Intentional conflict for creativity

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Animals at Franklin Park Zoo

One of the most talked about parts of my presentation yesterday at FutureM was on creating intentional conflict to stimulate creativity. For example, I recommended that people with a liberal perspective go read sites like Drudge Report, watch shows like O’Reilly Factor, and listen to broadcasters like Rush Limbaugh. I recommended that people with a conservative perspective go read sites like Huffington Post, watch shows like the Daily Show, and listen to broadcasters like NPR or Progressive Talk Radio.

Why? Because when you expose yourself to conflicting viewpoints with your own perspective, it stimulates your brain to argue, to push back, to come up with evidence, reasons, ideas why what you’re consuming is wrong. It generates energy, excitement, emotion, and that in turn helps create the insights you’re looking for and knocks down the “blocks” to creativity in your mind. Your brain can’t help but argue, and when it does, the ideas will flow.

Make sure you’ve got a few opposing viewpoints in your blog reader, on your radio presets, in your iTunes podcasts, and everywhere else you consume media. Only by placing yourself inside of intentional conflict can you create those interactions in your mind that will give you some of your best creative ideas.

Of course, you’ll probably want to also have a meditation or two on hand afterwards to calm down.

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