Does studying your area of expertise too much limit creativity?
Total opposite is true.
If we’re looking for evidence that too much knowledge of the domain or familiarity with its problems might be a hindrance in creative achievement, we have not found it in the research.
Instead, all evidence seems to point in the opposite direction. The most eminent creators are consistently those who have immersed themselves utterly in their chosen field, have devoted their lives to it, amassed tremendous knowledge of it, and continually pushed themselves to the front of it.
Advanced education is absolutely required for creative problem solving in today’s world; no one is going to cure cancer as a college sophomore. That’s the reality of today, but remember that the study correlating higher education with lower creative eminence covered the period from 1450 to 1850. For the first half of that period, science as we know it scarcely existed; getting a high-level degree would not necessarily confer much scientific knowledge in an era when the fundamental principles of the scientific method were still unknown. For a research period that was in large part prescientific, it shouldn’t be surprising that formal schooling and creative eminence in science didn’t correlate. In short, in a wide range of fields, knowledge of the domain may bear little relation to years of
The bigger picture is that the great innovators aren’t burdened by knowledge; they’re nourished by it. And they acquire it through a process we’ve seen before, involving many years of demanding deliberate practice activities.
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