on creativity, getting outside of your normal, and gamma brain waves

recently, my friend andrew plotsky (of farmrun), tipped me off to a new, incredible podcast called obsessed with design. i just finished the episode with von glitschka and von’s thinking about gamma brain waves has added complexity to my thinking about creativity and flow (i have a few posts about this sort of stuff).

during the show, von described how a book, zing, inspired him to get out of his regular work spaces in order to be more creative. a section in the book talked about how important different physical spaces are in opening up mental space to generate new ideas and get over creators block (it’s like writers block).

then von gave a tedx talk about why ideas are so hard to come up with. his pre-talk research lead him to a paper about brain waves and how ideas are formed. turns out that with gamma waves, which are the highest level of brain function AND are impossible to sustain for long periods of time, are where ideas and creative solutions come from (pardon my shorthand, haha).

von further connected these two points and concluded that this is why successful creatives have varied workspaces. spaces your frequent often create inhibitions and restraint so changing it up is important. it’s also important to be able to stay with the gamma waves for long enough (which requires focus) to allow thoughts and ideas to connect in a meaningful way.

these points just continue to deepen my ‘why i don’t do morning meetings’ thinking. having dedicated, uninterrupted blocks of time to do heavy-thinking work is so critical to me. and i know that sometimes having those blocks of time in new spaces really helps.

von’s gamma brain waves research also lines up with my friend cyndi’s research about how certain types of thinking literally consume more energy (i think she said in the form of glucose). and once you use up the glucose you have on hand/in brain you’re out. it makes sense to me that that production of gamma waves would be resource intensive.

interesting stuff…