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Rewiring the brain for creative thinking

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If you’re forced to imagine something you’ve never seen, or do something you’ve never done, the possibilities for creative thinking shoot way up because you’re no longer relying on experience.

The result: new neural pathways. And new insights come from new people, places or processes, i.e., from any situation in which the brain is thrown a curve and has a hard time predicting what will happen next.

Try this exercise. When your mind is trying to categorize a new person or idea, jot down the categories that pop into your head. Use analogies, and watch how your mind will try to fall back on familiar notions. Then write down your gut feelings. Only by hijacking your mind away from its regular old routes will you force it out of a rut.

Bottom line: We need new things to jolt us to attention.

— Adapted from “Rewiring the Creative Mind,” Gregory Berns, Fast Company.

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