Did you know we create our universe with 100 billion neurons inside our heads? Our perception of reality comes from our past experiences (using logic from the left brain categorization) and the present (with our emotions and sensations of our right brain). We knit together our perception of “the world” with information we experience on the regular.
When we experience similar things repeatedly, we learn the connections between “stove” and “hot.” Those neurons that “fire together, wire together” and soon we’ve developed a predictability called “Hebbian learning.” Our brain becomes more efficient at grabbing the solution without thinking.
But this can backfire like your grandpa’s old Ford Pinto.
You see, the left hemisphere has an inhibitory effect on your right hemisphere. It’s the “thoughtful brake” to your right brain’s “effervescent enthusiasm.” The left brain methodically assembles pieces of information into organized files, but the right brain draws relationships, context, and judgement to this information.
Sometimes your left brain just doesn’t know when to STOP searching for solutions. It keeps trying those familiar neuronal connections….over and over. Trying to connect, like an old boyfriend who won’t stop texting. The harder it works, the more inhibition on the right brain.
But guess what? When you cease active TRYING from your left brain, your right brain is free to explore and cast a wider net across your neurons to make some connections. Research conducted by Scott, in collaboration with the world’s largest shower head supplier, Hansgrohe, found that 72% of people around the globe report experiencing new ideas in the shower.
In 1933, T.S. Eliot purported that creativity needed an “incubation period” where the mind could wander and process ideas without restraint. He also believed that illnesses could be beneficial, as it forced the artist to stay in bed, away from daily distractions, allowing new ideas to emerge.
So, next time you’ve got the sniffles and you’re slothing it up on the couch, turn OFF Netflix and see what turns ON in your magical brain! You just might come up for the answer you’ve been looking for (always “choice C”), the perfect ingredient for your next batch of hummus (extra garlic), the precise word you’ve been meaning to use in your proposal at work (“commodification”), or a creative hobby you’ve been meaning to try (underwater basketweaving is dope).
(historical excerpts from “Wired to Create” by Scott Kaufman)