The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.
The eight multiple intelligences described by Howard Gardner offer plenty of options for the novelty-seeker. Though each of us is endowed with all eight of the multiple intelligences, generally we rely on the same few. We tend to choose the ones that work best for us or that draw our interest.
If you stay within intelligence comfort zones, you fall into familiar ruts. So here’s a rich menu of suggestions for experimenting with your eight types of creative intelligence. Choose an activity or two to try that’s out of your comfort zone to stretch learning and build new dendrites, as Dr. Ellen Weber puts it.
Image by Dierk Schaefer
1. Social or Interpersonal
Discuss, exchange ideas, and build relationships
David Rock suggests creating your own “dopamine-rich salons,” – events you create to “connect socially and have complex, rich positive conversations with a mix of people you know and some you don’t.”
Try collaborating by working with someone who has complementary skills: if you’re a big picture person, find someone detail-oriented; if you’re spatially oriented, find someone lyrical. New insights will catch jet-streams.
Invite someone from another culture to your home. When you invite someone into your home, you open your heart as well and you open new understandings together.
Attend concerts, play an instrument, hum melodies, sing with others, enjoy rhythms
I used to play trombone in high school. Wonder what would happen if I bought another and played trombone second time around? Maybe you have played an instrument in the past that is now dusty. Try it and see what it might do to rejuvenate improvisation in other areas! Those who play musical instruments are better at associative thinking, according to Carla Florin in Psychology Today. So dust off your old guitar.
Why not move your body to music since music moves your brain waves.
Karaoke – a simple mike and background music can stir your sense of melody and lift your heart in joy. Meanwhile your brain anticipates songs on the CD and as you prepare to sing, “excitatory signals passed from the prefrontal cortex to the premotor cortex, preparing the body to act – perhaps to move or to sing.” What difference might this make to you? We have a lot of sequences that we need to store in order to predict what we should do. And that’s why playing an instrument, singing, dancing or even listening to music can help the brain transfer ideas in new ways.
Have you ever used music at work to jack up productivity or change your mood? Interestingly some rhythms induce enzymes in the brain and add amazing well being. Other tunes leave you punchy … and unable to focus. Has it happened to you?
Paint, draw, design web pages, design rooms, make cards, create logos, map out routes, mind mapping
Why not participate in Pecha Kucha? Use Pecha Kucha presentations to stimulate your mind and challenge yourself. “Few things – except, perhaps, Apple computer products and Moleskine notebooks – have been embraced by designers of all stripes so quickly and universally as Pecha Kucha Night has.” Architect Magazine (US).
Want to try novel entries to spatial intelligence? See what works for you…
Capture an idea by creating a video. Camcorders are smaller and lighter and your video is easily edited and enhanced with user friendly software.
Take a course in architecture at a local college and see how hidden design skills begin to surface.
What about new colors in your surroundings. Color your surroundings blue – whether cubicle or office since blue’s a color that boosts creativity. See what difference it makes. Interestingly, there’s a switchboard in the brain that helps us learn and remember simultaneously.
Play sports, enjoy movement, walk on tours, notice body language
I enjoy golf, brisk walks and hiking as a way to get daily exercise. But these can get to be routine so I’d like to punctuate these with something new and fresh, like Wii MotionPlus Grand Slam Tennis, or Tiger Woods PGA Tour.
Or swim regularly, play basketball in the gym, surf to ride the waves, or do pilates to get your heart beating fast.
A new study confirms that exercise can reverse the age-related decline in the production of neural stem cells in the hippocampus of the mouse brain, and suggests that this happens because exercise restores a brain chemical which promotes the production and maturation of new stem cells.
Solve problems, balance checkbooks, create schedules, budget money
Ever try using numbers as a way to look at another topic? Joanna Young tried using the number 9 as the number of writing strategies she shared with readers to show how different ways of writing change things. Using numbers actually changed the way Joanna wrote. Using number 9 as a goal to write to “can shift things for us, inside, according to Joanna, by “opening up a sense of creativity, playfulness, the freedom to dream dreams and explore what’s possible.” Earlier, Joanna wrote, 7 Ways to Write With Numbered Lists.
