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How do you jump-start creativity and get good ideas flowing?

How do you jump-start creativity and get good ideas flowing?

By Darko Savic on Sep 02, 2020

Creative contributions

Hungry, curious, creative.

[1] https://www.the-scientist.com/notebook/curiosity-and-hunger-are-driven-by-the-same-brain-regions-67992

[2] https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/our-innovating-minds/201707/creativity-whats-curiosity-got-do-it

[3] https://digest.bps.org.uk/2018/12/03/explaining-the-power-of-curiosity-to-your-brain-hunger-for-knowledge-is-much-the-same-as-hunger-for-food/

by Juran K. on Oct 07, 2020

Shubhankar Kulkarni 2 months ago
I read the references you cited. That was an interesting study. I think the thought of a gamble might have some additional consequences on the decision made by the participants. Gambling (including winning and losing) elicits a hormonal spur that may interfere with hunger and curiosity. From an evolutionary perspective, hunger is always associated with risk. Any forager risks being attacked by a carnivore when feeding. Similarly, any carnivore risks being injured in the chase and also during competition over food. Gambling is a risk-taking activity and can itself be a variable in the study. Secondly, to choose food between food and the solution to a magic trick, you need to be way more hungry than just 2 hours (as mentioned in the study). Gambling is a strong signal, both emotionally and physiologically. It may certainly overpower mild hunger. Moreover, the participants are certain that they can eat once the experiment is over and they leave the lab. This certainty can make gambling a preferred choice by the participants. As mentioned in the paper itself, gambling was preferred even when there was a physical risk associated with it, again suggesting that the gambling physiology can be overpowering. I also think that curiosity and creativity associated with extreme hunger will be different from those associated with a well-fed body (brain). For example, a hungry monkey will find novel ways (suggesting creativity) to acquire food rather than finding ways (again, creativity) to acquire mate (yes, monkeys do resort to deception and other tactics to benefit). Acquiring food in strange situations requires a strong spatial cognition (where should I go to search for food?), a highly motivated target-oriented innovation (the fruit is dangling on a thin stem, how do I get it without making it hit the ground), and other senses (smell and sight). What I am saying is the kind of creativity observed when one is highly motivated towards a target is different from the one, which is not. Hunger will lead to creativity that satisfies hunger and so on. Also, acute and chronic hunger may lead to different behavioral responses. A person who is prone to perpetual hunger may (although I am not sure) be more creative in a hungry state since that is when their creative juices start flowing as opposed to being satiated. On the other hand, a person who is not accustomed to hunger might experience creativity (not goal-oriented) only in a fed state.
Juran K. 2 months ago
First, I really appreciate the time you took for reading and commenting on this article. I understand your doubts. That's why I said this paper is on a trace to prove my theory. I also agree with the part where you separate general creativity/curiosity from the specific one, as scientists in the article did. Both types of curiosity do not result in equal stimulation of creativity. Also, being hungry for two hours is just not adequate :D. But, on the other hand, although I find your comments from the evolutionary perspective very intriguing, I don't agree with the hunger being tightly connected with survival and risk nowadays. Millenia passed since we needed to fight for our food and risk being injured during feeding. If our behavior and thus, neurological background, can easily adapt to new, once-risky-now-ok situations (e.g. bitter taste often meaning "healthy", instead of "poisonous" now, "salty" meaning cardiac diseases, prisoners sleeping tightly in a prison, people in 3rd world countries having no food or health security, ...), I think we definitely adopted to food being just an energy source and not a risk. To be honest, I will always have lots of doubts about the behavioral studies, connections they draw, and conclusions they so confidently bring to light.
Darko Savic 2 months ago
From my experience, intermittent fasting (delayed breakfast by 3 hours) distracted me from being able to focus on my goals. I tried it for a few weeks but eventually, quit for the sake of productivity - which in my case is tightly connected to creativity. Likewise, I noticed that if I complete my training in the morning, I'm less productive for the rest of the day. So I first load myself up on food/water, then work till mental exhaustion, then work-out till physical exhaustion.

Optimal conditions for ideation

by Darko Savic on Sep 02, 2020

Alternating between intense focus and easy, routine tasks (incubation period)

by Darko Savic on Sep 02, 2020

Darko Savic 3 months ago
While waiting for inspiration you should keep filling your brain with great, relevant information. Take breaks when you feel you've had enough. When you are feeling rested get back to focusing on the task again. Keep doing it for days, weeks, months if necessary. Learn - think - write - rest, repeat.

Walk It Out

by Juran K. on Sep 02, 2020

Povilas S 3 months ago
I'd say start directly from step 3:D You need to distract yourself enough from the same environment and monotony, so walking in circles doesn't help much. For me this is the case. But that's of course subjective and depends on the person and heaviness of psychological state as you say. Taking a walk is a good remedy for all kinds of psychological downs in general.
Darko Savic 3 months ago
I used to do this during difficult periods. I regularly went hill-climbing over unbeaten paths. The harsher the terrain, the more negative feelings it absorbed. That distracted me enough for some productive thoughts to get through.

