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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!

For each of the following statements, come up with at least two plausible reasons why they are true. Now, come up with at least two plausible reasons why they are false. This exercise will help you to see that issues often have different sides to them.

1. Guns are dangerous.
2. Traveling by airplane is safer than traveling by car.
3. Water causes brain damage.

You can repeat this exercise by using any subjective statement that you can find.

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Icebreakers are little exercises that help relax tensions and loosen up a formal atmosphere in a meeting where you want to have creative ideas and group participation.

The "Visual Puns" game is a fun activity that gets people thinking creatively. Pick an ordinary object such as a stapler or trashcan. As you pass the object around the room, each person must think of something that the object looks or acts like. For example, a stapler could be an alligator, some castanets or a catapult. A trashcan could be a hat, a soup bowl or a swimming pool for a beetle. Let your imaginations run wild and encourage wild ideas.

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Many people think of creative ideas as popping into the creators head like a light bulb turning on. In reality, this is rarely the case. Creative ideas are usually the result of much hard work over a long period of time. Even Edison's light bulb, which is so often used as a symbol for the creativity, was only invented after thousands of experiments and over two years of research.

Because creative ideas are often the result of hard work, it can be difficult to teach people how to think more creatively. Often, it is more productive to change the working environment and make the conditions more conducive to creative thinking. Obstacles such as risk and deadlines or a lack of opportunities to explore areas that spark our curiosity can easily suppress creative behavior.

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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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