Creativity is the ability to think in new ways – to be original. This includes three things.
- Fluency: the ease and rapidity with which you can think of new ideas
- Flexibility: to see things in new ways
- Originality: to produce ideas that are unique and have never been done before.
To be creative we have to generate a lot of ideas. Quantity is important because quantity creates quality. Most of our ideas may not be good but one may be good quality and change the way we do things. You just produce more and from everything you select the best. Mind maps can help you be creative. This is because you brain thinks radiantly and explosively just like a mind map and uses the full range of left brain and right-brain skills.
Leonardo da Vinci once said, “Everything in some way connects to everything else.” So when you are trying to create and not thinking for a possible use or association, just give your brain some other item. Then your brain will go into its synergistic association mode and find a link. The more you do this, the faster your brain will do it and create really original ideas. It will help you create paradigm shifts.
Both imagination and association are important not only to create but also to improve your memory. Creativity and memory are often intertwined and improving your memory will improve your creativity and vice versa.
To increase the power of your imagination these are some things that you can try:
- Exaggeration: making things dramatic helps memory
- Humour: making things more ridiculous and outrageous helps memory
- Senses: Engaging your senses-sight, touch, smell, hearing and taste helps memory
- Colour: Adding colour increases memory
- Rhythm: Movement and rhythm helps memory
- Positive thinking: Thinking positively and of things you like helps memory
- Mind maps: Mind maps use both sides of the brain and help memory
- Image: A picture is worth a thousand words.
To increase association we can look for or use:
- Patterns: Always look for patterns in things that you want to remember
- Numbering: Numbering information in order can help you remember lists of facts
- Symbols and pictures
- Mind maps
Making mind maps and using the above principles will help memory.
“Repetition is the mother of all learning”. There is a specific formula for how often you should go over information to fix it in your long-term memory. This is as follows:
- 1st review: Just after you first learnt it
- 2nd review: One day after you first learnt it
- 3rd review: One week after you first learnt it.
- 4th review: One month after you first learnt it
- 5th review: Three to six months after you first learn it.
The other important thing is taking study breaks because your brain retains more from the beginning and the end of the study session than from the middle. Ideally your study sessions should last 45 minutes with a 5-10 minute break, when you relax, step out in the fresh air and move around.
So by using mind maps, imagination, association and repetition we can increase our memory and creativity.