Sensory deprivation

by Shubhankar Kulkarni on Sep 04, 2020

Subash Chapagain 3 months ago
I might sound a bit radical, but I find occasional use of psychoactive drugs (mostly marijuana) very helpful in generating new ideas and associating novel concepts with the existing ones. I am not a regular user of these drugs, but I have occasionally gotten high and found that my mind can become much creative if I do so rightly. For example, when I go for trekking high in the hills, I use marijuana to relax from the body ache, and I find that I feel more connected to nature and the natural environment under the influence. I have created a lot of ideas (I always carry a physical notebook when I travel/trek) for my short-stories (yes, I write short-form fiction now and then), and even while taking photographs, I get new concepts of framing and angles when I am high. This might not work for everyone, but it is one of many ways I find oddly useful to get my creative juices flowing.

Browsing through lists of ideas

by Darko Savic on Sep 08, 2020

Get some distance

by Kamal Aakarsh Vishnubhotla on Sep 10, 2020

Darko Savic 3 months ago
Steven Hawking would agree:) His quote: "It is no good getting furious if you get stuck. What I do is keep thinking about the problem but work on something else"

Build up a hunger for creativity by doing NOTHING

by Darko Savic on Sep 11, 2020


by Shubhankar Kulkarni on Sep 14, 2020

Darko Savic 3 months ago
Never thought about it this way but it makes good sense. To the poster presenter, the conference serves as a brainstorming session with various experts.
Darko Savic 3 months ago
On the 2nd thought, that's exactly where the final version/concept for the brainstorming platform was formed:) I just didn't make the connection until now

A divergent approach to solving problems and cultivating natural motivation

by Povilas S on Oct 09, 2020

Darko Savic 2 months ago
From my experience, what you are describing above is key to a happy life for someone who is creative. I can also tell you that it's a way to start a ton of half-finished projects which never get completed.

A cool new idea always brings more pleasure than working on something that was cool when you started but has since turned into serious work (the nice surface has been scratched away to uncover a beast). If the goal is to have fun, then jumping between ideas and juggling which one brings the most pleasure at the moment is the way to go. If the goal is to achieve something bigger - that unfortunately requires plowing through a ton of hardship on the way.

Except for humans, there is no other animal species out there that is able to sustain years of hard work for a hopeful future result. Some of us are willing to do the work where the reward is not even expected within our lifetime! Some of us will knowingly invest the effort for future generations.:)
Povilas S a month ago
That's right. I agree with this. As I said, it's not for everyone. If you value results more than the joy of the process, or in other words - the joy itself, then yes, you should focus on producing results. But I would argue that good feelings are ultimately what we live for (even doing things for others is motivated by empathy, which is a harmonious feeling) and that making this (feeling good) your priority only produce more of it, making things to go more smoothly for you on a circumstantial level, therefore results then come out as a byproduct of your natural state. So that's a different approach. When you strive for results your happiness is in the future, it's an expectation. If you truly enjoy the process there's nothing to expect for - it's like dancing for the sake of dancing, you don't dance just to come to the end of it. Also, you can never be sure when your life will end and in the latter approach, there will be nothing to regret - you used the time you had for the joy of living. But once again - they are different approaches and it depends on a person to which one he/she is leaning to:)

Darko Savic a month ago
Povilas SFiguring out a way to do both simultaneously is how a person finds meaning and produces some "life work".

By being able to focus only on projects that bring happiness at the present moment one limits their options in life. Such a person could for example really want to build a house. When they set out to do it, they are highly motivated and enjoying it. Unfortunately, the house cannot be built in a day. What started as a fun task turns out to be hard work a few weeks into the project. They are then presented with a choice: be happy now and go work on something else, or plow through the hard work and be happy in a few months when the house is built.

Consider this... An additional benefit of doing hard things that bring happiness in the future is dopamine detox. By doing things you don't enjoy your brain reduces the number of dopamine receptors (to help you cope with the hardship) - this means you become more sensitive to smaller quantities of dopamine. Thereafter you find more pleasure in little things. This is the brain's way of adapting to the situation. After the adaptation, you would feel equal pleasure, no matter if you chose the easy or the hard route. The brain finds a balance so that you achieve hits of pleasure within your constraints.

I'm an ideator, I like butterflying from idea to idea. Building this brainstorming platform is the constraint I put myself into. I've been plowing through for almost 2 years. My happiness level didn't change even though I'm glued to my computer and have no social life to speak of anymore:) I intend to regain my social life when the work here is done.

Engage with people whose backgrounds are radically different than yours

by Subash Chapagain on Oct 26, 2020

Read random research paper to develop novel strategies

by Antonio Carusillo on Oct 26, 2020

Darko Savic a month ago
As soon as you feel inspired, start working and stop reading:)

It helps if you have well-defined desires but are keeping an open mind when it comes to setting goals on how to reach those desires. In that case, you read with a purpose - you seek out ways that will get you closer to your desires. You will feel inspired when you run into something that can get you closer.

Use this Brainstorming platform as your parkour

by Darko Savic on Nov 09, 2020

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