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Heroes

The key to genius may be learning to ignore something your brain wants to tell you

A new study suggests that when brilliant people are thinking creatively, they all do this weird thing: They basically switch off a big part of their brain.

Performance philosopher Jason Silva is speaking.

Creativity is one of the most fascinating things about people.

We have this incredible ability to remix everything we take in and combine it all into something new and amazing.


We can somehow transform the way the world feels.

We tiptoe up to the edge of the possible, look over the edge and jump, redefining the starting point for the next person.

"Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn't really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That's because they were able to connect experiences they've had and synthesize new things." — Steve Jobs

Silva refers to this inspired thinking as being in a "flow state."

Scientists in their eureka moments, athletes in the zone, musicians, technicians, anyone who has a sudden creative breakthrough that takes them to a place they — and sometimes nobody else — has ever been. They're all in the flow state.

Neuroscience has been revealing what's going on.

There's a part of the brain, the lateral pre-frontal cortex, that's responsible for self-editing.

When neuroscientists observe the brains of creative thinkers as they do their thing, they see this normally lit-up part of the brain go dim. Go silent. Shut off. What it suggests is that creative thinkers have learned to shut off their self-editing when it's time to imagine. Wow.

So perfection's not just about control. It's also about letting go.

When self-judgement and self-criticism are suspended, the magic begins.

Here's Jason Silva.

Photo: Jason DeCrow for United Nations Foundation

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