Why Breathtaking Creative Ideas Get Squashed Almost Every Time

Why Breathtaking Creative Ideas Get Squashed Almost Every Time

Unlock your inner ideas machine and that of your boss while you are at it.

Ever have that spark in our brain when an idea pops up and you feel like you just gulped a 5-hour energy drink? If you are lucky, you might have 3 or 4 of these a day. (I think it is as much a curse than a blessing some days.)

Our brains can become idea machines if we let them. The problem for some is that you actually limit or put idea handcuffs on the parts of our brain that facilitate idea generation.

Researchers examined brain activity of jazz musicians and rappers (both very improvisational and an activity most like idea generation) and found that during creative activities certain areas of our brain are shut down while certain areas come to life.

The one area that “goes to sleep” is the area where decisions are made and processed. Therein lies the barrier for you and your boss and peers.

Every one of us has been in that position where we offer up an idea and it is quickly dismissed. It is both personally demoralizing – see if I ever offer up an idea like that again – as well as a lost opportunity for the company. When a company prevents its employees from innovating, the company begins its descent into eventual dinosaur mode.

The issue is obvious; we need to get everyone’s brain out of decision mode. If we can’t put that area to sleep, then we at least have to distract it. This is why we have ideas in the shower. I also get great ideas on long car rides and like many of you also wake up in the middle of the night with ideas. In all of those situations, our decision brain is either shut down or distracted by other rote tasks that require focused attention.

How can you as an individual put yourself in an idea state? Ever try and sit down at your desk and force ideas out? It rarely works, right? Think about those physical places where your brain simply wanders. Many use long walks. Some use the shower every morning.

Find ways to create a physical state where your brain is distracted or shut off from heavy decision mode.

Then do it every day. Your brain and your new idea area is like a muscle and you need to exercise it every day. Ready to share this with your boss or peers? Invite them for a walk and get them out of their decision brain state and just maybe your idea might land a bit better.

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