Positive emotions and creative thinking

Lately I’ve been thinking about the future of work, and this morning I remembered this excerpt from one of my favorite design books.

Positive emotions are critical to learning, curiosity, and creative thought, and today research is turning toward this dimension. … The psychologist Alice Isen and her colleagues have shown that being happy broadens the thought processes and facilitates creative thinking. When you feel good, Isen discovered, you are better at brainstorming, at examining multiple alternatives. … We have long known that when people are anxious they tend to narrow their thought processes, concentrating upon aspects directly relevant to a problem. This is a useful strategy in escaping from danger, but not in thinking of imaginative new approaches to a problem. Isen’s results show that when people are relaxed and happy, their thought processes expand, becoming more creative, more imaginative. 

– Don Norman, Emotional Design

Where does creativity come from?

A few weeks ago, I discovered a wonderful talk by Dr. George Land, in which he gives a brief history of human innovation and the importance of creativity.

If you’ve wondered about questions like “Where does creativity come from?”, “Are we born with it?”, or “Is it learned?”, this talk will give you the answers. It will also show you how to tap into your imagination, so you can be more creative in your life and work.

I was also pleasantly surprised to hear Dr. Land talk about the 2 kinds of thinking that happen in the brain, divergent and convergent thinking, often used in the human-centered design process.

I really believed that I could do anything that I wished. And because I believed it… I did anything I wished.

– Milton Glaser

The history of LEGO

It made me think of these words from Napoleon Hill: 

“That is one of the tricks of opportunity… often it comes disguised in the form of misfortune, or temporary defeat. Perhaps this is why so many fail to recognize opportunity.”

That is why they are warriors of light. Because they make mistakes. Because they wonder. Because they look for a reason – and they will certainly find one.

– Paulo Coelho

Fail more often in order to find out what you’re capable of learning.

– Milton Glaser

The difference between the impossible and possible lies in your heart.

– Paulo Coelho