In order to think creatively, you must develop new neural pathways and break out of the cycle of experience-dependent categorization.
As Mark Twain said, “Education consists mainly in what we have unlearned.” For most people, this does not come naturally. Often, the harder you try to think differently, the more rigid the categories become.
New insights come from new people and new environments — any circumstance in which the brain has a hard time predicting what will happen next.
You need a novel stimulus — either a new piece of information or an unfamiliar environment — to jolt attentional systems awake. The more radical the change, the greater the likelihood of fresh insights.
They may have nothing to do with your area of expertise. It doesn’t matter. Because the same systems in the brain carry out both perception and imagination, there will be cross talk.
Only when you consciously confront your brain’s shortcuts will you be able to imagine outside of its boundaries.
I’ve heard people say that they aren’t creative. This is B.S. If you’re a human, you’re inherently creative. The reality is that you’re probably just so used to doing the same exact thing, day-in and day-out, that your creativity has been muted.