Archives for Thinking-Beliefs
"Creative resistance is essentially anything and everything that prevents us from starting, developing or completing our creative projects." Julia McCutchen As a creative person, you have a passion to use creative thinking and explore creative ideas, to express yourself through some form of creative work in the arts, or science, business, cooking - any number of engaging ways to use your talents and passions. So what might stand in our way?
In her Harvard Commencement Address, author J.K. Rowling spoke about the "uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not" as "the fount of all invention and innovation." She also noted the power of our imagination for understanding other people’s challenges. She worked for a time for Amnesty International, and says she used some of that experience in creating her ‘Harry Potter’ books.
"We too often lose sight of the fact that vulnerability is also the birthplace of joy, belonging, creativity, authenticity, and love.” Brené Brown adds, “In our culture, we associate vulnerability with emotions we want to avoid such as fear, shame, and uncertainty."
Multitalented people often express stimulating perspectives on realizing their creative abilities and passions. Here are comments from three well-known artists. Xavier Dolan has credits including: Actor, Writer, Producer, Costume designer, and at age 25 has directed five feature films. He has said “I don’t know that I’m being prolific, I’m just responding, I’m being authentic and I’m just listening to my needs in terms of expression." ...
Elyn Saks (photo at right in Part 1) is a law professor at USC; an adjunct professor of psychiatry at UC San Diego, where she does research about society’s rejection of the mentally ill and how high-functioning schizophrenics cope; and is a recipient of a “genius” grant from the MacArthur Foundation. An article notes "She kept her schizophrenia hidden while excelling in her academic studies, receiving a philosophy degree from Oxford University and a law degree from Yale University." She wrote of her experiences in her memoir, “The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness.” See more in post: Elyn Saks, Schizophrenia and Creativity. She has commented, “Ironically, the more I accepted I had a mental illness, the less the illness defined me — at which point the riptide set me free.”
Where does creative inspiration come from? It may show up mysteriously, "out of the blue" - and for a good part of human history, it has been explained as a gift from a supernatural being, a Muse. At least some people still embrace that idea, or at least like to use the concept. Novelist and author Steven Pressfield writes in his book "The War of Art" about pulling in creative power when we are doing creative work:
"The artist begins with a vision — a creative operation requiring effort. Creativity takes courage." Henri Matisse What fears and anxieties are holding you back from expressing yourself more creatively? Matisse and many other artists and psychologists note creative work requires courage or dealing with our fears.
“I’ve suffered enough. When does my artwork improve?” Refrigerator magnet The tortured artist mythology is an ancient and enduring one: The idea that art depends on suffering, and artists need to be suffering with dark emotions, and need their pain to create. But that is a wrong and destructive idea. For example, in his appearance as a guest on The Ellen Show, Colin Farrell said he is more creative being sober and happy. “I ascribed to the notion that to express yourself as an artist, you have to live in perpetual pain. And that’s nonsense.” Musician Sting also said he bought into this myth for a long time:
We may watch a movie or TV show, read a novel or listen to music, and appreciate that the authors, those identified as artists, are certainly "creative types" - but what about the producers and set designers? Or the computer engineers at digital animation companies like Pixar? The MacArthur Foundation has a mission to "support creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world" and acknowledges there are many kinds of creators, awarding its renowned fellowships to a wide range of people: playwrights, novelists, dancers, botanists, economists, chemists, physicians, psychologists and many others.
One of the themes of creativity research, and many psychologists and creativity coaches, is how crucial beliefs and attitudes are in developing our creative abilities. Psychologist Heidi Grant Halvorson talks in the audio clip below about the prevalent idea of 'genius' for whether someone can be creative - or even aspire to be. She also writes about focus and creating, and that "to be a successful creative, you need to not only be a good generator, but also a good evaluator. The problem is that in practice, it’s remarkably hard to be both.