mcgill-alumni-mainDaniel Levitin has written an interesting book called the Organized Mind. I saw him speak the other day about the book and was fascinated by the stories he told about highly accomplished people.

Not being one of those people, I listened closely to figure out what I could learn. What struck me most was the way he differentiated between creative thinking and rational decision making.

To Levitin, “Creative thinking means allowing the nonlinear to intrude on the linear and to exercise some control over the output.” It is a mystery though, how linkages are made between the linear and non-linear in order to make creative leaps.

“In contrast to creative thinking is rational decision making.” According to Levitin, “Human brains didn’t evolve to be very good at this…because we have a limited attentional capacity to deal with large amounts of information.”

So if a human brain has two critical functions: creativity and decision making, it turns out that we’re not much good at either of them. And if we don’t have the ability to to pay attention to detail, we’ll never get any better at the latter.

This leaves the human brain to excel at one thing, which is day dreaming, and that I suspect we are all very good at this.