Self

Scatterbrained People Are Basically Geniuses, Says Psychology

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smart woman

There's a lot of truth to the stereotype of the absent-minded professor. You know, the scatterbrained academic who can't find his glasses (they're usually on top of his head).

Or the creative type, who's so busy dreaming up new ideas that she misses her stop entirely on the subway. Not only are these types of people supposed to be smarter than they appear to be, these types of people always seem to be more attractive than very neat people. A win-win.

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It turns out that someone who's disorganized, forgetful, and seemingly lacking in the concentration department is actually a genius. Thank god, because my room has been a mess for months and I'm too scared to touch anything. But now I know that it's just because I'm more intelligent than all my peers.

When someone's brain has so many different ideas bouncing around inside of it, practical matters may be pushed aside; surprisingly, the scatterbrained brain is working at high capacity.

According to an article in TIME, the more disorganized your brain is, the more brilliant, creative, and smart you are. Your ideas actually need to be battling one another for you to become inspired. If you were only focused on one thought at a time, there'd be a decrease in innovation.

In the book Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation by Steven Johnson, he talks about how having many different hobbies can lead to creative breakthroughs.

"In a slow multitasking mode, one project takes center stage for a series of hours or days, yet the other projects linger in the margins of consciousness throughout. That cognitive overlap is what makes this mode so innovative. The current project can exact ideas from the projects at the margins, and make new connections

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It's not so much a question of thinking outside the box, as it is allowing the mind to move through multiple boxes. That movement from box to box forces the mind to approach intellectual roadblocks from new angles, or to borrow tools from one discipline to solve problems in another."

Johnson also believes that people whose minds wander a lot are more creative and better problem solvers. Daydreaming allows one part of the brain to focus on a problem, while another part is simultaneously processing new information, making connections, and developing coping strategies.

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When you've had too much to drink or are just exhausted, that's the time your brain is poised for breakthroughs — your brain's defenses are down, and that's why new ideas and solutions are able to bubble forth.

Keep thinking about everything. It doesn't matter if you've misplaced your car keys for the thousandth time, or that you still can't find the remote; you've just invented a way to get to the heart of the artichoke without having to remove all the leaves first.

Christine Schoenwald is a writer, performer, and astrology lover. She's had articles in The Los Angeles Times, Salon, and Woman's Day.

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