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We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

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Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

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World Renowned Bloggers

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Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

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Big Think Edge

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Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

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Signs You're About to Make a Creative Leap

April 10, 2014, 9:00 AM
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How do great discoveries come about? American physicist and author of the international bestseller Einstein's Dreams, and a professor of the sciences and humanities at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, studied 30 great discoveries of the 20 century.

It turns out getting stuck is a very wonderful thing. Don't think of it as a creative rut, but rather a sign that you're nearing a breakthrough.

Rejoice in Getting Stuck

"When we’re stuck the unconscious mind roams over lots of possibilities, goes outside of the box,” says Lightman. “And so when you’re stuck, instead of giving up, instead of thinking that you failed, you should rejoice. You should celebrate, because you are on the edge of making a discovery and you should honor that, that stuckness and embrace it.”

Prepare Your Mind

Discoveries depend on years of training. In the major discoveries that he studied, not one was made by an amateur. "Even though there were accidents that happened, even though scientists got stuck and then overcame their stuckness – the scientists all had prepared minds," explains Lightman. “Study the craft. Learn the tools of the trade. Then you are ready for a creative leap.”

Don't Wait for Inspiration

Work towards inspiration, and it will come, eventually. “I don’t think that you can wait for inspiration. It will happen when it happens. And it’s a wonderful experience when you do feel that inspiration, but I know that I, when I’m writing, especially when I’m writing fiction, I force myself to write every day,” he says. "I may not feel like writing some days. I may throw 90 percent into the garbage can of what I write that day. But just getting the habits, getting the juices flowing is important. And then the inspiration will come when it comes.”

Watch a clip from the latest installment of Big Think's Edge:

 

Signs You're About to Make ...

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