In their exceptionally readable book, The Runaway Species (2017), David Eagleman and Anthony Brandt offer four suggestions for cultivating creativity:
• Don’t glue down the pieces. “We don’t just set out to improve imperfection—we also tamper with things that seem perfect” (134).
• Proliferate options. “When the brain proliferates options, it gets off the path of least resistance and reaches more widely into its networks. Instead of running set algorithms, the brain bends, breaks and blends its storehouse of experiences, imagining what-ifs” (150).
• Scout to different distances. “Instead of remaining at a fixed distance, an optimal strategy is to generate a range of ideas, some of which stay closer to home, while others fly further” (170).
• Tolerate risk. “It requires delayed gratification on a scale of decades: an abstract, imagined reward that drives behavior forward” (184).