“Usage is like oxygen for ideas” Matt Mullenweg
“Usage is like oxygen for ideas” Matt Mullenweg
This is a great read from Newsweek about creativity.
Although titled “The Creativity Crisis” and opening with a discussion about the decline of American creativity scores, the article presents compelling examples of the impact that creativity in school curriculum has on students.
A fine example of this emerged in January of this year, with release of a study by University of Western Ontario neuroscientist Daniel Ansari and Harvard’s Aaron Berkowitz, who studies music cognition. They put Dartmouth music majors and nonmusicians in an fMRI scanner, giving participants a one-handed fiber-optic keyboard to play melodies on. Sometimes melodies were rehearsed; other times they were creatively improvised. During improvisation, the highly trained music majors used their brains in a way the nonmusicians could not: they deactivated their right-temporoparietal junction. Normally, the r-TPJ reads incoming stimuli, sorting the stream for relevance. By turning that off, the musicians blocked out all distraction. They hit an extra gear of concentration, allowing them to work with the notes and create music spontaneously.
I found the article particularly inspiring as a parent of a child in a multiage class. My wife and I specifically chose our multiage program because it allows the kids to learn basic educational skills like reading and math at their own pace through project based learning. if you have had a Child in the public education system recently you know this is in stark contrast to what most teachers are forced to do – teaching for standardized testing.
I know The most valuable skill I can give to my kids is to teach them to think creatively and solve problems. The pace of our culture is moving faster and faster every day. I have no idea what they will encounter. For al I know the things they will need to learn may not even be invented yet.
Being creative is more than art and music. Being creative is accessing the whole of your knowledge and spirit to solve a problem and in doing so contribute to our culture and society.
We can no longer afford to teach our kids that the answer is always in the book, or that the answer even exists. It’s time to start teaching them HOW to find the answers.
The reason I started this blog was to have a place to
a) explore the ideas that excite me right now AND b) force me to take action on the thoughts inside my head
Well, I started the blog in January and its taken me over 2 months to make my first real post.
And now I know why.
In those past 2 months I’ve read The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg, and Linchpin by Seth Godin. (Thanks to Merlin Mann for spreading the word about these people.)
Each of these books talks about the act of creation in different contexts and what stops us from doing it. And after reading them, the last 2 months (actually the last 3 years) finally made sense.
I had been framing my struggle with writing (here and over at Rich Dreams) in terms of productivity. I’m a big believer of Getting Things Done by David Allen. I’ve used it for business projects and it’s an incredibly simple system to keep you on track and get things done.
But it hasn’t helped me get this blog done. At first I thought it was because I was not being productive. GTD had worked for me in the past, why not now? Because writing is not moving something from A to B. It’s not making a widget.
I should have realized it. I studied art and creative writing in college. But I never had artist block in college. I think I was to energetic and ignorant to know better. 21 year-olds tend to think they know everything and are not afraid to shout it to any and all within earshot. But 10 years of college, 2 kids, and working a non creative job have dulled my edge a bit. I don’t feel like I know everything anymore.
Those authors helped me remember that we don;t have to know everything. We just have to get the monkey mind, the lizard brain, out of the way and just go. Keep the writing and don’t stop.
So I’m fighting the resistance today with this blog post. I’ve won today but tomorrow is another battle. We’ll see who wins. But I’m ready to fight.
So for the foreseeable future this blog will be about creating. Creating of all kinds. Art, writing, music, food. But also about the creating of our lives. Because when you learn about the creative process, you find that the struggle to create a piece of art is the same as the struggle to create the life you desire to live.
As I see it everything is pointing in one direction. Science, art, spirituality, and culture are all giving us the signs. The path is before us all, time to get pointed in the right direction make something good.
Because the future is all about you. So what do you want to make it?