This one goes out to all you writers, artists, musicians and intuitive types who don’t conform to labels.
I just heard an intriguing “Pop Cast” on Pop Tech with Scott Barry Kaufman, cognitive psychologist and author. Loved it, and wanted to share it with my fellow creators. Until a few days ago I had been unfamiliar with Kaufman’s work. He is an adjunct assistant professor at New York University, author of Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined, co-founder of The Creativity Post, and blogger for Scientific American’s Beautiful Minds.
Brain scans may not sound sexy, but he does a nice job of making them relevant to a topic we all enjoy — ourselves. Admit it. You are fascinated with the inner workings of your own mind. Kaufman, who specializes in the development of intelligence, creativity, and personality, describes the state of “flow.” You may know it as “being in the zone.” It’s when time seems to turn itself inside out.
Flow can be such a rush. For me, it’s when I sit down with a hot cup of coffee and my laptop. I look up and I’ve written thousands of words. My coffee is cold. I look at the clock. Four hours have passed by? Really? Shut up.
Kaufman explaines what my brain is up to during these trips. I think flow may explain the popularity of NaNoWriMo. Flow may be why it works so well for so many of us. November is the one month of the year when our inner critics take a back seat and shut the hell up, so we are free to drive.
Artists, musicians and writers have long been called crazy by practical types. Kaufman provides insight into some reasons that could be true. What if our habitual daydreaming (obsessive imagination) has more to do with our brains that our lack of interest or motivation. Maybe it’s not that we can’t pay attention, but that we have the ability to be somewhere else at the same time. Perhaps our ability to set our brain to cruise control and explore sans roadmap, is what makes us who we are.