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Mentalrobics™

You exercise your body to stay physically in shape, so why shouldn't you exercise your brain to stay mentally fit? With these daily exercises you will learn how to flex your mind, improve your creativity and boost your memory. As with any exercise, repetition is necessary for you to see improvement, so pick your favorite exercises from our daily suggestions and repeat them as desired. Try to do some mentalrobics every single day!

A creative idea is one that somehow changes the existing knowledge of a particular field. This field may be anything from art to science to politics to sports. Before a person is capable of contributing a creative idea that advances our knowledge, that person must obtain mastery of the existing knowledge in that field. If a person has never studied physics, then they are not going to be able to come up with a creative idea in that field. Einstein was an expert in physics, which enabled him to push past the boundaries of knowledge and come up with creative thoughts that advanced our culture.

The more society learns about a field, the more difficult it becomes for an individual to master that area of knowledge. As a result, as society progresses, it takes more education for someone to get to the point where they are pushing the boundaries of knowledge. Albert Einstein had to learn more than Isaac Newton and current physicists will have to learn more than Einstein.

Because it takes longer to master the knowledge of mature fields, creativity is more likely to occur in new fields that require less effort to master or in the crossover between two unrelated fields. For example, biology and engineering are both mature fields of knowledge. Some creative people started producing ideas that merged the two disciplines and now we have a new field called "bioengineering" which is ripe for having lots of creative ideas.

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Creativity is a mental activity that results in the development of innovative or insightful ideas that change a field of knowledge in a certain way. This means that creativity is a relative term. An idea that was very creative a hundred years ago would probably not be called creative by today's standards. In order for something to be creative, it must contribute something new to society. Thus, an idea cannot be called creative until society judges it to be creative.

In "Creativity" by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the author describes three different types of creativity.

The first type of creativity is actually an incorrect definition and pertains to people who are interesting and fun to be around. They have stimulating ideas and appear to be intelligent, witty people. These people may produce creative ideas that contribute something new to society, but not necessarily. For clarity we will call these people "brilliant" instead of creative.

The second type of creativity is called "personal creativity" and refers to people who are insightful and produce ideas that would be classified as creative, but they are either ahead of their time or keep their ideas to themselves.

The third type of creativity refers to people or ideas that change our culture in significant ways. Thomas Edison and his light bulb would be a good example of a truly creative person and his creative idea.

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Sometimes, a creative idea is very similar to an existing idea, but has subtle differences. In order to express your unique idea, you'll need to be able to come up with words to describe these nuances. This exercise will help.

How many creative synonyms can you find for the following words? As you come up with each synonym, try to picture in your mind the small differences between the synonym and the original word.

Wet
Some examples are: drenched (very wet), moist (slightly wet)... there are least 30 more synonyms for you to discover.

Grumpy
We thought of surly (a little gruffer than grumpy) and cross (more frustrated than grumpy)...Try for 20 more synonyms.

Pick any word and repeat this exercise as many times as you wish. This practice will help you express the nuances of your creative idea.

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Drawing on nearly one hundred interviews with creative people in every field and thirty years of research on the subject of creativity, Professor Csikszentmihalyi uses his famous "Flow" theory to explain the creative process and show how creativity can enrich all of us.

See this book at Amazon.com

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Whether you are defining a problem statement, having a brainstorm, or just tossing around some ideas, try to use positive words. Our minds can process positive statements faster than negative statements. Take the two questions below as examples. Which one is easier to understand?

1. Should we allow drunken people to drive?
2. Should we not allow drunken people to drive?

The second question takes a little longer to understand because you have to process the 'not' and flip your answer around. If you avoid using negatives, you will have a faster and more efficient thinking process.

On a related note, try to keep a positive attitude. Nothing makes a brainstorm worse than a grumpy participant.

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