“If we want to be more creative, we have to be careful how much noise we allow in our lives and how we allow ourselves to use or be used for engagement purposes.”
Our lives are getting faster and faster. We are constantly distracted by diverse streams of email, social media and our “always on” work culture. We are too busy, too overloaded with information and too focused on the left side of our brains – the data and analytical side – to be creative.
In his new book “Too Fast to Think,” Chris Lewis, CEO of global agency Lewis, explains how modern life is suffocating the part of our brains where ideas come from.
“Quality thinking is not just about the presence of the positive. It’s also about the absence of the negative.”
What he learned from everybody he interviewed was that people are most creative when they were away from work, alone and not trying. This makes sense when we look at how creativity happens in our brains. Our subconscious processes information and problems without realizing it. When it comes up with a surprising solution, it bubbles up into our conscious brain, causing that lightning strike of inspiration.
“If the creative cycle is induction, incubation, inspiration and ignition in the ratio of 40/30/20/10, then 70 percent of the creative process actually occurs before people even think that they’re having an idea,” says Lewis. “So if people want to be creative and you liken it to a weekly cycle, they should read on Monday and Tuesday about the problem, go off and do something that they really enjoy for Wednesday and Thursday and then by Friday, they’d be hit with the epiphany.” Our brains are only open to subconscious thoughts when they are relaxed.
However, in today’s world our conscious minds are never allowed to be still. We check our email more than 100 times daily. The majority of us use our phones in the bathroom and we walk down the street either listening to podcasts or checking our social stream. Or both.
“Creativity often speaks quietly. Silence is therefore to be enjoyed. Creativity also needs concentration. The quiet will stop you being interrupted. The enemies of this are multitasking and juggling.”
“Too Fast to Think” exposes how our current work practices, media culture and educational systems are detrimental to creativity and introspection. The speed and noise of modern life is undermining the clarity and quiet that is essential to powerful individual thought. Our best ideas are often generated when we are free to think diffusely in a quiet environment, which is why moments of inspiration so often occur in places completely separate from our offices – in the shower or during a quiet walk.
To reclaim creativity, “Too Fast to Think” teaches you how to retrain your brain to allow creative ideas to emerge before they are shut down by interruption, distraction or the self-doubt of your over-rational brain. This is essential reading for anyone who wants to maximize their creative potential, as well as that of their team. Supported by cutting-edge research from the University of the Arts London and insightful interviews with business leaders, academics, artists, politicians and psychologists, Chris Lewis takes a holistic approach to explaining the eight crucial traits that are inherently linked to creativity and innovation.
“This is the essence of the philosophy in “Too Fast to Think:” By taking the time to think through the direction and process, less energy and time is expended and goals are achieved faster. Even though it feels slower.”