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Brainhack by Neil Pavitt

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38 Think Like Goldilocks

“Creativity comes from conscious facts planted in the unconscious and allowed to germinate.”

Bertrand Russell

As I've mentioned in previous chapters, the unconscious mind plays a very important role in coming up with ideas. But you need to create the right conditions for this to happen. And this brainhack is all about how you create those conditions. There's no guarantee ideas will pop up from your unconscious, but it's like planting a seed; if you plant it in a sunny spot in good soil and give it plenty of water, you've given it the best chance to grow.

One of the most common misconceptions is that “creative” people have these “light bulb moments” that just pop into their heads as if from nowhere. But no one has great ideas without thinking about a problem for a long time. It only seems to come out of nowhere because it comes from your unconscious. They never just appear without a lot of hard work.

John Lennon spent five hours trying to write a song “that was meaningful and good”. Finally he gave up and lay down. “Then Nowhere Man came, words and music, the whole damn thing, as I lay down…So letting it go is what the whole game is.”

If you work hard on a problem and are passionate about finding a solution, your unconscious mind will then deem it worthy of putting its processing power behind it. But one of the side effects of working hard on something is that you're likely ...

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