Take A Creative Break from Boring Busy

Being Busy Is Killing Our Ability to Think Creatively

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The other day a friend mentioned that he’s looking forward to autonomous cars, as it will help lower the accident and fatality rates caused by distracted driving. True, was my initial reply, with a caveat: what we gain on the roads we lose in general attention. Having yet another place to be distracted does not add to our mental and social health.

Little good comes from being distracted yet we seem incapable of focusing our attention. Among many qualities that suffer, recent research shows creativity takes a hit when you’re constantly busy. Being able to switch between focus and daydreaming is an important skill that’s reduced by insufferable business.  As Stanford’s Emma Seppälä writes: 

The idea is to balance linear thinking—which requires intense focus—with creative thinking, which is borne out of idleness. Switching between the two modes seems to be the optimal way to do good, inventive work.

She is not the first to point this out. Neuroscientist Daniel Levitin made a similar plea in his 2014 book, The Organized Mind. Information overload keeps us mired in noise. In 2011, he writes, Americans consumed five times as much information as 25 years prior; outside of work we process roughly 100,000 words every day. 

This saps us of not only willpower (of which we have a limited store) but creativity as well. He uses slightly different language than Seppälä—linear thinking is part of the central executive network, our brain’s ability to focus, while creative thinking is part of our brain’s default mode network. Levitin, himself a former music professional who engineered records by the Grateful Dead and Santana, writes: 

Artists recontextualize reality and offer visions that were previously invisible. Creativity engages the brain’s daydreaming mode directly and stimulates the free flow and association of ideas, forging links between concepts and neural modes that might not otherwise be made.

Engaging creatively requires hitting the reset button, which means carving space in your day for lying around, meditating, or staring off into nothing.  This is impossible when every free moment—at work, in line, at a red light—you’re reaching for your phone. Your brain’s attentional system becomes accustomed to constant stimulation; you grow antsy and irritable when you don’t have that input. You’re addicted to busyness.

And that’s dangerous for quality of life. As Seppälä points out many of the world’s greatest minds made important discoveries while not doing much at all. Nikola Tesla had an insight about rotating magnetic fields on a leisurely walk in Budapest; Albert Einstein liked to chill out and listen to Mozart on breaks from intense thinking sessions. 

Paying homage to boredom—a valuable tool in the age of overload—journalist Michael Harris writes in The End of Absence that we start to value unimportant and fleeting sensations instead of what matters most. He prescribes less in the course of a normal day.

Perhaps we now need to engineer scarcity in our communications, in our interactions, and in the things we consume. Otherwise our lives become like a Morse code transmission that’s lacking breaks—a swarm of noise blanketing the valuable data beneath. 

How to disconnect in a time when connection is demanded by bosses, peers, and friends? Seppälä makes four suggestions:

1. Make a long walk—without your phone—a part of your daily routine
2. Get out of your comfort zone
3. Make more time for fun and games
4. Alternate between doing focused work and activities that are less intellectually demanding

That last one is also recommended by Cal Newport, author of Deep Work. Newport is not on any social media and only checks email once a day, perhaps, and even that time is strictly regimented. What seems to be lost in being “connected” is really irreplaceable time gained to focus on projects. Without that time, he says, you’re in danger of rewiring your neural patterns for distraction.

Spend enough time in a state of frenetic shallowness and you permanently reduce your capacity to perform deep work. 

That’s not a good sign for those who wish to perform creatively, which in reality is all of us. Research shows that the fear of missing out (FOMO) increases anxiety and takes a toll on your health in the long run. Of all the things to suffer, creative thinking is one of our greatest losses. Regardless of your vocation a flexible mindset open to new ideas and approaches is invaluable. Losing it just to check on the latest tweet or post an irrelevant selfie is an avoidable but sadly sanctioned tragedy.

Derek’s next book, Whole Motion: Training Your Brain and Body For Optimal Health, will be published on 7/17 by Carrel/Skyhorse Publishing.

from:    http://bigthink.com/21st-century-spirituality/creativity-and-distraction

Ways To Get Your Creativity Flowing

How to Boost Your Creativity

02/21/2016 10:03 am ET
  • Berkeley Wellness Berkeley Wellness offers you positive ways to live a long, healthful life.
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    By John Swartzberg, M.D.

