“If I hadn’t visualized playing athletes, I wouldn’t have gotten ‘Major League.’ If I hadn’t visualized playing a president, David Palmer never would have happened.”
Creating visualizations of what you want to accomplish can be a powerful strategy for achievement, according to many writers, coaches and research studies.
Perhaps the most research has been about athletes and sport psychology, but artists can use the techniques and approaches as well.
Actor Dennis Haysbert has portrayed a variety of dynamic characters in film (such as “Jarhead”) and television (including “24″ and “The Unit”), and says, “I visualize the roles that I want.
“You’ve got to have a sense of what you want to do; otherwise, the universe is just going to throw something at you.”
[TV Guide, July 3-9 2006.]
In her article Awakening the Senses, creativity coach Linda Dessau writes about the book “How to think like Leonardo da Vinci” by Michael Gelb, particularly the “Sensazione” chapter, which Dessau notes “is dedicated to re-awakening and sharpening each of the five senses: sight, sound, smell, taste and touch.”
She adds, “Gelb offers lots of exercises in this chapter to help you awaken your senses. My favourite is ‘Subtle Speculation: The Art of Visualization’.”
In an article of hers, Irish writer and creativity teacher Orna Ross notes a creative person may be “all too aware of their problems, but often unaware of their abilities.” She continues:
“This, allied with the fact that they live in a society that prefers linear, rational thinking and behaviour, makes them try to fit into situations that don’t suit them — and then blame themselves when that doesn’t work out.
“Hence: ‘I’m too sensitive’; ‘I’m too much of a perfectionist’; ‘I think too much’.
“Over time, self-blame and lack of understanding leads many bright, creative people into marginalized lives as adults — underemployed, dissatisfied and often in tremendous psychological pain.”
“The worship of convention will never lead to astonishment.” Tama J. Kieves
Author and personal development coach Tama Kieves faced a number of challenges after graduating with honors from Harvard Law School, and felt compelled to leave her career as “an overworked attorney” to follow her “soul’s haunting desire to become a writer.”
In her book “Inspired and Unstoppable” she writes, “As a creative individual, visionary leader, independent thinker, soul-healer, or entrepreneur, it’s your birthright to utilize other talents, insights, resources, and innate strategies.
“You are not made to fit into the world…but to remake the world, heal the world, and illuminate new choices and sensibilities.”
Creating may be at times a collaboration, and it can be helpful to get input from others about your work, but a number of artists also say they create primarily to please themselves, to realize their own unique creative inspirations.
Also, criticism from others can be destructive and self-limiting, eroding our creative assurance and vitality, especially if it is based on excessive perfectionism or values that you, the creator, may not hold.
Creativity coach and psychologist Eric Maisel has even declared, “Criticism is a real crippler.”
From my post: Toxic Criticism and Developing Creativity.
Hugh MacLeod, a brand consultant, copywriter and cartoonist, has made available (for free) a stimulating PDF: “How To Be Creative” – here are some excerpts from the beginning:
In her recent interview with Charlie Rose, Cate Blanchett talks about acting and working with Woody Allen for her latest role in his new movie “Blue Jasmine” – and she refers to the poignant quotes by dancer, choreographer and teacher Martha Graham (1894-1991) about leading a creative life and being an artist, such as these:
“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique.
“The function of artists is to keep people childlike in a positive way. To keep open to the world.”
Viggo Mortensen continues,
“Apart from traveling to different countries, to different communities, to different parts of your city, I think that art is one of the greatest anti-war and anti-poverty weapons.”
His quote comes from a video interview: “Viggo Mortensen Meets Alex Jones.”
Here is a clip – follow the link above to see the full interview on Youtube.
“For an artist, it is a driven pursuit, whether we acknowledge this or not, that endless search for meaning.” Dianne Albin
Like passion, meaning is another central element in how we choose which of our talents to develop and express. Finding and making meaning is especially crucial for creative people.
Painter Dianne Albin continues, “Each work we attempt poses the same questions. Perhaps this time I will see more clearly, understand something more.
“That is why I think that the attempt always feels so important, for the answers we encounter are only partial and not always clear.
“Yet at its very best, one work of art, whether produced by oneself or another, offers a sense of possibility that flames the mind and the spirit, and in that moment we know this is a life worth pursuing, a struggle that offers the possibility of answers as well as meaning.”
In his book: “Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined,” cognitive psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman refers to a study by Catya von Karolyi, Ellen Winner, Wendy Gray, and Gordon Sherman: “Dyslexia linked to talent: Global visual-spatial ability” in the journal Brain and Language.
The researchers “argue that dyslexic individuals may excel at visual-spatial tasks that rely on the right hemisphere, because the right hemisphere tends to process information holistically.”
They evaluated people viewing “impossible figures”: objects that “seem to be 3-D but could not actually exist in 3-D space. Examples can be found in M. C. Escher’s paintings, such as his famous impossible staircase painting, Ascending and Descending.
Continuing from Part 1, here are more examples of creative people with dyslexia, plus some of the neuroscience about the learning difference:
Whoopi Goldberg is “one of the only ten people to win an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony Award; and is the first woman to be honored with the prestigious Mark Twain Prize for American Humor…has written three books and is a UNICEF International Goodwill Ambassador…
“It’s hard to imagine that this successful woman once struggled in school, hearing words such as ‘dumb’ and ‘stupid’ directed at her” [on account of her dyslexia].
“I knew I wasn’t stupid, and I knew I wasn’t dumb,” she said in an interview with the Academy of Achievement, into which she was inducted in 1994.
From profile on site: The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity.
“There were a lot of benefits to being dyslexic for me…I think I came into an appreciation of all those qualities of language…” Novelist Richard Ford
Although traditionally classified as a learning disability, dyslexia can also lead to advantages in thinking and behaving that enhance creativity.
Dyslexia is defined by one authority as “a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities.” [The International Dyslexia Association.]
Richard Ford has explained how it was a benefit to his creativity as a writer: “When I finally did reconcile myself to how slow I was going to have to do it, then I think I came into an appreciation of all those qualities of language and of sentences that are not just the cognitive aspects.