The Jeff Wise Blog

The Riddle of Creativity in the Face of Danger

One of the most troubling aspects of intense fear is that it powerfully suppresses the parts of the brain that deal with complex problem-solving and self-control. That can make it hard to get ourselves out of trouble. On rare occasion, however, we fear stories of men and women who are somehow able to extricate themselves from life-or-death predicaments through remarkable feats of inventiveness. One of the most remarkable cases I came across while reporting the book was the story of aerobatic Neil Williams, and how he found a creative solution when one of the wings started to come off his plane. I liked it so much that I used it as the core of the book’s introduction, which you can read in its entirety here.

Filed under: Aviation

3 Responses

  1. Jessica says:

    What an amazing story! Talk about a counter-intuitive answer.

    I love stories of people who come up with unusual and creative solutions. That’s one of the best stories yet! Thank you!

    • Jeff Wise says:

      Thanks, Jessica! Creativity is a fascinating topic and one that we usually don’t associate with extreme pressure. The fact that Neil Williams was able to think creatively when in mortal danger raises some interesting questions about where creativity originates and how it works.

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Thinking About Fear & the Brain

If I find myself in a severe crisis, will I be able to keep it together? How can I control anxiety and panic? Is it possible to lead a life less bounded by fear? These are the sorts of questions that I'll be exploring in this blog, an offshoot of my book, Extreme Fear: The Science of Your Mind in Danger, published on December 8, 2009 by Palgrave Macmillan.

Video Introduction

Also by Jeff Wise

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