Identifying and disrupting habits is the first step on our journey to radical creativity. The goal here is to identify any tasks that your brain is carrying out in an ‘auto pilot’ mode. This auto-pilot function, although a marvel of evolution, is also the process that holds us back from the fresh perceptions that we can from open mindedness.
As discussed previously – in terms of creativity our auto-pilot habits are our enemy. The goal is to always remain open to new ideas and fresh perspectives, and when our mind is clouded by existing judgement this becomes more difficult.
Creativity and imagination start with your perception, and in order to optimise how you see, you need to hack how you think…
“Perception and imagination are linked because the brain uses the same neural circuits for both functions. Not only that, but experience modifies perception because it modifies neural connections. The more experience we have with something, the more efficient our brains become at processing the information or stimulus” Gregory Berns – Iconoclast: A Neuroscientist Reveals How to Think Differently
Our brains are highly efficient when it comes to repeating patterns, this is a marvel of evolution and allows us to learn and repeat simple tasks in order to carry them out faster and whilst preserving out mental energy.
However as Neuroscientist Dr Gregory Berns suggest above, the brain processes perceptions in the same way it does experiences. This mean the more experience we get with a subject, the more our perception around it narrows inwards. This creates a feeling of confidence and ease when carrying out habitual tasks in familiar contexts.
He argues that this efficiency restricts our creativity. In order to disrupt these systems we need to change our habits. This is easier said than done, habits are hard to change, they are ingrained in our psyche. Changing habits involves changing how you think and analysing the reasons and motivations behind our actions.
Traditions are a great example of this, they can run generations deep and be enforced through parental lineages. Traditions and habititual thoughts form sets of pre-programmed assumptions when approaching new subjects. This is where judgement kicks in and we go into auto-pilot.
(NB, NEED A VISUAL EXAMPLE HERE)
How do we re-wire our brains? The first step is awareness. By becoming aware and consciously ‘catching’ this moment, we can hit the pause button.
In this moment of pausing, making a conscious decision to change a pattern is incredibly powerful. Psychologist John Norcross carried out a study to research New Year’s resolutions.
People who made specific resolutions to change were 10 times more likely to change than those who wanted to change but did not make specific resolutions. This is an example of a decision making process in the brain being incredibly simple yet powerful tool.
This is the perfect moment to consider an alternative viewpoint. Think of it like clothes shopping, you are just trying things on to see how the fit.