[Continued from Part 1]
Lawton Ursery, quoted earlier, writes in his Forbes magazine article Your Brain Unplugged: Proof That Spacing Out Makes You More Effective:
“We’re taught that taking on more is better—it makes us more valuable. The reality is that doing too many things makes us less efficient.”
He notes that Andrew Smart, whom he interviewed, “argues that our ‘culture of effectiveness’ is not only ineffective, but it can be harmful to your well-being. Andrew says that in order to be more creative and more engaged, we need to unplug.”
Smart refers to research by neurologist Marcus Raichle, who “found that when subjects performed specific tasks, activity in certain brain regions, like the hippocampus, medial prefrontal cortex, and the precuneus, was suppressed.
“This was an odd conclusion, so Raichle decided to test further subjects but didn’t give them a specific task to complete.”
Ursery explains, “The result was that the exact same regions that deactivated during concentration become super active when not focused on a specific task—this means increased blood flow in your brain—this means a healthier, happier, more creative brain.
“Composing gives me great pleasure… there is nothing that surpasses the joy of creation, if only because through it one wins hours of self-forgetfulness, when one lives in a world of sound.”
Pianist and composer Clara Schumann (1819-1896)
In an article of hers, career change mentor Valerie Young writes:
“People told you to put away your silly ideas about being ‘happy’ and just get a ‘good job.’ So everyone from your guidance counselor to your mother swayed you toward being a teacher or an engineer or an executive. There’s just one problem. You’re miserable.
“And sadly, you’re not alone. As Benjamin Disraeli once said, ‘Most people will die with their music still in them.’
“But, what if the most ‘real’ thing you can do is to do work that reflects your authentic self? To find a way to actually live your life on your own terms? What if what you really need to do is to get ‘unreal.’
[See Part 1]
“My whole life has been about trying to heal the rift between the two sides of my personality, the feeling too much and the knowing too much.”
That is a comment by Actress / Producer / Director Jodie Foster, from an interview about her film “Little Man Tate” in the book: Great Women of Film.
Her perspective is one I certainly can relate to – what about you?
The idea of “too much” – or at least unusually intense – thinking and emotion has been articulated by psychologist and psychiatrist Kazimierz Dabrowski, MD, PhD, who described creative and high ability people having over-excitabilities or intensity in five areas: intellectual, psychomotor, imaginational, emotional, or sensual.
Being exceptional may cause a variety of reactions; some of those responses are supportive, but others can discourage or discount people with high ability.
“I got that whole precocious thing [as a child]. I had no reason to doubt my own abilities or not share my opinion. The adults were offended, and the kids were resentful. I was persona non grata in both camps for quite a while.”
Diane Lane [Lifetime magazine, Oct 2003] – the image is Lane on the cover of a 1979 Time magazine about “Hollywood Whiz Kids.”
Many other gifted and talented people are drawn to the arts and entertainment – and other fields, of course – and have had similar experiences and reactions from other people, both as children and adults.
How does the intensity, complexity and “border-crossing” of creative people encourage being more creative?
Creative people often have personalities and inner experiences that are intense and beyond ordinary in multiple ways. [Read Part 1.]
Creativity author and teacher Ken Robinson thinks “To realize our true creative potential—in our organizations, in our schools and in our communities—we need to think differently about ourselves and to act differently towards each other. We must learn to be creative.”
[From post: Reclaiming Our Creativity – Part 2.]
One part of learning to be more creative is to encourage shifting between convergent and divergent thinking.