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.

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

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.

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Davina Agudelo was born in Miami, Florida, but she grew up in Medellín, Colombia.

"I am so grateful for my upbringing in Colombia, surrounded by mountains and mango trees, and for my Colombian family," Agudelo says. "Colombia is the place where I learned what's truly essential in life." It's also where she found her passion for the arts.

While she was growing up, Colombia was going through a violent drug war, and Agudelo turned to literature, theater, singing, and creative writing as a refuge. "Journaling became a sacred practice, where I could leave on the page my dreams & longings as well as my joy and sadness," she says. "During those years, poetry came to me naturally. My grandfather was a poet and though I never met him, maybe there is a little bit of his love for poetry within me."

In 1998, when she left her home and everyone she loved and moved to California, the arts continued to be her solace and comfort. She got her bachelor's degree in theater arts before getting certified in journalism at UCLA. It was there she realized the need to create a media platform that highlighted the positive contributions of LatinX in the US.

"I know the power that storytelling and writing our own stories have and how creative writing can aid us in our own transformation."

In 2012, she started Alegría Magazine and it was a great success. Later, she refurbished a van into a mobile bookstore to celebrate Latin American and LatinX indie authors and poets, while also encouraging children's reading and writing in low-income communities across Southern California.

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