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 by CDC on Unsplash

When schools closed early in the spring, the entire country was thrown for a loop. Parents had to figure out what to do with their kids. Teachers had to figure out how to teach students at home. Kids had to figure out how to navigate a totally new routine that was being created and altered in real time.

For many families, it was a big honking mess—one that many really don't want to repeat in the fall.

But at the same time, the U.S. hasn't gotten a handle on the coronavirus pandemic. As states have begun reopening—several of them too early, according to public health officials—COVID-19 cases have risen to the point where we now have more cases per day than we did during the height of the outbreak in the spring. And yet President Trump is making a huge push to get schools to reopen fully in the fall, even threatening to possibly remove funding if they don't.

It's worth pointing out that Denmark and Norway had 10 and 11 new cases yesterday. Sweden and Germany had around 300 each. The U.S. had 55,000. (And no, that's not because we're testing thousands of times more people than those countries are.)

The president of the country's largest teacher's union had something to say about Trump's push to reopen schools. Lily Eskelsen Garcia says that schools do need to reopen, but they need to be able to reopen safely—with measures that will help keep both students and teachers from spreading the virus and making the pandemic worse. (Trump has also criticized the CDCs "very tough & expensive guidelines" for reopening schools.)

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