paintI like to keep old magazines.

It fuels my plans to update my vision board (just as soon as I actually accomplish anything on my current vision board, that is).

It also makes me feel “current” – as in, yes I do read the news and follow unfolding events. Which of course I don’t – unless you count a thorough analysis of the entertainment section and side-by-side comparison of “who wore it best” snapshots.

Sometimes I also delude myself into feeling like an actual grown-up by telling myself that I will read the entire issue – including the boring articles on the ongoing economic crunch – if I just hold on to the magazine.

This never happens either.

But recently I picked up an old issue of “Time” (hunting as usual for Joel Stein’s column) and opened to a section called “Ideas: Assessing the Creative Spark.” The subtitle, “what Americans think about creativity” actually sounded interesting so I kept reading.

Apparently random strangers who live in the same country I do also think creativity out-ranks intelligence, compassion, humor and ambition by triple-digit percentage points. Creativity also trumps beauty as a value by 94% to 57%.


Considering I work in the field of eating disorders and body image, this was refreshing as well as valuable intel for me.

The truth is, at this point in my own personal recovery journey and career, I have come to believe that where we place our focus is more important than any other factor in shaping the substance of our individual life.

For instance, if I choose to focus heavily on my body shape and size, the food I eat, the numbers on a scale and how I think those compare to my neighbor, best friend, mom or partner, then that will in many ways define my experience of life on a daily basis.

But if I choose instead to focus on my creativity, my intelligence, my compassion, my sense of humor or my ambitions/goals in life, this too will shape how I experience life and what I think about and act upon on a day-to-day basis.

We may assume from looking at magazines or movie trailers that all of America is obsessed with beauty. But this poll clearly shows that America’s obsession remains firmly planted in the soil that originally created such a great, free, wonderful and wide-open place to live – human creativity.

Today’s Takeaway: If you were to take the “Time” poll, how many percentage points would you give to each attribute: creativity, intelligence, compassion, humor, ambition, beauty? How much of your daily time, energy and focus do you give to each? How much value do you place on each when it comes to choosing others to work, play and share life with? Are you happy with the percentages?

Paint and brush image available from Shutterstock.