Catalyst Ranch is Chicago's most creative Meeting and Special Events Space.

Creative Brain MRI

Catalyst Ranch is celebrating its 14th anniversary, and for all that time, we have understood the importance of environment.  We have colorful fuzzy pipe cleaners on the tables to bend into fun shapes.  Ethnic and contemporary art decorates every wall.  We have coffee brewing and elaborate snack services to satisfy smell and taste, and lively conversation abounds.

But what do you do if you are not in such a creative environment?

A new book titled Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind by Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire seeks to help shed some light on the impact different stimuli have on creativity, and their findings are both insightful and intuitive simultaneously.

Here are some of the big takeaways:

  • Solitude is where much creativity lives and almost 3 out of 4 people have creative insights in the shower.  Working alone causes the more imaginative networks of the brain to kick into gear, and the steady stream of hot water on your head is great for letting your mind wander.  Piggybacking on this is daydreaming, which can create a mental incubation period that enhances long-term creation, hatching small ideas that grow from there.
  • Trying new things and trusting your intuition use openness and self-confidence to let the ideas flow and the trust to make them come to fruition.  “Exploration is tied to the neurotransmitter dopamine, which also plays a role in motivation and learning (among other things). . .”

And finally, don’t get frustrated!

  • Your ideas are important!  “History is filled with examples of discoveries and ideas that were initially rejected before being accepted as the norm.”  There is a tendency for people to be prone to conform to popular opinion, so you may just be way ahead of your time.

Read the full article in Fast Company on the book here

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