The benefit of such horizontal interactions – people sharing knowledge across fields – is that it encourages conceptual blending, which is an extremely important part of the insight process.
The great ages did not perhaps produce much more talent than ours,’ [T.S.] Eliot wrote. ‘But less talent was wasted.
It doesn’t matter if people are playing jazz or writing poetry — if they want to be successful, they need to learn how to persist and persevere, how to keep on working until the work is done. Woody Allen famously declared that “eighty percent of success is showing up.” NOCCA (New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts) teaches kids how to show up again and again.
Insights, after all, come from the overlap between seemingly unrelated thoughts. They emerge when concepts are transposed, when the rules of one place are shifted to a new domain.
In fact, most of us see perseverance as a distinctly uncreative approach, the sort of strategy that people with mediocre ideas are forced to rely on.
Every creative journey begins with a problem. It starts with a feeling of frustration, the dull ache of not being able to find the answer. We have worked hard, but we’ve hit the wall. We have no idea what to do next.
Even when alternative views are clearly wrong, being exposed to them still expands our creative potential. In a way, the power of dissent is the power of surprise. After hearing someone shout out an errant answer, we work to understand it, which causes us to reassess our initial assumptions and try out new perspectives. “Authentic dissent can be difficult, but it’s always invigorating,
A few years ago, Tor Wager, a neuroscientist at Columbia University, wanted to figure out why placebos were so effective. His experiment was brutally straightforward: he gave college students electric shocks while they were stuck in an fMRI machine. (The subjects were well compensated, at least by undergraduate standards.)
In particular, Vaillant says, it is the experience of loving and being loved that most closely predicts how we react to the hardships of life; human attachments are the ultimate source of resilience. “The seventy-five years and twenty million dollars expended on the Grant Study points, at least to me, to a straightforward five-word conclusion,” Vaillant writes. “‘Happiness equals love. Full stop.
Just because an idea is true doesn’t mean it can be proved. And just because an idea can be proved doesn’t mean it’s true.