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creativity, free thinking, ideas

How Risky Is Your Brain? (and what on earth are the Amygdalae?!)

There are three things that have had a profound effect on my life:

1). Nearly drowning in a swimming pool, aged 2, in Portugal.
2). Reading Richard Branson’s Losing My Virginity
3). Watching Man on Wire – the documentary about high wire artist Philippe Petit

Reading Seth Godin’s Linchpin you are led to believe that there are two voices in your head and that the lizard brain (the side of the brain that puts up resistance) is the larger section of the brain which has keeps persuading the amygdalae (the parts of the brain that are responsible for the processing and memory of emotional reaction) to play safe.

I actually think that it has not always been this way. Think back to when you were a child. You took bigger risks. You performed in the lead role in your school play. You played violin in front of hundreds of parents. I believe that at this time in your life, your lizard brain is smaller than your amygdalae and so there is less resistance. You are free to do things without first thinking about the emotional stigma attached to them. The result – a more expressive, creative YOU!

And then somewhere (normally between 11 and 18) you lost it. Your mojo was gone!

Some people attribute this to the regimented style of teaching in schools. Others simply say, “That’s what happens when you grow up!” (these people are also disguised as ‘dream stealers’).

I recently posted a discussion on LinkedIn entitled, “How do you get into your creative zone” http://bit.ly/ckhgCr
Some of the responses were fascinating and show that there are people out there who are not afraid to think openly.

I will be going to EuroDisney in Paris this week. I know a few people will say, “You have no kids and you’re 30. Why on earth would you go there?” I am going there because:

a). It is fun
b). You are entering an entirely different world to what you are used to
c). It allows you to use your imagination and open your mind – if you do this, nothing is impossible and you can use this approach in business to bring wonderful ideas to people throughout the world.

When was the last time you stopped caring what your peers thought and did something that made you feel like a child again?
How did this positively affect your business/life?

Image – ‘Man on Wire’ (2008)

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About David Lowe

Founder / editor at Origin of Cool (www.originofcool.com) and World Sport Bloopers (http://www.worldsportbloopers.com). Talk to me about building online communities, social media, online advertising and cool stuff. Love ping pong!


6 thoughts on “How Risky Is Your Brain? (and what on earth are the Amygdalae?!)

  1. No way – go to Parc Astérix! 😀

    Posted by Michelle | June 28, 2010, 10:04
  2. I suppose in general people are afraid of taking risks because that means taking a leap out of their comfort zone. Consideration should obviously be used while pondering over whether a risk is worth taking, but fear is something that will only hold you back. Sometimes caring about what your peers think about that is smart, sometimes not.

    That being said, I would take the baddest roller coaster ride in Disneyland any day 😀

    Posted by Saara Bergström | June 28, 2010, 19:33
    • Nice comment Saara. ‘Comfort zone’ is the key expression and working out how to get out of it. Regarding rollercoasters, my wife still jokes about me screaming the loudest she’s ever heard anyone scream when we went on the Little Mermaid ride in Disney Sea, Japan!!

      Posted by sneezyhead | June 28, 2010, 20:44
  3. awesome post.

    definitely the right brain is responsible for most of our creative behaviour and left is responsible for organisation and logical thinking. they shouldn´t be opposed and in fact we need to train them both.

    in regards to creativity, I found great inspiration in the book “Unleash your creativity (52 brilliant ideas)” and doing anything that frees me from thinking secuencially for a while, be it drawing (awfully), reading comics or modelling mosters or houses.

    have fun in Disneyland!!!

    Posted by Xavier Izaguirre | July 9, 2010, 18:45
  4. Thanks Xavier! Will definitely check out the book you recommended. What inspires you to be creative?
    EuroDisney was cool and found some inspiration for things I am working on at the moment. Would love to see photos of any monsters you have created.

    Posted by sneezyhead | July 9, 2010, 19:16

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