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Why creative blocks are so damaging, according to a neuroscience expert

Neuroscience has taught us that the brain constantly seeks clarity. Every second, it analyzes patterns in our environments and behaviors to make better sense of the world.

Since humans are wired to clarify and simplify, the ambiguity of the pandemic has been especially tough to navigate. COVID-19 has changed work situations, canceled events, altered routines, and wreaked havoc on our brains. And this level of disruption triggers a “survival” mindset. The result? Poor creativity.

As we try to make sense of new environments, our brains shift resources to our emotional centers. This leaves the prefrontal cortex unavailable for creativity and innovation. And without creativity, our abilities to problem-solve, communicate, and employ strategic agility suffer. A survival mindset consumes neural resources and prevents higher-order thinking. Unfortunately, this comes at a critical time. According to McKinsey research, leaders who act early and decisively during times of economic disruption reap long-term benefits. When you don’t have the mental capacity for creativity, you miss out on opportunities to improve your company’s performance.

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