One of the greatest scientists of all time was walking through a garden in 1666 when he was struck by a flashe of creative brilliance that would transform the world.
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Sir Isaac Newton was standing under an apple tree when he saw an apple falling to the ground. Newton wondered why the apple should always fall perpendicularly to ground. Why should it go sideways or upwards but always towards the earth’s center?” It draws it, as you can see. It must have a drawing power.
The concept of gravity was thus born.
The legend of the fallen apple is one of the most iconic and lasting examples of the creative moment. It’s a symbol for the inspired genius that floods your brain when creative conditions are perfect.
Most people don’t realize that Newton worked for almost twenty years on his gravity ideas until he published The Principia, Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy in 1687. The fall of the apple was only the beginning of a long line of thought.
Newton isn’t the only person who has struggled with great ideas for years. Creativity is something that we all have to do. This article will discuss the science behind creativity, discuss what conditions can drive it and give practical tips to help you become more creative.
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Creative Thinking: Destiny or Development for Creative Thinking?
Creativity requires the brain to connect seemingly unrelated ideas. This skill is acquired through practice or is it something we learn naturally? Let’s take a look at the research and find out.
George Land, a creative performance researcher, conducted a 1960s study of 1,600 five year-olds. 98 percent scored in the “highly imaginative” range. Each subject was retested by Dr. Land in five-year increments. Only 30 percent of the children scored in the high creative range when they were 10 years old. The number fell to just 12 percent at age 15, and 2 percent at age 25, respectively. The creativity was gradually stifled as they grew up. Dr. Land said that “non-creative behavior can be learned.”
Other researchers have also discovered similar trends. One study of 272,599 students revealed that while IQ scores have increased since 1990, creativity scores have declined.
How can you unleash your creativity potential?
In my article on Threshold Theory I explained that being among the top 1% of intelligence does not necessarily mean you are brilliantly creative. You just need to be smart, not a genius, and then work hard, practice carefully, and do your best.
Brilliant creative work is possible as long as you reach a certain level of intelligence. Researchers from a 2013 study found that personality factors are more predictive of creativity once the intelligence threshold has been met.
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How do researchers refer to these “personality factors” when they talk about boosting creativity?
How you see your strengths internally is one of the most important components. Your creativity skills will be largely affected by how you view the creative process.
Carol Dweck’s amazing book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success (audiobook) explains in detail the differences between these mindsets.
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It is a belief that if we have a fixed mindset, we tend to think of tasks as if we are unable to change our talents or abilities. We believe that we can improve our abilities with practice and effort. It is interesting that we can easily push ourselves in the right direction based on how much we praise and talk about our efforts.