menu

Brad Grossman: Take Control Of Your Mind And Increase Creativity

Brad Grossman: Take Control Of Your Mind And Increase Creativity
Advertising

Founder of cultural think-tank Grossman and Partners, publisher of the Zeitguide, takes a closer look into how to best channel one's mental energies into greater creativity and efficiency.

Brad Grossman, Grossman & Partners
  • 24 march 2013

What keeps creative people at the top of their game? Brad Grossman, of ‘cultural think-tank’ Grossman and Partners, shares a few ideas with PSFK featured in their publication The Zeitguide. In the third and final of our series of posts, we look at how by channeling our energy we can actually become more creative.

That was just one of the intriguing things we discovered while writing the 2013 Zeitguide, Grossman & Partner’s annual examination of the most vital cultural conversations underway in everything from food to finance. Research is revealing that our minds are much more malleable than previously believed. We can change our habits, create new thinking patterns, and tame counterproductive distraction.

WELLBEING

The jury’s still out on whether the Quantified Self movement, the drive to “track everything” from sleep cycles to bowel movements, is leading to better health or just more hypochondriacs. But if it’s the latter, the DSM, psychiatry’s guidebook to mental disorders, will be right there to catch up in about 20 years.

When the last edition of the DSM came out in 1994, the Internet was in its infancy. But when the DSM-5 (officially: the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) arrives in May, it’s likely to include Internet Use Disorder—Internet addiction—along with a host of other hotly debated amendments. Asperger’s syndrome and dyslexia will disappear, to be folded into broader categories encompassing “autism spectrum disorder” and learning disorders. “Gender identity disorder” will become “gender dysphoria” to shed the negative spin of the word disorder.

What other disorders, er … issues are we wrestling with?

BUSY, ANXIOUS, AND LONELY

Much of the national wellness conversation was about breaking the distraction habit (see “Internet Use Disorder” above) and finding focus. As Peter Bregman put it, “The faster the waves come, the more deliberately we need to navigate.” The consultant’s advice to readers of the Harvard Business Review? Just say no. Decide what deserves attention, and also what to ignore.

Psychologist Sherry Turkle placed her attention on in-person human interaction—and unplugged solitude. Gadgets and social networks provide us with the “illusion of companionship without the demands of a relationship,” she wrote in the New York Times. “But constant Internet access isn’t the same as human connection. And if we find it impossible to be alone with our thoughts, then we will never know how to be solitary and we will always be lonely.”

The fact is, the “busy trap,” which Tim Kreider described so well, is near ubiquitous. (How are you? Crazy busy!) And so is the anxiety that both produces and results from it. Dan Smith, author of “Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety,” has a counterintuitive spin on what’s perpetuating this national disquiet: We’re too lazy to change the behavior and situations that agitate us. “Anxiety may come on like an affliction, but it persists due to habit,” he wrote.

Fortunately, we can form new habits. A brain-science spin made “habits” a best-seller-list buzzword, as Charles Duhigg tracked the neurobiology behind how cues, routines, and rewards etch their way onto our basal ganglia and drive what we do—often without our conscious participation. One takeaway: The brain alters throughout life based on our experiences, and we all have the neuroplasticity to change—for better or for worse.

THE POWER OF NEGATIVE THINKING

Positive psychology, which emphasizes such activities as keeping gratitude journals, is ever popular. But positive fantasies can be problematic, Gabriele Oettingen’s psychology lab at New York University found. Students who fantasized about winning an essay contest had less energy afterward than those who didn’t fantasize.

Enter the power of negative thinking. Oettingen and partners found that imagining obstacles helps people think through them in a practical, strategic way. Her team calls this method “mental contrasting”—setting a goal and direction, while simultaneously acknowledging your limits and the hurdles you’re likely to face. Another grounded view of the less-than-sunny side of life: Oliver Burkeman’s “The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking.”

There’s no reason, however, to feel negative if you wake up in the middle of the night—it might not be panic that’s breaking up your sleep cycle. Scientists and historians are discovering that humans, when given the chance, will sleep in segments. As we redefine the way the world works, perhaps we should redefine the way we think of sleep.

