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We Can All Be Creative

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Many neuroscientists are beginning to say we can all be creative.

Indeed, Sir Ken Robinson, an educator not a neuroscientist believes we are all creative. That children, at least, are born creative and then it is pounded out of them in school. Such creativity disappears, he says, by about age seven or eight.

Dr. Richard Restak in his book, Mozart's Brain, uses the words "plastic" and "malleable" to describe the brain. He believes that we can be whatever we choose to be, and we can "preselect the kind of brain [we] will have by choosing richly valued experiences."

Clearly, we are entering the age of the new brain where new technologies like genetic mapping and imaging reveal to us for the first time the mysterious secrets hidden within our skulls.

The whole field of neuroscience has grown tremendously, and the research, which began in earnest only recently, continues at an even more rapid pace, particularly in the field of the arts and education.

In the 1990s a Proclamation by the President of the United States, together with a joint resolution of Congress, declared the "Decade of the Brain."

Suddenly, the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Mental Health and other Federal research agencies, were comparing notes with each other and the efforts of thousands of scientists and health care professionals in universities across the country.

Among other findings that came out of 10 years of unusual collaboration was that both hemispheres of the brain work in tandem to achieve maximum productivity, a phenomenon that author and educator Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi, calls FLOW.

FLOW, writes Csíkszentmihályi, is a "mental state of operation in which a person in an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement and success in the process of the activity."

Dan Pink, author of A Whole New Mind: Moving from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age, says the MFA is the new MBA and argues that the demand for right brain and whole brain thinkers is on the horizon.

IBM, according to FAST Company Magazine reported "creativity is now the most important leadership quality for success in business, outweighing even integrity and global thinking."

The Conference Board also released its study called "Ready to Innovate," which agrees, stating: "U.S. employers rate creativity and innovation among the top five skills that will increase in importance over the next five years, and rank it among the top challenges facing CEOs."

Dr. Richard Restak in his book, Mozart's Brain, uses the words "plastic" and "malleable" to describe the brain. He believes that we can be creative by acquiring the right series of "repertoires"; that we can "preselect the kind of brain (we) will have by choosing richly valued experiences." In short, he and many other neuroscientists are beginning to conclude that we all have the capacity to be creative.

Whether we can all be Picasso or Einstein is another matter. We can all be creative and a productive member of the emerging Creative and Innovative economy.

There is hope.