I'm of the belief that our culture is in need of saving, and that we need to call on our special superpowers to lead us in some new directions. But it's not about physical powers. It's about harnessing our creative powers--seeing alternatives, prioritizing long-term visions, inventing new forms and collaborating as a unified species. Given our current us-vs.-them, short-term-profits-are-king values, this kind of change in thinking requires a mutation. In some ways we know this and I think that is why these movies are so popular. "Mutation: It is the key to our evolution," announces an X-Men movie. "It is how we have evolved from a single cell organisms into the dominant species on the planet." The message of all these movies is that the superhero outsiders--the mutants with special powers--are the ones we should be rooting for.
Research has shown that there is a significant number of people right now on the planet--about one in three Americans--who have what we might call a recent mutation. They're known as Cultural Creatives, and I will share more about them in the next blog and will be leading a public event about them in June. You may be one, but even if not, they're worth understanding better and supporting, as their forward-thinking, interconnected values and in certain cases special powers--as artists, healers and intuitives--most likely hold the key to a sustainable and unifying future for humans and the planet.
last month's blog, live. His brain burst with insight and the latest intriguing scientific studies, and he offered it all up eloquently in an attempt to help us all be more creative. Here were some goodies he shared:
- Research has shown that creative insights--"aha" moments--1) come out of nowhere, and 2) you know it’s the answer when it comes. So how to get them to come? “The answer will only arrive when you stop looking for it," says Lehrer. Since Alpha waves have been shown to lead to insights and being relaxed leads to Alpha waves, he encourages taking breaks, having a beer, getting away from it all regularly.
- "Grit," however, is what distinguishes great creators from others. They refuse to quit. “In field after field, grit is the greatest indicator of success,” he says. It's important in the creative process to feel like we’re making progress. If we do, we should keep at it, keep focusing, be gritty. When no progress, then time for a break, to relax.
- "Choose easy, work hard." The key is to find what we love to do, and then do it thoroughly. He encourages kids to explore many things (make choice easy)—help them fall in love then have them work hard at what they love.
- While there are indeed peak creative ages, usually pretty young, in different fields, that doesn't mean we can't increase our creativity as we age. Creativity decreases mainly because once there is success one gets invested in the status quo. You can stay creative by reinventing and being an outsider.
- For organizations, creativity is enhanced by spaces that bring diverse people together. Physical location matters, the closer the better. Even in the 21st century, our best ideas do not arrive on screen—they come from idle chatter, close proximity. We have to come together in person. Creativity is not about efficiency; it’s about serendipity. It’s human friction that makes sparks, even in this age of technology.
- Research has found the most creative cities can be correlated to how fast people walk. Human density is good, the more the better. Unlike cities, the more people in companies the less innovative they are. Why? Companies get in the way because they want to control the process, force creativity, which doesn't work. Creativity in the city comes from its freewheeling nature: the Mayor can’t tell you what to do or where to live or go. “When in doubt," Lehrer says, "imitate the city.”
More to grease your creative wheels? Check out Stanford professor Tina Seelig's new book, InGenius.