Creative People Do This One Thing Better

According to the neuroscientist Beau Lotto, author of Deviate: The Science of Seeing Differently, everything we do we do in order to reduce uncertainty. But creativity means doing exactly the opposite.


We tend to avoid uncertainty at any cost. And this happens because to be uncertain about something is extremely stressful for the brain. It makes us a more extreme version of ourselves.

Think of the time that you found yourself in the unflattering situation when you read your partner’s messages to see if there’s something to worry about. It’s not something that you were proud of, but you did it anyway. Why? Because you needed to know and that was more important than breaking your partner’s trust.

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The irony is that uncertainty is the only place where you can go if you were to see things differently. And seeing things differently is the key to creativity.

Creativity always begins with a question, with a why, with not knowing, with what if.

The problem is that our assumptions about the world are both a constraint and a savior. We need clear assumptions for survival, for daily activities.

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Think of our ancestors who could not ponder too much whether that noise was a predator or not. Thinking too much would’ve meant it was already too late.

So no wonder we make fast assumptions, that we rather stick to what we know. To do otherwise would mean to expose ourselves to uncertainty and therefore to danger.

But anything interesting begins with not knowing, with doubt. To doubt what you assume to be true already is difficult, because it means doing what your brain evolved to avoid: uncertainty.

So how do creative people’s mind works? How do they manage to see things differently?

The fact is we can’t do just anything, we can do only what is possible, and what is possible is based on your history. The brain does not work with big jumps; it works in small steps.

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A creative act is astonishing just from outside. We do not understand how creators put those two different ideas together to create this other new and interesting thing. But for the person who did it, it was just the logical next step.

Creative persons questioned their assumptions, they went outside their comfort zone, they were more open minded and therefore made a small logical step that we wouldn’t think of.

Creativity depends less on uncontrollable inspiration and more on the ability to question everything, to deal with the stress of not knowing, which in return puts in motion another form of logic.

Take the next small step, share this!