Music is actually based on number patterns. How many “friends” have you made through social media connections? The more genuine connections you have, the more “social capital” you have. You begin to see ways the brain on numbers helps us understand other topics.
Analysis, predictions and real-world manipulation of models helps foster creative problem solving.
Keep a personal journal, read alone, meditate, study to answer personal questions
Some call Intrapersonal intelligence learned common sense, Dr. Ellen Weber finds, because you intuitively cultivate values and learn from teachable moments. Whatever it’s named, do you intrapersonally inspire others to renew ethically with the brain in mind?
To stimulate Intrapersonal intelligence creatively, write a letter to an expert on something you wonder about. Or challenge yourself to develop and present strategies to accomplish a learning task for an audience you would not ordinarily consider working with. Help yourself conquer a problem by reading a self-help book and keeping a diary of your accomplishment in that area. Reward yourself when you feel you have accomplished your goal. As you do these activities, you build more dendrite brain cells for intrapersonal intelligence. Your brain literally rewires at night as you sleep based on what you do in the day.
Collect specimens, garden, follow animal footprints, photograph landscapes
Have you ever been stuck for new ideas as you sit at your desk? The familiarity of your office or cubicle might stifle creative thinking. How so? The basal ganglia, the part of the brain that stores routines and patterns based on daily activities, is not the best well-spring of creativity.
Even though your imagination can take flight as you sit at that desk, unfortunately familiarity can slow you down. What can you do then when you’re at your desk and no new ideas come your way? Here’s a suggestion – tap into your naturalistic intelligence.
As I garden, I find a peace and a closeness to the earth. It releases tensions… new ideas pop into my mind. In what ways does nature make a difference to you?
Listening to my grandsons as we walk in the woods shows me new perspectives as I see the natural world through their eyes.
Take off your shoes and go barefoot to waken sensory awareness!
Tell stories, write essays, participate in interviews, converse easily with peers
If you edit as you write, you can stop the flow of ideas. To enhance flow, avoid editing as you write.
Reading helps you think of new possibilities. I find this to be true as I read others’ blogs. How about you? Unleash your brain’s thinking box by reading.
Just by thinking of a metaphor, ideas stir new ideas in my mind. Metaphors can make the strange familiar and the familiar strange. Here are just a few ways…
- Seasons of the Mind: a Metaphor for Creative Thinking
- The Magic of Metaphor
- The Collective Is The Focus Group
- Liz Straus’s Complete Metaphor Project Listing and Winners
- Robert Hruzek’s What I Learned from… Metaphors for Life
Using more of your multiple intelligences – especially those outside your comfort zone – helps you stretch your brain in new ways. Bear in mind that you’ll be using your working memory, which can cause you discomfort at first. Test it out to see if novel experiences help you see new associations as you reach for creative ideas or solutions to problems.
Jumpstart Your Creativity
The right tools harness the power of your creativity. Your brain thrives on organization so these tips based on brain research can unleash invention, as well as expand and preserve it. According to Robert Epstein, “there are ‘four core competencies’ of creative expression:”
- Capturing – preserve your new ideas
- Surrounding – surround yourself with interesting people and things
- Challenging – tackle tough problems
- Broadening – expand your knowledge
Start with your curiosity… and enjoy the journey!
Interestingly, creativity’s not only Big A for arts, but also tackling anything you do in a creative way, from organizing your desk to cooking, housecleaning and hobbies. Inventive people share tendencies of open-mindedness, persistence, intrinsic motivation, positive outlook and curiosity.
Step outside your comfort zones and you’ll discover new sources of creativity in your amazing brain.
How Do You Use Your Multiple Intelligences?
Which of your multiple intelligences are you most/least comfortable using?
Have you ever experimented with using a neglected type of intelligence? What did you learn?