutions to difficult problems. Manifesting your inner self also happens in very practical, physical ways, and in the heartfelt, human relationships of your everyday life.

(Editor’s note: This article from Sara Bellum is from the Summer 2016 issue of Brain World magazine.)

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