Unfocus To Activate Your Creativity

Recent comments from Joe Cavallo and others, have inspired me to do a review about creativity and decision-making. In May 2017, Harvard Business Review, Srini Pillay MD and CEO of the NeuroBusiness Group, wrote a very interesting article summarizing new research in the area of gaining creativity. In keeping with recent research, both focus and unfocus are vital to activating creativity. The brain performs best when it toggles between focus and unfocus, allowing you to develop resilience, enhance creativity, and as well as make better decisions.

When you unfocus, you engage a brain circuit called the “default mode network.” Abbreviated as the DMN, we used to think of this circuit as the “Do Mostly Nothing” circuit because it only came on when you stopped focusing. Yet, when “at rest,” this circuit still uses 20% of the body’s energy.

The DMN needs this energy because it is actually doing everything but resting. Hiding under the brain’s conscious radar, it activates old memories and goes back and forth between the past, present, and future. Using this new and previously inaccessible data, you develop enhanced self-awareness and a sense of personal relevance. It also allows you to imagine creative solutions and predict future outcomes. The DMN helps you tune into other people’s mindsets and feelings, thereby improving team understanding and cohesion.

There are many simple and effective ways to activate this circuit in the course of a day.

Using positive constructive daydreaming (PCD):
PCD is a type of mind-wandering different from slipping into a daydream or guiltily rehashing worries. When you build it into your day deliberately, it can boost your creativity, strengthen your leadership ability, and also-re-energize your brain. To start PCD, you choose a low-key activity such as knitting, gardening, or casual reading and then wander into the recesses of your mind. But unlike slipping into a daydream, you might first imagine something playful and wishful—like running through the woods, or laying on a yacht. Then you swivel your attention from the external world to the internal space of your mind with this image in mind, while still doing the low-key activity.

PCD activates the DMN and changes the tools your brain uses to find information. While focused attention is like a fork—picking up conscious thought,  PCD like a combination of a spoon, scooping up the delicious mélange of flavors of your identity (the scent of your grandmother, the feeling of satisfaction with the first bite of apple-pie on a crisp fall day), chopsticks for connecting ideas across your brain (to enhance innovation), and a marrow spoon for getting into the nooks and crannies of your brain to pick up long-lost memories that are a vital part of your identity. In this state, your sense of “self” is enhanced—which, according to Warren Bennis, is the essence of leadership.

Taking a nap:
In addition to building in time for PCD, leaders can also consider napping. Not all naps are the same. When your brain is in a slump, your clarity and creativity are compromised. After a 10-minute nap, studies show that you become much clearer and alert. But if it’s a creative task you will likely need a full 90 minutes for more complete brain refreshing. Your brain requires this longer time to make more associations and dredge up ideas that are in the nooks and crannies of your memory network.

Pretending to be someone else:
When you’re stuck in a creative process, unfocus may also come to the rescue when you embody and live out an entirely different personality.  John Madden, when facing a difficult problem, would say  – “I think of somebody really smart, and ask myself what would they do.” In 2016, educational psychologists Denis Dumas and Kevin Dunbar found that people who try to solve creative problems are more successful if they behave more like an eccentric poet than a rigid librarian. When in a creative deadlock, try this exercise of embodying a different identity. It will likely get you out of your own head, and allow you to think from another person’s perspective.

For years, focus has been the venerated ability amongst all abilities. Since we spend 46.9% of our days with our minds wandering away from a task at hand, we crave the ability to keep it fixed and on task. Yet, if we built PCD and 10- or 90- minute naps into our routines, we would likely preserve focus for when we need it, and use it much more efficiently too. More importantly, unfocus will allow us to update information in the brain, giving us access to deeper parts of ourselves and enhancing our agility, creativity, and decision-making.

Free yourself.. Lighten up your focus. Be more creative!


  1. At this time it appears like BlogEngine is the best blogging platform out there right now. (from what I’ve read) Is that what you’re using on your blog?

  2. I’m not that much of a online reader to be honest but your blogs really nice, keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back in the future. All the best

  3. I want to express my thanks to the writer just for rescuing me from such a predicament. Right after searching throughout the the net and getting proposals that were not productive, I believed my entire life was done. Existing minus the strategies to the problems you’ve fixed by way of the guideline is a critical case, and the kind which may have in a wrong way affected my career if I had not discovered your blog. Your own skills and kindness in controlling the whole lot was very useful. I am not sure what I would have done if I had not come across such a thing like this. I’m able to now look forward to my future. Thanks a lot so much for the high quality and results-oriented guide. I will not be reluctant to propose your web site to anyone who ought to have recommendations on this subject matter.

  4. Thanks for the tips you are revealing on this site. Another thing I’d really like to say is that getting hold of duplicates of your credit score in order to look at accuracy of each and every detail may be the first measures you have to accomplish in fixing credit. You are looking to thoroughly clean your credit reports from damaging details problems that mess up your credit score.

  5. I really appreciate this post. I have been looking everywhere for this! Thank goodness I found it on Bing. You have made my day! Thanks again

  6. I’ve learn a few just right stuff here. Definitely value bookmarking for
    revisiting. I wonder how a lot attempt you place to make the sort of fantastic informative site.

  7. I just could not go away your site before suggesting that I extremely loved the standard info a person provide for
    your visitors? Is going to be again incessantly to check out new posts

  8. Hello there, You’ve done a fantastic job. I’ll certainly digg it and personally suggest to my friends. I’m sure they will be benefited from this site.

  9. It is the best time to make some plans for the future and it is
    time to be happy. I’ve read this post and if I could I wish to suggest you few
    interesting things or tips. Perhaps you can write next
    articles referring to this article. I wish to read more things about it!

  10. Do you mind if I quote a couple of your posts as long as I provide credit and sources back to your weblog?
    My blog is in the exact same area of interest as yours and my users would
    truly benefit from some of the information you provide here.

    Please let me know if this alright with you. Regards!

  11. Hmm is anyone else having problems with the images on this
    blog loading? I’m trying to determine if its a problem
    on my end or if it’s the blog. Any responses would be greatly appreciated.

  12. Tremendous issues here. I’m very glad to look your article.
    Thanks so much and I’m looking forward to touch you. Will you please drop me a e-mail?

  13. Hello there I am so happy I found your site,
    I really found you by mistake, while I was looking on Digg for
    something else, Anyways I am here now and would just like to say thanks a lot for a
    marvelous post and a all round enjoyable blog (I also
    love the theme/design), I don’t have time to browse it all at
    the moment but I have bookmarked it and also added
    in your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read more, Please do
    keep up the excellent jo.

  14. Hi everybody, here evgery person is sharing ѕuch know-һow, thеrefore it’s fastidious tо
    reaԁ thiѕ weblog, аnd Ι uѕed to go to see
    thіs wrbsite daily.

    Аlso visit my web-site … payday loans eldon mo

  15. Furthermore, i believe that mesothelioma is a uncommon form of many forms of cancer that is usually found in people previously familiar with asbestos. Cancerous cells form inside the mesothelium, which is a defensive lining that covers the vast majority of body’s organs. These cells commonly form inside lining with the lungs, stomach, or the sac which actually encircles one’s heart. Thanks for revealing your ideas.

  16. Commande Cialis 20 Mg Viagra Aux Encheres buy generic cialis online Soft Cialis Online Achat Kamagra Super Active 25 Mg

  17. Hi there, the whole thing is going fine here and
    ofcourse every one is sharing facts, that’s actually excellent, keep up

Leave a Reply