Allow eureka moments to occur | Sunday Observer

Allow eureka moments to occur

27 August, 2023

If you don’t get out of the box you’ve been raised in, you won’t understand how much bigger the world is. Angelina Jolie

All of us have brains, but only a few people get brilliant ideas. How does this happen? A closer look at the problem would reveal that anyone can get brilliant ideas, provided they work hard for them. The brain is the most complex object in the world.

Every second, more than ten billion neurons send electrochemical signals round your head at speeds of up to 400 kilometres an hour. However, we are unable to locate the inventor within us. Therefore, an effort should be made to revive the inventor lying dormant in us.

Those who have some experience in life will realise that the greatest eureka moments occur only when we remain active. For instance, they occur when we are swimming, walking briskly or even relaxing. The importance of physical exercises can be cited as a potent source of brilliant ideas.

When you exercise your body, the conscious brain can get into a relaxed state, something similar to what happens when you meditate. On such occasions, your brain turns out to be creative. When you do some exercises in the morning, your mind gets clearer than when you are relaxing.

Brilliant ideas are like birds. They would fly away unless you catch them at the right moment. Since ideas are abstract notions, you cannot catch them and put them in cages. The only way to retain brilliant ideas that occur abruptly is to record them in a notebook.

Writers, scientists and poets keep several notebooks. In addition to the notebook they carry with them, they keep notebooks in the bedroom and in the study. It is the only way to record the brilliant ideas you get occasionally.

Constructive criticism

If you have someone to discuss your brilliant ideas, it will be very useful. You need constructive criticism from someone knowledgeable. They are the only people who would tell you the strengths and weaknesses of your ideas. However, most of us are not lucky to enjoy the friendship with such people.

Another way to get brilliant ideas is to change your environment from time to time. Those who are engaged in permanent jobs will find it difficult to change their environment at will. However, even they can temporarily move into a different part of the country when holidaying. When you are in a new surrounding, creative ideas begin to click easily. A change in environment makes you more alive to your surroundings.

Even if you are pursuing higher studies or engaged in a demanding livelihood, you can find time to gaze up at the formation of clouds and watch how the sun disappears and reappears suddenly in the evening. At such times your brain begins to get new ideas.

A British inventor said, “Clouds are unique and abstract and they are without associations. Such a view would set free the brain from rigid lines of thought and allow it to form brilliant ideas.”

Fresh ideas

According to cognitive scientist Prof. Steven Pinker, unlike the body, the brain does not work from nine to five. In fact, the brain works all the time. When you put a problem aside to be considered later, it actually incubates in the unconscious. Then without warning, a solution will present itself.

Most people who lead stressful lives may not understand the value of such brain activities. One day they will realise that the brain will find a solution to their pressing problems. If you are burdened with a problem, just walk away from the stressful environment. When you do so, you will begin to get fresh ideas you had never imagined.

People with novel ideas do not follow conventions because they seek new possibilities in every situation. Inventors think like children who do not put brakes on their thinking. Give an empty tin and a short stick to a child and see what he will do. He will use the empty tin and the stick as musical instruments. If you give the same things to an adult, he will wonder what to do with them. It clearly proves that inventors think out of the box.

Creative ideas will come to you only if you think outside the box. On the other hand, most inventors are dreamers. Unlike the dreams of ordinary people, inventors’ dreams are fascinating and marketable.

Inventors are great risk-takers. They pay attention to their ideas, announce them aloud and act on them. The great American inventor Thomas Edison used to sit in a chair with ball bearings in his hand and trying to have a nap. Soon he would enter the ‘hypnogogic state’ between wakefulness and sleep. When he was relaxed enough, the ball bearings would drop to the floor and he would start jotting down the ideas that popped into his head.

Intellectual self-confidence

Mike Kelly used to sleep with a pen by his side and often wake up with novel ideas. Then he would write them down in his notebook. Not only inventors but also creative people such as authors, poets and scientists keep their pens and notebooks ready to record brilliant ideas.

They have a rare quality known as ‘intellectual self-confidence.’ This is a vital element when you navigate along a solitary path. What is more, they are not easily discouraged. Even if their creations are rejected, they have the tenacity to push forward.

Rob Walker was riding the metro in Paris, looking out of the dark blank tunnel when he got a bright idea. He printed 75 posters, attached them to stakes and fixed them to the ground beside a Winnipeg boulevard. Driving along the road, he videoed the posters. When he checked the results, he found a full motion video. Walker came out with a parable. Think of fleas in a closed jar. The fleas would try to come out of the jar by hitting the jar-lid with their tiny bodies. After some time they realise that they would never be able to come out of the jar.

A person with brilliant ideas will never follow the example of the fleas. He will never put limitations on himself or let his surroundings limit his attempts.

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