There was also good news about depression. Studies of a club drug, ketamine, which can produce hallucinations, delirium, and “pleasant dream-like states,” opened new avenues into treating depression: by speedily repairing mood-regulating brain cells damaged by stress. Yale neurobiologist Ron Duman told NPR that discovering how ketamine spurs synapse growth is the “biggest finding in the field over the last 50 years”—with the potential to offer relief to the one-third of people with depression who aren’t helped by SSRIs.

Brad Grossman is the founder of Grossman & Partners, a think-tank do-tank that explores cutting-edge ideas and produces custom content designed to stimulate curiosity, innovation and growth. To learn more about the Zeitguide, go to Zeitguide.com for a digital sampler of three chapters from the 2013 Zeitguide. Access to the whole thing—including a print edition tastefully dressed in emerald green (Pantone’s color of the year)—is also on sale on the site.

Images designed exclusively for the Zeitguide

Advertising
Trending

Turn Any Wearable Into A Mental Health Tracker

Fitness / Sport
Work Today

Amazon Is Experimenting With A 30-Hour Work Week

The online retailer is launching a pilot program that will allow a technical team to work with a considerably shortened schedule

Fitness / Sport Today

How The Rio Olympics Stood For More Than Just Games

PSFK rounds out the Rio Games with our picks for the finest moments beyond sports

Trending

Get PSFK's Latest Report: Future of Retail: Technology Primer

See All
Retail Today

Mobile Travel App Embraces Cognitive Computing

The Orlando Tourism Board is looking to IBM Watson to provide personalized local recommendations for visitors

Automotive Today

Bike-Friendly Apartment Building For Swedish Cyclists

A residential space is being designed for commuters to easily transport goods

Advertising Today

Nike Takes Over An Entire City Block With A Giant Running Track

The Unlimited Stadium is shaped like a 100-meter sole print of the brand's LunarEpic sneaker

Gaming Today

Fortune Cookie Service Brings Bad News To Your Doorstep

To promote their new delivery service Blackbox, the creators of Cards Against Humanity are delivering unfortunate messages in an edible form

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders
NEW

PSFK Op-Ed august 23, 2016

Modern Workplace Culture: No More Fat Cats Or Kissing Ass

Samar Birwadker, CEO & Co-Founder of Good & Co, on designing shared organizational values to optimize employee happiness and success

PSFK Labs Today

New Mentorship Ecosystems Benefit All Levels Of An Organization

PSFK’s Future of Work report explores how technology is being leveraged to support cross-team communication

Arts & Culture Today

This Picture Frame Could Be The Lava Lamp For A New Generation

Slow Dance makes real objects appear to move in slow motion

Work Today

Editorial Roundtable: How Will Companies Staff The Workplace Of The Future?

Managed By Q, Soma, Workbar, Primary, AltSchool and thinkPARALLAX examine the ways that a people-first workplace might disrupt the job hiring process

Arts & Culture Today

Airport Mural Puts Passengers In The Clouds

The installation in an Amsterdam terminal lets travelers float through a series of billowing 3D digital shapes

Automotive Today

DevBot Is An Intelligent, Driverless, Electric Car

The unmanned test vehicle from RoboRace is a preview of upcoming AI race models

Augmented / Virtual Reality Today

AR Ski Goggles Make Racing Down The Slopes Even More Immersive

Israeli startup RideOn weaves digital overlays into the thrill of skiing with an unconventional pair of protective eyewear

INSIGHTS COVERAGE

Rio Olympics
Innovation Coverage From The Rio Games
READ NOW

Advertising Today

Japan Wants To Make 2020 Olympic Medals From Recycled Electronic Waste

The Tokyo Games could showcase the first-ever gold, silver and bronze awards made from discarded phones and computers

Culture Today

This Small Town Has Become A Hide-and-Seek World Championship Destination

An old abandoned village in Northern Italy has become a massive playground for over one hundred competitive players

Design Today

Garmin’s New Smartwatch Is Challenging The Luxury Market

The brand adds a premium version of its popular multi-sport trainer to its accessories collection

No search results found.