Why is it that we are driving down the highway or going for a run or taking a shower that we get moments of inspiration? All of a sudden, new ways of thinking emerge to problems we might have spent hours trying to figure out at the office or in a meeting. Why? This has always intrigued me
In religion it’s been termed as a moment of revelation.
An example is the story of Archimedes a famous Greek mathematician and inventor. He discovered the law of hydrostatics. He was taking a bath and realised that the water dispersed was that of equal volume to that of his body. His “eureka” moment, as its been scripted came when taking a bath!
Now I’m no neuroscientist and but in my research, I’ve discovered the answer is when we are doing things that put our brain into auto pilot it changes the thought pathways in our brain. Our pre-frontal cortex becomes relaxed.
What does that do? Well, the pre-frontal cortex is part of the frontal lobe and it is responsible for our planning, reasoning and judgement.
All essential and vital functions but it when fully engaged on a task the pre-frontal cortex is likely to censor unconventional and creative thinking.
If you think about it this area of our brain gets very little down time. But when it does all of a sudden different pathways and connections in our brain are made possible and that’s when we get our moments of insight and inspiration.
So, if we are a leader in a business or running a marketing team if we are focused on running a meeting for instance, this means that our pre-frontal cortex is fully engaged and as a result we cannot free ourselves up to being able to creatively contribute to the meeting.
We are too busy analysing and monitoring what people are saying, making sure the meeting doesn’t go off track and keeping time of the meeting.
So, if you have a problem that requires a creative solution give your brain some relaxation time.
What sets your mind at ease? You could try some activity like a walk, run or swim. Is it playing a game? Is it drawing or doodling? Is it simply your drive or ride to and from work? Embrace moments of stillness and see where your mind leads you.
If you’ve got a problem and you need a creative solution ensure the stage is set to unleash your own creative connections. Think of how you can best structure your next meeting or brainstorming session that will enable everyone in the room to shift from being task focused.
If you need more ideas on how to structure a brainstorming session reach out. We’d be happy to chat more.