Creativity and Legos

Welcome to the Hurt Your Brain internet playlist from June 11, 2017. It’s a collection of podcasts, videos, and other links for people who love to learn online and are fascinated by the world. Click here to get playlists emailed to you as they come out.



Something a little different this week. As you’ll see below, I’ve been thinking a lot about creativity and decided to make that the theme for the whole newsletter this go around.

I’m excited to share that I put together the June theme for the Podcast Brunch Club (like book club, but for podcasts). There is a great monthly newsletter where each month has a completely different theme with a set of three curated podcast episodes based on that months topic. You can find or start an in person chapter or simply follow along at home.

The theme I chose and was really excited to explore was creativity. My views have changed completely on creativity vs just a few years ago, and these three podcast episodes below were the best out of the dozen+ that I checked out. They are all fascinating in their own way, but my favorite part is that you’ll definitely walk away realizing you are capable of more creativity than you imagined.

Creativity playlist
1) 99 Percent Invisible: The Mind of an Architect 24 minutes
2) TED Radio Hour: The Source of Creativity 49 minutes
3) Magic Lessons Ep #12: Brene Brown on “Big Strong Magic” 35 minutes

And click here for more details on why I chose creativity as the theme and why I chose each episode

Adela, the creator of Podcast Brunch Club, has also just started a podcast. It’s very weird to say this, but keep your eye on the feed and you just might see my name 🙂


TED: Do Schools Kill Creativity? | Sir Ken Robinson 20 minutes
This video is mentioned in the TED Radio Hour episode above and is absolutely worth watching in full.


After soaking up so much content around creativity, I’ve tried to wrap my head around how it all works. The clear definition that everyone seems to agree on is that for something to be considered creative, it must be both novel and useful. A sentence that has never been written before is novel, but if it’s just a string of random letters, it’s not very useful. And if you plagiarize an amazingly impactful sentence, it’s still useful, but not novel. So it’s the interplay between these two ideas that gets you to true creativity.

The recipe for becoming more creative seems to be twofold:
1) have lots of different lumps of information in your brain so you have material to combine in unique ways
2) try putting these unique lumps of information together in useful or interesting ways over and over again

I find Legos to be a fun metaphor to use. Each new piece of knowledge that enters your brain is like a little lego brick that gets thrown into the giant lego bin that is your brain.

The more Lego bricks you throw in there from different sources, and the more you practice making things with those bricks, the easier it is to create those crazy Lego sculptures you see around.

Your ideas around something new will always feel overly simple at first, but it’s only a matter of time before bigger things come together easier and easier. If you keep at it, you might end up with a creation that is like this city I saw made entirely of Legos at Legoland:

So every new piece of info that you absorb from reading something, fixing something, experiencing something, etc, is all raw material that can be used in your creativity. Add as many bricks as you can, and reach for the bricks as often as you can.


That’s all for this week!


Connect with me @erikthejones on twitter and if you’ve learned anything interesting, please forward this link to any curious natured friends or family so they can subscribe. Many thanks!