Sunday, December 06, 2015

Persistence & Creativity

Brian Lucas & Loran Nordgren have conducted a series of interesting studies about creativity.  They find that people tend to underestimate the number of creative ideas that they can generate.  The scholars asked people to generate ideas on a particular topic.  Then they asked them to predict how many more ideas they could generate if they continued thinking about the topic.  The subjects then continued to try to generate ideas.  

The scholars found that people underestimated how many ideas they could generate by persisting for that additional period of time.  Moreover, outsiders judged the ideas generated after persisting as of higher quality than the ideas generated initially.  

The study shows the value of persistence, but it also demonstrates that we sometimes downplay its importance. I think it's because we often think of creativity as a flash of brilliance.  It's not.  It's hard work! It takes time to reflect, think, make connections among disparate concepts, and synthesize ideas.  

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