“On youth and creativity.”

Yesterday, we discussed a 16 year old boy math whiz who solved a 350-year-old problem once posed by Sir Isaac Newton.

There is one other important take away from this story, which surrounds creativity of solutions.

When we are young, we are much more creative.  Look to the imaginary play of a child, and then watch how this play goes down, as they grow older.

I would attribute much of this fact, to the reality that as we grow older we start structuring our world in a more manageable way, due to our increased responsibilities, and this structure impedes creativity.  (Of course, I would guess there are some brain developmental processes that impact this as well.)

Part of this structure results in similar thinking, and assumptions of what can’t be.  This helps explain why a boy could figure out a solution that no one else had for hundreds of years.  It is because this boy wasn’t stifled in his creativity of how things worked, resulting in a new creative solution.

Taking this back to us, I think that the underlying creativity is never lost, just stifled, and that by pushing all of the stuffy thoughts of life, and other assumptions, out of the way, we can tap back into this mindset in a productive way.  All it takes is a little mindfulness.



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