What does neuroscience have to do with creativity? Plenty, if you want to cut through the clutter and focus on really bringing that creative vision to life. Adam Gazzaley, M.D., Ph.D, is both a neuroscientist and a published author and photographer. He’s currently leading a company called Neuroscape that’s in the process of FDA approval for technology that uses video games to improve attention spans in kids with ADHD. He recently sat down with CreativeLive Founder Chase Jarvis to discuss how a basic understanding neuroscience can help improve creativity.
The interview is well worth a full listen, but if you only have a five-minutes for Gazzaley, here are the six key takeaways to use in your own creative process.
1. Controlling your brain fosters creativity.
The brain is a creative muscle — and while we may not be able to control exactly what ideas come from those creative sessions, we can encourage creativity to happen more often by understanding the brain. Borrowing a few ideas from neuroscience, creatives can engage in exercises to foster creativity, build creative habits and build an environment where creativity thrives.
2. Understand your own brain — and both what you are good at and not so good at.
The first step to training your brain to foster creativity, Gazzaley says, is to understand what makes you different — what is your brain good at, and what is it not so good at? Maybe you’ve gotten so good at multitasking that when it comes time to sit down and create, you can’t focus on a single task alone. Or maybe you have big ideas, but every time you sit down to turn them into something real, anxiety holds you back. Starting by recognizing your strong and weak points helps identify the changes that will work best for your creative process.
3. Work out the steps to overcome your own weaknesses — and leave enough time.
Once you understand what is hindering your creativity, you can create attainable steps to remove those obstacles. Start small and leave enough time — overcoming creative hurdles isn’t something that happens overnight. A small step for overcoming the urge to always be multitasking is to start with focusing on a single short task and working your way into turning off the distractions for an hour or more at a time, for example.