How to become a better creative thinker

Does everyone want to be a creative, open-minded and brilliant thinker?

Of course! The question is: What can we do to become that kind of person? The topic here is the human capability for better thinking and creativity.

Last week, I had a chance to have lunch with my colleagues from our motivational group. Over the meal, we had a very interesting conversation. What follows is part of our talk.

I asked my friends a simple question: “What’s your definition of a brilliant thinker?”

“I believe it is person who knows how to handle many possibilities from both sides of any argument. Also, that person sees any difficult issues through to their solution,” said Gordon.

“I remember a definition I read.” It was Steve. “A brilliant thinker is a person who is capable of holding two different ideas in the mind at the same time.”

Kevin made an honest comment: “Because I can’t do it, for me, a brilliant thinker is every person who has the capacity to think as an individual, clearly, freely, without limitations or constraints. “”

“Personally,” I said, “I believe that each brilliant thinker has a set of special qualities.”

When I had heard my friends’ definitions, I asked my next question: “What can we do to become that kind of person?”

Kevin: “Are you testing us or teasing us?”

Me: “No, I’m just asking you to share your knowledge about the topic. I’m asking you to `release’ your brain and start to think creatively.”

Gordon: “Are you asking us to use more than ten percent of our brains? By the way, do we really use only ten percent of our brains?”

Steve: “No, it’s just another myth, despite the efforts of science to `destroy the myth’. This statement has no scientific stronghold.”

Kevin: “Each and every effort to `improve the brain’ begins and ends with hard work, practice, persistence and a learning process. There is no magic pill to increase brain capacity, and there is no limit to what the brain can learn.”

Me: “The slogan that we use only ten percent of our brains is just an excuse. We know that a creative mind, from the point of today’s knowledge, includes a lot of work, taking risks and accepting setbacks or misunderstandings.”

Steve: “Who said, `It took me ten years of hard work for my overnight successes? Whoever said that was totally right.”

Suddenly, I felt, this is too much information for a Saturday lunch.

When I left my friends at the downtown restaurant, I couldn’t stop thinking about the question: “What can we do to become better thinkers and more creative people?”

I spent the whole weekend learning as much as possible about thinking and creativity. What did I find?

First, the human brain starts slowing down very early, at age 25. Fortunately, we can keep our brains running at peak function at any age with a number of tricks.

 What can we do?

1. Keep learning new skills, like playing new instruments, learning new languages, doing certain mental exercises, journaling or story writing.

2. Improve brain routine by not wasting mental energy! Remembering the “small stuff” (birthday parties, what to buy from the store or when to renew a driver’s licence) is an example of wasting mental energy. Don’t remember those things; instead start using calendars, notebooks, file folders, planers and shopping lists. Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, “I never commit to memory anything that can easily be looked up in a book.” Use mental energy for learning important things, like new skills. Our brains need challenges on which to concentrate, not unimportant things to remember!

3. Remember the words of Dr. W. E. Reichman, professor of psychiatry: “What works for the heart will work for the brain.”

That means: Eat well, especially large quantities of fruits and vegetables.

For the brain, eat so-called brain food: blueberries, wild salmon, lemons, cinnamon, green tea, saffron.

Exercise, socialize, rest well, laugh and stay away from stress if you can.

For me, Dr. Reichman’s statement is just right as the explanation of a well-known truth: the mind-body connection. The human body (the heart) and the human mind (the brain) work together to help us live good lives. We need to support them by doing the right things.