    Do you sometimes feel like you’re surrounded by creative people—musicians, writers, artists, builders, inventors—but have no muse of your own? Maybe you’ve said to yourself, “I’m not creative. It’s a personality thing and I’m just one of those logical left-brained folks.”

    Not true. We are all creative. Creativity lives within each and every one of us. We sell creativity, and ourselves, short when we believe that creative people are only those who can paint beautiful paintings, or perform in a symphony, or invent brilliant new technology. Creativity, at its essence, means coming up with new ideas, recognizing new possibilities, and solving problems.

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    How can you foster your own creativity? Studies suggest that there are a myriad of ways you can tap into that inventive, innovative side of yourself. Try a few of these activities and see where they lead:

    Go for a walk. Getting off the couch and moving doesn’t just do your body good—it apparently gets your creative juices flowing as well. A 2014 study from researchers at Stanford University found that people who went for a walk significantly increased their creativity—what’s called “divergent thinking” over people who just sat. This held true whether they were walking on a treadmill or outside, so it wasn’t just exposure to the great outdoors that stimulated more creative output.

    Get a hobby. You may think that you have to already be creative or talented to develop a hobby like cooking or painting or music. But a recent study found that people who engage in creative hobbies outside their job also have better problem solving skills on the job. So what if you’re never going to be a pastry chef? Taking that cake decorating class might open up your mind in new and unexpected ways. According to the study’s author, organizational psychologist Kevin Eschleman, the participants described these hobbies as providing “self-expression and an opportunity to really discover something about themselves.”

    Daydream. Set time aside—maybe even ten minutes a day—to let your mind wander, with no set destination. You may be surprised at where it goes and what you discover. Researchers from the University of California at Santa Barbara have found that daydreaming when you’re consciously aware of what you’re doing—called “meta-awareness”—can help you find creative solutions to problems that have been stumping you.

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    Embrace the Mess. Conventional wisdom says that a neat work space is essential for productivity. But isn’t creativity unconventional? Researchers found that while a neat desk encourages “good behavior” (like choosing an apple over a candy bar), working at a messy desk promoted novel choices and stimulated new ideas. “Disorderly environments seem to inspire breaking free of tradition, which can produce fresh insights,” said the study’s lead author, psychological scientist Kathleen Vohs of the University of Minnesota. “Orderly environments, in contrast, encourage convention and playing it safe.”

    Work in a coffee shop. Too much or too little noise may hinder creativity, researchers have found—but just like Goldilocks, a moderate hum of background noise may be “just right.” In a series of brainstorming experiments published in the Journal of Consumer Research, scientists found that a light level of ambient noise—like you’d find when you settle down with your laptop at Starbucks or Panera—spurred divergent thinking.

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    Dim the lights. Working in dimmer light can instill a sense of freedom and dis-inhibition that breeds creativity, compared to standard office lighting, suggested a study in the Journal of Environmental Psychology in 2013.

    Spend time in another country. Multi-cultural experiences can make you look at things from other perspectives, and stimulate innovative and flexible thinking, suggests a series of studies, including one in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in May 2009.

    For the most part these are all small and relatively subjective studies. After all, measuring the lightning in a bottle that constitutes “creativity” is a complicated and highly variable process. And I suspect that many creative people have found ways to prime that pump of innovation that aren’t on this list. But all of this research, taken together, supports the idea that creativity isn’t just something that’s stuck in the on or off position. We just have to be open to new ways to tap into the creativity that lies within us all.

    from:    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/berkeley-wellness/how-to-boost-your-creativity_b_9253724.html?utm_hp_ref=healthy-living

    Finding Resolution in Acceptance

    My Hellish Health Journey & The One Thing That is Changing Everything

    SHARMINI GANA
    Collective Evolution

    Finally, after over a decade of dealing with multiple undiagnosed physical and emotional symptoms (due to chronic stress, I later realized), I recently experienced a massive shift that is changing EVERYTHING — my health, my emotions, my life.

    I was frustrated, exhausted, and suicidal, ready to call it quits many times over the last few years. It was the most painful experience, yet also the most educational, now that I am coming out on the other side of such a dark period. I discovered that a major part of healing, just like illness, is SELF created.

    Yes — you create your own pain and suffering and your own joy and healing. Sound crazy? Maybe, but there are a ton of books and research showing that the mind-body connection exists and impacts us immensely. How you feel about yourself plays a huge role in illness and in wellness.

