Persistance Is the Essence of Creativity

According to recent neurological insight, the muse is more apt to reward long periods of sustained concentration than intermittent fits of vision.

What's the Latest Development?


According to recent neurological insight, the muse is more apt to reward long periods of sustained concentration than intermittent fits of vision. The reason is that lots of brain activity occurs below the depths of consciousness. As writer and neuroscience David Eagleman said: "All of our lives--our cognition, our thoughts, our beliefs--all of these are underpinned by these massive lightning storms of [electrical] activity [in our brains,] and yet we don't have any awareness of it. What we find is that our brains have colossal things happening in them all the time." So just because you don't feel inspired doesn't mean your brain isn't whizzing with untapped creativity.

What's the Big Idea?

Artists from Peter Tchaikovsky to Chuck Close have recognized the importance of sitting down to work whether one feels particularly inspired or not. Creative work entails digging for innovation that may lurk deep inside you. "When insights seem to come out of nowhere--for instance, say, while you suds up in the shower--they, in fact, come from somewhere. An oft-cited paper...contends that 'although the experience of insight is sudden and can seem disconnected from the immediately preceding thought, these studies show that insight is the culmination of a series of brain states and processes operating at different time scales.'"

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

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