Brain-expander: Why creativity doesn't 'die' in adulthood
Biologically, we become more creative with age.
DD HQ here. Have you ever felt like your creativity is all dried up?
Like you’ve lost your creative spark? Like, maybe, you were once creative - back when you were a kid or had less responsibilities (or whatever) - but now, it rarely reaches the surface?
We hear this idea all the time from our members when they first enter the DD Universe - some have even told us it feels like their creativity ‘died’ long ago 🥺. But, guess what?
Scientifically, that idea couldn’t be further from the truth - you are literally the most creative being you’ve ever been right now.
In our latest series, Brain-Expander, we’re here to flip ideas on their head + myth-bust commonly held beliefs about creativity. In this week’s version, we’re excited to peel back the layers on a controversial topic in the DD Universe: biologically, you only get more creative as you get older.
Societally, it may be another story - but here’s why the only thing that’s holding us back from acting on that creativity is our perception.
It seems like we’ve all bought into a common story: Play, creativity and curiosity are reserved for - and even the highest in - children.
We often see children as wildly creative beings that use their imagination without abandon. And, it’s (partially) true. Some experts say that by age five, we use about 80% of our creative potential on a daily basis. We spend most of our time inventing, exploring and being curious about the world around us.
As we get older, most of us long for a time when we explored freely. That’s because, based on some estimates, we only use 2% of our creative potential by the time we’re twelve - and it often plateaus there 🤯 .
Think of it this way: Our creative potential continues to grow with the more ‘inputs’ we collect throughout our lives. The stories we hear, the life experiences we have, the connections we make - they are all the foundation elements that give life to our creative brain.
But, because of societal expectations to conform, especially as adults - we rarely use it.
So, where do things go wrong? Why do we feel like our creativity gets zapped up in childhood and our creative brains become a forgotten element of life…left in our high school play?
There are many reasons, but at DD we appreciate this one because it gives us room for change: As kids, we spend most of our time in exploration-mode - collecting and testing creative inputs, no matter how unrealistic they may seem. But as adults, we gravitate towards exploitation thinking - using knowledge we’ve already gathered to quickly solve problems at hand.
Exploitation saves time, while exploration may ‘waste’ it. Ever tried to spend an hour tinkering with something broken?
The coolest part to us is that as adults, if we lean into exploration-thinking more often we not only have more creative inputs, but the experience to turn it into reality.
Take this idea from Elisabeth McClure, a research specialist at the LEGO Foundation’s Center for Creativity, Play, and Learning: “While children are great at exploration, they’re not always great at getting the job done or choosing the best solution for the situation at hand.”
As we get older, we’re not only dreamers - but doers. So, allow yourself some space around the edges to explore a bit more. Your creative brain is waiting 🧠
Katina + Dupi
and the entire team @ DD HQ
Our Early Access spots are at capacity, but you can still sign up for a chat in order to reserve your spot for our next cohort. If you’re ready to access your dreaming (and doing) brain more regularly - sign up!
An idea to noodle on 💭
As we age, our creative potential continues to expand
THINK ON THIS: The more inputs we have, the more creative we can be. And when we spend our time in exploration-thinking mode, we expand our openness to new ideas, experiences, stories and connections. Maybe mental exploration isn’t a ‘waste’ of time after all?
…MAYBE NOT THAT: Creativity isn’t just imagination - it’s also putting your ideas into action. Research shows that our ability to think convergently (or logically) as adults can be a powerful part of our creativity as we age. It’s not just about brainstorming as many ideas as you can, but also sorting through which ones can become reality, which is an adult superpower.
Inside our brains at DD HQ 🧠
Does everyone feel like they’re faking it? The secret behind imposter syndrome. Our ideas of embracing our natural messiness need to get flipped on their head. The link between workaholism and mental health isn’t what you think. How we can learn to love solitude. The constant debate: computers vs ‘art’ has been going on for decades.
Ideas from the DD Crew 🛸
In our members-only discord channel, we had a deep chat about play - and why we might feel ashamed about doing it more often as adults (or not!).
Drop a comment here + join the conversation: Do you make time for ‘play’ as an adult? Do you feel like our society prioritizes certain forms of play over others? 💭