    You Play A Role In Your Health

    You are a  powerful creator, whether you realize it or not. The stories and beliefs that dominate your mind (we will call these mind programs) all day dictate how you feel and create situations and experiences for you to grow and learn.

    Many of us are carrying negative self talk programs as a result of our familial, cultural, and societal influences. Our race, culture, gender, genetics, and background (socio-economic status, etc.) all influence us and the way we look at ourselves and life.

    As a whole, the world we live in is filled with fear. From a young age, most of us are told “be careful, don’t do that, watch out” and many other negative phrases, repeatedly, which in return builds up a fear-based foundation of belief systems in us.

    We learn to be very cautious, afraid, and obedient, so we stay within our box, confined to a limited way of living. We are not able to think beyond the walls that we have been trained exist all around us. This causes us to react with fear, worry, and anxiety when things happen to us or in our world.

    Planetary Energy Shifts

    Now, as the energy on the planet has shifted to being more open — we are questioning and rebelling against the status quo and the younger generation is continually pushing the envelope on our perceived limits — things are changing and more of us are becoming aware of this negative, fear driven belief system that we have been surrounded by and embedded in.

    The plethora of Awakening information available online, although overwhelming at times and sometimes even controversial, has certainly played a major role in shifting things, as has social media, which has made it possible to share information on multiple platforms instantaneously, thus reaching more and more people.

    Going back to the fear based belief system many of us carry, it is clear that a strong component of this is Negative Self Talk. It’s amazing to realize that you are not alone in feeling not good enough, fraudulent (even when you are “successful”), unworthy, and unconfident. These emotions create anxiety, fear, and worry, and can eventually lead to depression.

    Many of us experience these feelings on a daily basis, and unbeknownst to us, these beliefs form the basis for our physical and emotional health. Of course other lifestyle factors come into play as well, such as what and how often we eat, how active we are, how we deal with our emotions/challenges, and how high our stress levels are. But there is now more and more research showing the importance of the Mind-Body Connection; it is undeniable.

    How Do You Feel About You?

    I will go out on a limb and say, in my experience, the biggest factor in determining our physical and emotional health is how we feel about ourselves. Yes, you read that right. How you feel about yourself dictates what kind of messages you tell yourself all day.

    How would you like to live with someone who is constantly down on themselves and always judging themselves? Not fun is it? But the truth is that many of us are actually quite mean to ourselves, all day long. How crazy is that? Not only that, but we are usually in constant, deep resistance to what is happening around us as well, which further compounds the issue.

    Do you see the picture here? Being hard on ourselves all the time plus being at war with ourselves over what’s “out there” in the external world is slowly and insidiously killing us.

    Through my own painful and difficult journey, I came to realize that we have to feel it in order to heal it. It seems to be “normal” to resist feeling difficult emotions and feelings; instead we numb them with addictions like overeating, over drinking, drugs, TV, shopping, etc. in order to suppress and deny them. But sooner or later, they catch up with us. We can’t run away forever, but we can create a lot of suffering for ourselves in trying to escape our pain.

    Instead, practice the process of ALLOWING whatever is happening and ALLOWING whatever you are feeling. Accepting (the resistance to it is what causes our suffering), embracing, and actually coming to love it, no matter what it is, is the only way to release it.

    Accept Who You Are

    Learn to accept your dark parts, also known as your shadow, and stop trying to deny or avoid them. What we resist, persists and magnifies, causing us even more drama. We all have dark parts; it is a normal part of being human.

    Rather than run away from our fears, resentments, loneliness, pain, anger, sadness, abandonment, shame, guilt, etc., we should lean into those uncomfortable emotions and name them, write them down, and get curious. Start asking yourself questions about why you are feeling them and where they are coming from (most likely a childhood trauma or experience).

    Is there an opportunity to reconsider that scene with new eyes and realize that positive things also came out of the perceived trauma/negative? Can we see that we learned and grew from that experience, rather than cling to the lopsided victim story we tend to carry around for years? If we can neutralize our one sided victim story, we balance it, and our emotions can shift and begin to heal. This is life transforming.

    Stop Comparing!

    Lastly, STOP comparing yourself to anyone else or where you think you should be — this is the fastest way to depression. The reality is, you are where you are and it is exactly where you need to be at this time. Anything outside of that is a Story that your mind program made up.

