How to unleash the creative mind after being "conditioned" to the academ - (Nov/08/2012 )
I'm coming to realize that just because you can memorize a bunch of random facts for a test and score excellent grades doesn't make you a good researcher. Also, just because you're technically capable of conducting an experiment proficiently from beginning to end isn't the only quality of a good researcher. I know the science (i.e. what's going on inside my tube) and I'm great with my hands; however, when it comes to determining what to do next I'm absolutely useless (unless it basic and obvious). Oddly, I used to be very creative, but a lifetime of rote memorization and droning over busy work has depleted me to the point that I just feel uncreative, stressed, and anxious all the time. Has anyone successfully decompressed from this mindset?
If you are talking about being creative in your science, then what I find often helps me is to get some really big sheets of paper and kind of brainstorm (my supervisor suggested it).
I put down what is known about a particular topic that I'm working on. Then I fit in what I know based on my data. It really helps to get a big picture view of things.
Also, I find listening to interviews with scientists (e.g. The BBC's "the life scientific" podcasts) quite inspiring and helps me to learn a little about another field in an informative way.
I used to be quite arty, but that has been on the back burner since being in science. Your post has made me wonder if I shouldn't be bringing out my drawing and painting things for a bit of destress in my down time
Ahrenhase on Fri Nov 9 03:54:30 2012 said:
Oddly, I used to be very creative, but a lifetime of rote memorization and droning over busy work has depleted me to the point that I just feel uncreative, stressed, and anxious all the time. Has anyone successfully decompressed from this mindset?
How creative person in diverse way may differ from specialization. In science to prove any thing time need to be given to understand facts and procedures. Does any of your previous creativity last for 2-5 years with constant pressure from some supervision? Does it involve issue of bread and butter? Does your creativity testified at that time? how? I think along with interest these factors do matter.
and feelings you are feeling are completely normal, many peoples stressed out from past glorious experiences but as time changes you have to update to keep things that much high.
Ahrenhase on Fri Nov 9 03:54:30 2012 said:
Also, just because you're technically capable of conducting an experiment proficiently from beginning to end isn't the only quality of a good researcher. I know the science (i.e. what's going on inside my tube) and I'm great with my hands; .
This point would make a good technician but not a scientist...
Anyway, for me a holiday helps to have some other thoughts away from science and to get a free mind, so that imagination is coming back. Also reading sufficient numbers of papers helps me to develop ideas, because you find after some time lots of starting points where the authors ignored something, stuff that comes to your mind and you find interesting but you find it in not any of the papers, or you just have a different opinion about a special topic and develop a plan how to experimentally prove or disprove it....
Some stuff comes just to my mind out of the blue, the idea is there and I don't know why, sometimes silly ideas sometimes a good idea that might be worth trying out...unfortunately so far nothing worth a nature publication
I agree with Dr. H. Creativity seems to go hand-in-hand with curiosity, and curiosity is stirred by exposure to new and different things.
Or people--have you considered socializing with a group of scientists in a different field? Sometimes the questions they ask of you can give you ideas of your own.
Maybe the problem is just that you are stressed and anxious all the time. Creativity doesn't work under presure. Take a leave someplace exciting, take an internet course about different scienticis topic than you are doing, start a new hobby and stop worrying about not being creative.
And even a rote memorization and droning over busy work can be compensated with something creative, actually unless I'm completelly exhausted I do compensate a lot for doing mundane tasks, I drew a face to a silicon oven glove (and actually many other places like centrifuge, old dusty flasks, computer mouse,..), taped a monster above our department head door sign (OK, this one probably would by bit risky, but he still keeps it there so I assume he actually likes it), keep small balls with drawn eyes on to leave at certain places whenever someone ask me to "keep an eye on it", regulary overwriting department signs I found unappropriate or unfunny, make new signs that are needed (like a crusade for reinstalling our coffee machine or poster protest against printer monitoring), planning reality hacks like "mesuring the radioactivity of bananas in local supermarket" and these are just examples that were in my head right now.
If you want to be creative, nobody can take it from you, doesn't depend on what type of work you do. Just BE creative, not just in work but all the time, but don't force yourself into it, you need some space.
You would feel better and more interested in work in general (and if not, maybe it's time to change it) and you will be creative in research too.