Not too sure we believe that you can train your brain to be a genius cuz…DNA, you know? But we like this article cuz we know damn well that the “creative” part can always use a boost or 5:
by Tanner Christensen
Maria Konnikova, a world-reknown Harvard psychologist and writer, explores what it takes to have a mind capable of matching the fictional detective/genius Sherlock Holmes in her novel:Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes.
If you’re unfamiliar with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Holmes you’re missing out on both a classic series of novels that will undoubtedly make you think, as well as a number of cult-classic films and television series. Holmes, it seems, is a thinker that has inspired generations with his wit, creativity, and intelligence.
But how well does a fictional character with remarkable intellect such as Holmes relate to us, the common thinker?
According to Konnikova, we can all learn to think like Holmes, whether we’re creative geniuses and unfathomably intelligent, or whether we’re just an average thinker who occasionally likes to pursue the sporadic day dream.
I’ve written briefly on the topic of creativity and intelligence before, but with Konnikova’s insights and scientific mind to back me up I wanted to approach it once more.
As it turns out: you don’t have to be remarkably intelligent to be creative, you just have to know how to use the intellect you’ve got to produce ideas. Specifically, there are three ways to see this process through.
1. Have more experiences
Creativity draws from only what you already know, and sometimes from what you don’t know you know.
When you’re working on something and you have that sudden “Aha!” moment of insight, that’s your brain finding a creative match to the topic at hand. Even if the match is one that was previously buried in the deepest folds of your brain (in the long-term memory area of the brain known as the hippocampus).
You may not immediately know the concept was there, but through an intense and lightning-fast series of processing, your brain was able to pull the information out.
Where did that information come from in the first place? Through past experiences you’ve had, not from a mystical unknown.
The fictional Sherlock refers to this storage locker of experiences as the “brain attic.” You don’t have to do any work on the front of things to store and sort through the ideas stored in your brain attic, you just have to have the experiences.
To quote Konnikova: