Vincent Van Gogh only sold 2 paintings before he committed suicide at the age of 37. Today his highly influential works are coveted by museums and private collectors alike – commanding prices in the tens of millions. Image – detail from a portrait by Van Gogh.
We’ve all heard the story about the brilliant painter, musician, or scientist who was “ahead of his time”, whose genius – for one reason or another – was ridiculed or worse yet, not even noticed. What is it that has historically prevented humans from celebrating some of the most brilliant and creative ideas of their time? Recent research into how the human brain accepts, or rejects new ideas is beginning to shed some light on this conundrum and what seems to be emerging from the results is a mounting body of evidence indicating a human bias against creativity. Article author and Professor, David Burkus, sums it up like this, “For a work to be truly creative, it has to depart from the status quo at some point. That departure makes many people uncomfortable. Despite our oft-stated desire for more creativity, we also hold a stronger desire for certainty and structure. When that certainty is challenged, a bias against creativity develops.”
So what is a creative person to do? Burkus was also kind enough to offer a few tips on how to present your creative ideas while maximizing certainty:
1 – Re-affirm what your audience already knows to be true about the topic of focus.
2 – Connect your creative idea to more familiar ideas (such as previously successful projects).
3 – (This one is a tricky bonus) Lead your audience towards your idea with a series of statements they will agree with, then pitch your idea as though it was theirs. This counteracts the bias against creativity with a more powerful bias… the bias for one’s own ideas! Full article here.