Creativity is one of the most essential skills to have in today’s world. In a survey by IBM in which they asked 1,500 CEOs what’s the most important skill to have to success, creativity raked up on top. An even more extensive research is one conducted by Red Bull, in which they analyzed and combined 30,000 studies and conducted several interviews with experts to come to the conclusion that creativity is indeed the most important skill in our world today.
However, teaching people how to be creative can be tricky, and training it’s almost impossible. But there’s a reason why it is so- because people keep trying to train creativity as a skill, but in reality, it should be trained as a state of mind.
The key to unlocking creativity is through reaching non-ordinary states of consciousness, like dramatic shifts in perception, emotion, and thought, as defined by John Hopkins psychiatrist Stanislav Grof. Here are the 3 most familiar non-ordinary states of consciousness and how to reach them.
Source: Tiny Buddha
Research from the 90’s has shown that Tibetan Buddhists who meditate for an extensive amount of time produce brainwaves in the gamma range. Accessing these unusual waves arise during “binding”, the very moment in which novel ideas start flowing through our head to give us that “Aha!” moment. This means that meditation does amplifies creativity.
Now we can’t all spend 8 hours every day meditating, but research has shown that even just 4 days of meditation improved both creativity and cognitive flexibility. “They’re comparable to results that have been documented after far more extensive training,” said researcher Fadel Zeidan.
So rather than becoming a monk in the cold, arid mountains, try dedicating just a few days to meditating.
Those who are “in the zone”, i.e. those moments when we’re so absorbed and concentrated on something and we feel like nothing can stop us, have shown similar results. A study from the University of Sydney used transcranial magnetic stimulation to induce the state, and gave their subjects the nine-dot problem, in which they have to connect nine dots with four lines without lifting the pencil within 10 minutes. Usually, only 5% of the population pulled it off, but in the study, 40% were able to do so. That’s 8 times better than usual.
So try to get yourself concentrated and absorbed into what you’re doing. Limit distractions, enjoy what you’re doing, and get “into the zone”.
Finally, results from psychedelic research have shown similar boosts in creativity as well. Psychologist James Fadiman has found that small doses of LSD enhances pattern recognition and problem solving abilities consistently.
No, we’re not telling you to go trip on acid. Rather, we can achieve a similar psychedelic state by changing our perception and state of being. Simple things like enforcing a healthy sleep schedule, starting your day right with positive thoughts, spending your first hour at work purely on doing the most important tasks, getting up and moving from your desk every 10 minutes, and basically anything that gets you out of ruts and boring, monotonous, and unhealthy routines will help you boost your creativity over time.