(Subjects in the study read Franz Kafka, but even stories like Alice in Wonderland have been suggested by psychologists) The conclusion was that the mind is always seeking to make sense of the things that it sees, and surreal/absurd art puts the mind in “overdrive” for a short period while it tries to work out just exactly what it is looking at or reading.I like reading interesting short stories like The Last Question or browsing absurdist art at places like r/Heavy Mind when I’m looking for some inspiration. Separate work from consumption Also known as the “absorb state,” this technique has been shown to help with the incubation process (much more on that later) and is far more effective than trying to combine work with creative thinking.In a more recent study (2012) on creativity, the lead researcher concluded that…
According to this research, this may make the problem more accessible and can encourage higher level thinking. Daydream, and then get back to work Although study after study confirms that daydreaming and napping can help with the creative thought process, there is one piece of research that everybody seems to leave out…
One study in particular shows that the less work you’ve done on a problem, the less daydreaming will help you.
It makes sense too — we are often in two very different states of mind when absorbing an activity and when we are trying to create something.
I’ve found that my writing breaks down when I try to handle research writing at the same time, and I’m much better off when I just turn off my “work mode” and consume more inspiration in the form of reading, watching, and observing. Create during a powerful mood For a long time, the research has pointed to happiness as being the ideal state to create in.
That is, daydreaming and incubation are most effective on a project you’ve already invested a lot of creative effort into.
So before you try to use naps and daydreams as an excuse for not working, be honest with yourself and don’t forget to hustle first! Embrace something absurd While I’ll be covering the case for “weird” experiences in more detail later on, for now you need to know that the research suggests that reading/experiencing something absurd or surreal can help boost pattern recognition and creative thinking.
According to research surrounding the Construal-level theory of psychological distance, the answer may lie in thinking about the creative process in more “abstract” terms rather than in concrete terms.
As an example: When thinking about a trip you might take to Paris next summer, you might focus on how much fun it would be or how great it would be to sit in a café and watch the world go by.
That means, instead of thinking of a cut-and-dry end goal to certain situations, they sit back and examine the problem in different ways before beginning to work.
Here’s a candid example — as a writer who handles content marketing strategy for startups, my “cookie cutter” end goal is something like “write popular articles.” The problem is, if I approach an article with the mindset of, “What can I write that will get a lot of tweets? However, if I step back and examine the problem from another angle, such as: “What sort of articles really resonate with people and capture their interest?