Find Work Find Talent

M(a)P Your Brain’s Fullest Potential

Written By Kathryn Millhorn | Apr 24, 2024

Humans know a lot, that’s for sure, but when it comes to our own brains… not so much. We’ve mapped the squishy bits but studying how it all works is still something of a mystery. For example—depending on who you ask or how deeply you Google—there are more than a dozen various types of THINKING.

So, let’s think about thinking for a minute, especially as it relates to your life. Because at M+P, we know that different folks use different methods to get through their tasks and that’s what makes each workday… and worker… unique and special.

{If the brain stuff gets to be too much, feel free to enjoy a few minutes of relaxation as a treat.}

Knowledge is Power

Brace yourself, it’s time for some education. Experts say there is a bonkers number (this is a quantifiable scientific concept, I promise) of thinking styles. Just a few include:

  • Critical thinking
  • Analytic reasoning
  • Remembering and recalling
  • Abductive reasoning
  • Linear thinking
  • Divergent thinking
  • Evaluating
  • Understanding
  • Conceptualism
  • Reflective thinking
  • Strategic thinking
  • Creative thinking

Some are hardwired preferences while others can be used at different times in life or to tackle new challenges which arise. One of the most human thought processes revolves around creativity. When using creative thinking, we’re able to brainstorm, invent, think outside the box, and rattle the bars of established paradigms.

Creativity can also combat boredom. The National Institutes of Health (with their fancy .gov address) warns that “boredom can disrupt motivation, reduce pleasure, and interfere with goal-directed behavior, which can contribute to the development of depressive symptoms. Boredom is also associated with anxiety by triggering anxious thoughts and worries or exacerbating symptoms of already existing anxiety.”

Sing Along with Dolly Parton

This is the part where someone in the front row raises their hand and says ‘Sure, creativity has its place, but a lot of jobs are just working 9 to 5 then going home, right?’ Wrong! Creativity makes everything from frying eggs to assembling fighter jets easier and more rewarding.

Use your creative brain(storms) when networking with others in the industry either in person or online. Find an outlet to share ideas, refine processes that aren’t K.I.S.S.-worthy, reinvent the wheel, or guide newbies looking for mentorship. Unlike your school days, there are no wrong answers* when it comes to being creative, especially with other people.

[*Note: there are, however, wrong WAYS. Don’t be a jerk. Take turns talking and listening. Be respectful and polite. Understand that everyone gets it wrong sometimes, and mistakes will happen. Choose kindness. Floss. Call your mom.]

Take both objects and tasks apart—literally, mentally, and emotionally—then put them back together better than ever or with a deeper understanding of necessary components. Creativity may not always result in a new way of doing things; sometimes just knowing the who/what/where/when/why/how is its own reward.

Studying Creativity

It may seem oxymoronic to study creativity. One feels rigid, the other freeform; black and white text versus pastel impressionism. But learning how to tap into our creative side is like stepping outside the office on a balmy Friday afternoon. Once you’ve mastered opening that door, the rush of freedom and woohoo-ness (more scientific terms, sorry) makes everything a little sweeter.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but we’ve all met someone who could stand to hear it again: as with any muscle, the brain requires FREQUENT USE to function properly. Foster its creativity by slowing down, getting outside, walking barefoot on the grass, making something, or listening to music.

Here are a couple of ideas compiled by Forbes and the Young Entrepreneur Council.

  • Write or draw by hand.
  • Try a new experience.
  • Read books that challenge your perspective and comfort zone.
  • Join a peer group and brainstorm.
  • Ask questions.

Creativity can be as simple or complicated as you’re ready for…don’t stress yourself out! Cook a recipe you saw on the Food Network. Join a book club through the local library. Visit economic development council mixers for young professionals. Or enroll in night school to learn ASL, welding, yoga, or the finer points of kimchi.

Your brain loves to learn. The more you practice creativity, the more you’ll crave those mental adventures. And because our lives are intrinsically interwoven, happiness after hours will overflow into a more productive, interesting, successful workday. And who knows? Branching out may inspire a new career path…if it does, M+P is happy to help.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.