In search of the ‘eureka’ moment

Reality is wonderfully comforting, concrete and beyond dispute. Or is it? Those who work in the world of ideas take nothing for granted. They understand it’s necessary to test ‘reality’, to challenge assumptions that are often perspectives dressed up as facts. Scientists do it, artists do it, visionary business leaders do it. “One way of opening ourselves up to new opportunities is to make conscious efforts to look differently at our ordinary situations,” creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson writes in his latest book, The Element. The challenge is to embed creative thinking in daily life, to deliberately play with perspectives to enable reframing and better decision-making, argues psychology researcher Maria Konnikova. She cites a famous 1931 problem-solving experiment where participants had to tie together two strings, hung from the ceiling but seemingly impossible to reach simultaneously. Most people struggled; some found elegant solutions by allowing themselves to think more creatively about their predicament. “This study was one of the first to shed light on the power of insight, or the ‘eureka’ moment,” Konnikova writes. “It also underlined how crucial it can be to be flexible in your perspective, to challenge yourself to see the world in a less-than-obvious way.”

 

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