3 ways to create your next Eureka Moment.
We all want that moment. That time when our brains go “Aha” and all of a sudden, whatever was confusing to us for so long - suddenly, makes sense. Deep rooted in the ancient world - the ‘Eureka moment’ was a moment of insight that often came from one of the nine muses, or divine sisters who brought nothing but sheer inspiration to us mortals. With the growth of the information age and our addiction to time sucking social media, it seems like seeking time to get immediately ‘inspired’ is a far reach. In addition to this, creativity doesn’t come easy to all of us.
Flashes of insight are usually the result of long incubation periods of thoughts, ideas and a lot less ‘noise’. It’s no surprise that some of our best ideas sometimes come in a shower, where - until all our devices become completely waterproof - is where we are free of distractions. But, research has shown us that you can create your own Eureka moments with the right conditions and make them happen more often.
1. Take an incubation period when you’re stuck.
A team of researchers led by Sophie Ellwood created an experiment that split individuals into three segments to generate ideas on alternative uses of a given product. Group A was given 4 consecutive minutes to work on the task, Group B was disrupted at the 2 minute mark to work on a related task and then returned to the first task and finally Group C was disrupted at the 2 minute mark to work on a completely unrelated task before returning to the original task at hand. Results showed that participants from Group C developed 40% more ideas than Group A… 40%!
The science behind this is… when presented with complex problems - the brain often gets stuck. We trace ourselves back to the same neural pathways we used again and again, resulting in extreme frustration. Moreover, if you’re frustrated - a light dose of cortisol (the stress hormone) is likely to disrupt creative thinking processes further. Our suggestion is to take a break from focusing on problem-solving by indulging in a more mundane activity (like taking a walk, a shower or walking a dog) to recharge your brain before you get back to the task.
2. Foster new ideas by interacting with more minds
We’ve all been to a networking event or had a random calendar meeting with someone and discovered that we’ve been thinking about topics in our world in a totally different way. Interacting with individuals that offer different perspectives can help you generate a variety of ideas that you’d previously not thought of. Moreover, it gives you an opportunity to learn something about approaching potential problems from a completely different angle.
3. Collect your thoughts and ideas somewhere
Whether it’s a book, a diary, your calendar or even a thought capture app like Weavit - it’s important to capture your thoughts when you’re focused so that you can leave them to ‘rest’ during a prolonged incubation period and come back to them later. Since your left brain does most of the learning and information processing, allowing your right brain to pick up and screen all thoughts and related ideas to find patterns can be just the magic you need for your next Eureka moment.