The Timothy Letter: A Focus on the Brain

Brain Creativeby Timothy Hopwood

Who uses their brain the most? What is its overall purpose? Where would you like your brain to take you in your career? How does the brain work? When is the brain most creative?

Here’s the thing; scientists, psychologists, and neurologists still confess there are still too many unanswered questions concerning the brain. We do know, however, you and I could not even ponder the Who, What, Where, How, and When questions without a brain. So… if you’re reading this letter you have a brain – regardless of what your mother-in-law thinks…

Here are some facts about the human brain from www.bebrainfit.com :

  1. Your brain generates about 12-25 watts of electricity. This is enough to power a low wattage LED light.

How can we use this energy to think creatively?

  1. The average brain is believed to generate around 50,000 thoughts per day. Disturbingly, it’s estimated that in most people 70% of these thoughts are negative.

How can we turn our negative thoughts into positive creative thoughts?

  1. Humans don’t have the biggest brains. That honor belongs to sperm whales with 17-pound brains.

“I don’t know how the sperm whale got its name, but I’m not getting in the pool.” Ron White

Over the years I have read many books on the mind and how to train it to think in different ways. Not only is this a fascinating topic to me, I’ve actually found some useful exercises that have produced a new way of thinking – using my brain. This will be the focus of my letter.

It seems that taking a break from the task at hand; that is, creative projects, may be the answer – just what the doctor ordered – a prescription to think creatively! In an article written by Sian Beilock, Ph.D., a psychology professor at The University of Chicago, wrote (in 2012) “…we know that it’s not just any break that gets our creative juices flowing. Rather, when we are stuck on a problem and need an outside-the-box solution, turning to an activity that engages our attention just slightly so that mind wandering is maximized is the answer.”

Beilock says a break, [from your creative projects] need to be small distractions. Don’t build a boat. Put your focus on things like, watching a few minutes of tv, talk to a friend on the phone, wash the dishes, or use the bathroom. Yes, some of the best ideas come from sitting on the throne reading the back of a shampoo bottle. The key here is to temporarily (and slightly) distract your attention from the creative project.

The thing about distracting yourself temporarily from the objective is not to get so far from your goal (your creative project) that you avoid it all together. Look at these mini-breaks as time to clear your mind and breathe. In more than 20 years of experience I have filled the roles of everything from General Manager, On-air Talent, to Production Director. The best ideas for script writing and brain storming come easy. I believe nothing good can be forced. Step back and look at yourself in the mirror (or at least clean the mirror). Small tasks help to wash out the brain and allow great ideas to seamlessly re-enter.

How often do you get a good night’s rest? Adults twenty-four to sixty-four years of age, according to current sleep research, still need 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Are you getting the rest you need? If you’re not adequately recharging your body and mind, you simply can’t be as productive and creative as you would otherwise. We’ve all had late nights in the studio working on script and production. Although some great ideas come during late night recording sessions, if you’re not getting at least 7 hours of sleep on a regular basis, your creative genius will ultimately suffer. Go to bed! Not now though… read the rest of my letter first, then get some sleep. (If you happen to fall asleep while reading my letter, please don’t write in and tell me – keep it a secret)

I’ll end my letter by mentioning an ancient ritual practice of rest. The ritual has given birth to a national holiday called National Day of Unplugging. It’s an opportunity to drop your phones, email, and social media and engage in disengaging. The National Day of Unplugging is on March 2-3, in 2018. Interested in taking this seriously? Take the pledge at www.nationaldayofunplugging.com.

Creatively wishing you the best!

Tim Hopwood 0917 thTim Hopwood is the former syndicated radio host of “The Catfish Country Jamboree,” and current moderator of The Timothy Call, a weekly teleconference on creative thinking and skill building for radio professionals in the ad writing and production business. Hopwood is also a regular contributor and columnist for Radio and Production Magazine. For more information on joining the teleconference, or general inquires/ comments, email timcall.rapmag@gmail.com or call Tim’s office at (844) 467-7971.

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