Our brain is an amazing organ.
Located in our skull, at the top of our body, this relatively small structure is our own central processing unit (CPU). Much more intricate and infinitely more powerful than any computer, our brain works silently 24 hours-a-day, 365/366 days-a-year, from before we are born until we die, controlling organ function, thought, emotions, movement, hormone levels … the list goes on.
To help put its complexity into context, there are estimated to be more connections/junctions in our brain than there are stars in the universe; that is more than 100 billion!
But even with our extensive knowledge and intense research efforts, many areas of the brain remain a mystery. From what we do know and without getting into too much detail, our brain is divided into different anatomical areas with different structures and functions. A significant part is dedicated to the processing of information fed in by nerves connected to our senses (e.g., touch, sight, smell & hearing), through the detection of changes in levels of hormones and other ‘body chemicals’. Interaction of the different areas provides our thoughts, deductions, analyses, feeling and emotions.
And different areas provide specific types of thoughts and responses: emotional; rational; sexual.
It follows that what we feed into our brain influences what we get out. Benefits of a healthy diet, exercise regimens and work/rest balance have all been demonstrated to one degree or another. The way in which we ‘train’ our brain influences how much information we retain, how we process the information we receive and how we arrive at the conclusions we draw. Our life experiences also greatly influence how we process information. All of these factors add up to a very complex series of interactions and influences.
One thing we know is that the brain responds well and adapts, even changes when we repeat actions (we call this practice). New skills are learnt, information retained and brain processes modified. Think of learning a new skill … very rarely do we start off an expert. Athletes train their bodies and brains for the physical and mental battles on the track and field. Musicians train their fingers, hands, feet and minds as they master tunes and rhythms, read music and improve dexterity. Actors learn their parts through the repetition of words and actions.
And in our school and colleges, we repeatedly stimulate our logical, deductive faculties through repetition and the exercising of our ‘left brain’.
But if we wish to be creative it is important that we understand the need to exercise our whole brain. The right side is important in engaging our emotions, non-logical or deductive thinking and artistic skills. When we hook this up with our logical thinking, we arrive at creativity.
Creativity is not a gift of the few it is a talent we ALL possess. Neither is creativity something that just happens. Just like any other skill, we need to work at it, exercising the different faculties of our mind and intelligence, honing the skills that make creativity part of our life.
Whatever area of life we find ourselves in, creativity has a place and application. In one of my earlier articles, 5 Simple Steps to Creative Thinking and Idea Generation, I listed some time-proven steps which help us to train our brains to think creatively and come up with new ideas. These steps were identified by a master of the advertising industry from the 1940’s, but they are equally applicable today across a broad range of disciplines.
Our brain IS an amazing organ and the potential IS almost infinite. How we tap into that potential often lies with the way in which engage our faculties, however good or bad we think they are. When we engage these effectively, we are repeatedly amazed by our own creative potential.
So let’s learn how to use our whole brain, our whole intelligence, rather than just our intellect, and benefit ourselves and others from the creativity that emerges.