Do you want to live a happier life? Not absolutely enlightened-happy enjoying every moment of breath, but at least a bit happier? What I suddenly discovered with a help of readers commenting on my articles might be a bit enlightening and can get us a bit closer to this strange mysterious feeling of being happy.
Readers commenting on articles? Yes, true. When people share their thoughts on a thought provoking post on facebook, then you can see what is the problem in our society. We might call them haters, but they are more like representatives. So here is the story.
Mind quadrants and opinions on them
I made an illustration with four quadrants of the mind and complained, that our education system focuses on only one of them. This is the image:
I posted this image on my facebook, google and instagram accounts and got lots of attention and lots of comments. Some people were complaining that this is bullshit. „Are we supposed to keep a dream diary?“ – they were asking. Some people completely agreed with me, and even shared their fears what will their creative children become – order obeying robots?
I got a lot of comments praising critical thinking as the ultimate achievement of our brain. (Critical thinking lies in the Conscious Logic quadrant) Criticizing the very idea of developing unconscious mind as if it was something impossible or unnecessary. But look at a simple and reasonable thing:
We are taught critical thinking at school. So we know how to evaluate things, criticize them, find flaws. But we are not taught Creativity. (Creativity lies in the Conscious Imagination quadrant) But without creativity, we have no idea how to create things with fewer flaws. How to correct flaws. We know – this thing is fucked up. How to make it better? No one has any ideas because no one uses that part of the brain called Imagination.
Of course, there are countries or maybe schools were creativity is developed (some people gave me examples how creativity is developed in their schools), blessed are those children.
OK, serious guys, I know this imagination thing does not sound serious enough. But my CEO in my previous job complained that no one is able to offer ideas in the whole company. They only know to point what is bad, but no one is able to find ways to fix those problems. How can someone run a business without creativity? They are going to bankrupt if they only rely on critical thinking.
Creativity might seem as something opposed to science. But how can someone make inventions without creativity? How can someone create new theories without creativity?
People often see creativity as something completely unnecessary, because they have this critical thinking. Creativity as something only related to arts. Imagination as something like faking or escaping reality. So they ignore it and even hate the image above.
To give a better understanding of creativity I made some pictures.
How does it affect our happiness?
It is simple. We think about our lives with this superb critical thinking skill and find lots of flaws and drawbacks. We think that our lives are fucked up, and we are able to back this idea by hard facts. But because of the lack of creativity, we have no idea how to fix it.
So, if our education system focused a bit more on creativity and imagination, we would live a bit happier life, because of practical ability to solve our problems.
Of course, not absolutely enlightened-nirvana-happy. Just a bit happier.
Of course, this is not the single reason why we are not happy. It is just one reason of many, but since we discovered it, we can work on it.
And I do not say that critical thinking is bad and should be avoided. Critical thinking is critical for survival in the modern society full of lies and bullshit. Critical thinking is critical for implementation of things and ideas we create in our imagination. Our school does a great job in teaching us critical thinking. Otherwise, people would still believe that the earth is flat.
But some commenters complained that even critical thinking is not taught well at schools. The say, schools only teach how to memorize, obey and avoid failures. Mark Manson has a great article about this (read here). And all those things are taught to us without us even realizing it. I mean unconsciously. Every day we are taught that good grade is the main thing in life. And good grades rarely come from creativity. They come from obeying, following the procedure, memorizing, avoiding failures. Not even from critical thinking.
But let’s get back to our happiness. I do not say that we must have less Critical Thinking. I say that we must have more Creativity. Compare this image to the one at the beginning:
Critical thinking is seeing what is wrong. Creativity is imagining a way how to make it right. The Internet is full of things telling what is wrong in our society. Commenters love to tell what is wrong with the original post. And the creative approach is often ridiculed. And that is one of the reasons why we are unhappy.
How to develop creativity?
At the end of such article, a natural question arises. So, I have finished school, my mind is fucked up with a void in that quadrant, which is used by businessmen, artists and scientists, so what should I do?
A full course is needed on that and in this short article I will give some ideas at least where to start:
- Get new experiences (not knowledge, enough knowledge)
- Practice solving problems or arts every day (anything that turns on gears in your mind will do)
- Be around creative people (introverts can skip this one)
- Know your strengths (answer open questions about yourself)
Or if you want more ideas, check this graphic article with 15 ideas how to learn creativity.
Creativity is not inventing something that is completely new and mind-blowing. It is merging existing things and getting a new result. It helps to solve problems and this is useful for improving lives. And being happier.