Ilustration: Oscar Ramos Orozco
You’ll find that some days, the ideas come fast and furious. The days when you just want to sit at your desk, stare up at the sky and just let your mind wander.
Other days, though, you really want to get moving. You’re antsy and you can’t really focus on any one thought. Instead, you are most efficient if you are getting things done.
It is no coincidence that the motivation to think and the motivation to act seem to strike us at different times. Research by psychologists Arie Kruglanski, Tory Higgins, and their colleagues suggests that we have two complementary motivational systems: the “thinking” system and the “doing” system – and we’re generally only capable of using one at a time.
Think about how you best generate new ideas. Often, you “brainstorm” or try to come up with as many ideas as possible. That is called diverging and requires our thinking system. At other times, you need to evaluate those ideas and figure out which ones are best. That is called converging, and it requires the activation of the doing system.
Managing your mindset can help you optimize your thinking when you are trying to be creative. Here are a few suggestions for influencing your motivational state. These suggestions can be effective either for you as an individual or when you are working in a group.
by Art Markman / 99u
Art Markman, PhD is a professor of Psychology at the University of Texas and Director of the Program in the Human Dimensions of Organizations. His research explores the cognitive science of creativity, motivation, and decision making. Art is the author of Smart Thinking and Habits of Leadership.