Are You Disorganized? Research Says That’s a Good Thing
In Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation, Steven Johnson posits that “the more disorganized your brain is, the smarter you are” in reference to the results of a neuroscience experiment by Robert Thatcher.
Across the board, in Johnson’s book and other sources it seems pretty clear that creativity is messy.
Ideas need to be sloshing around or crashing in to one another to produce breakthroughs:
- Johnson cites research showing that the volume of ideas bouncing about make large cities disproportionately more creative than smaller towns.
- Having multiple hobbies allows your brain to subconsciously compare and contrast problems and solutions, forming new connections at the margins of each.
- Similarly, reading multiple books at the same time vs serially lets your brain juxtapose new ideas and develop new connections.
- Wandering minds are more creative.
- Studying a field “too much” doesn’t limit creativity…
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