    Shift your perception of the story or memory by balancing it and you transform yourself and the situation. It is not easy to do, as most are so addicted to their victim stories, but if you are open and willing to try it, you will experience a powerful change that will impact all areas of your life.

    I was surprised to realize that I was being very angry, judgemental, and mean to myself most of the time, so I really had to practice what I preach and learn to Accept, Embrace, and Love myself. This changed Everything — my physical and emotional health started shifting almost immediately and my energy levels improved significantly.

    My long-dormant creativity was ignited, after being buried under multiple layers of stress for decades. I discovered new parts of myself and feel different. I feel a renewed love of Life and at a much deeper level than I have ever experienced before. (I was a very positive, compassionate, loving person who helped people and animals in need but did not like or care for myself much.)

    A powerful INNER Transformation has taken place and the results are nothing short of amazing. Try being gentle, kind and loving to yourself consistently and you will experience a whole new perspective and way of BEing.

    There are good meditation apps as well as personal development apps available to help you with this process, along with many transformational books and various processes on the market. There are countless workshops, articles, and coaches to assist you with this powerful, life-changing process of learning Self Compassion.

    The only person who knows what is best for you is You — so make some quiet time to meditate, go to nature, and do some research — and then INVEST in yourself. You are more than worth it.

    Do I still experience challenges? Of course – challenges are a part of life and play in important role in our growth. Think about it – without obstacles, we wouldn’t have learned to deal with adversity, face our fears and realize our own strength. Challenges are not a bad thing, they force us to step up and take action, as does fear.

    What is it costing you to keep feeling the way you do? Suffering and in pain, physically and emotionally? If you are ready and willing to do the work (because it IS work!) and you realize it’s time for Change — start taking small steps towards Self Connection and Self Transformation. Watch your world change.

    from:    http://www.zengardner.com/my-hellish-health-journey/

    Creativity to Combat Stress

    UNE 15, 2016 by APRIL McCARTHY

    Making Any Kind of Art At Any Skill Level Reduces Stress Hormones

    Whether you’re Van Gogh or a stick-figure sketcher, a new Drexel University study found that making art can significantly reduce stress-related hormones in your body.

    Although the researchers from Drexel’s College of Nursing and Health Professions believed that past experience in creating art might amplify the activity’s stress-reducing effects, their study found that everyone seems to benefit equally.

    “It was surprising and it also wasn’t,” said Girija Kaimal, EdD, assistant professor of creative arts therapies. “It wasn’t surprising because that’s the core idea in art therapy: Everyone is creative and can be expressive in the visual arts when working in a supportive setting. That said, I did expect that perhaps the effects would be stronger for those with prior experience.”

    The results of the study were published in Art Therapy under the title “Reduction of Cortisol Levels and Participants’ Responses Following Art Making.” Kendra Ray, a doctoral student under Kaimal, and Juan Muniz, PhD, an assistant teaching professor in the Department of Nutrition Sciences, served as co-authors.

    “Biomarkers” are biological indicators (like hormones) that can be used to measure conditions in the body, such as stress. Cortisol was one such the hormone measured in the study through saliva samples. The higher a person’s cortisol level, the more stressed a person is likely to be.

    For Kaimal’s study, 39 adults, ranging from 18 to 59 years old, were invited to participate in 45 minutes of art-making. Cortisol levels were taken before and after the art-making period.

    Materials available to the participants included markers and paper, modeling clay and collage materials. There were no directions given and every participant could use any of the materials they chose to create any work of art they desired. An art therapist was present during the activity to help if the participant requested any.

    Of those who took part in the study, just under half reported that they had limited experience in making art.

    The researchers found that 75 percent of the participants’ cortisol levels lowered during their 45 minutes of making art. And while there was some variation in how much cortisol levels lowered, there was no correlation between past art experiences and lower levels.

    Written testimonies of their experiences afterward revealed how the participants felt about the creating art.

    “It was very relaxing,” one wrote. “After about five minutes, I felt less anxious. I was able to obsess less about things that I had not done or need [ed] to get done. Doing art allowed me to put things into perspective.”

    However, roughly 25 percent of the participants actually registered higher levels of cortisol — though that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.

    “Some amount of cortisol is essential for functioning,” Kaimal explained. “For example, our cortisol levels vary throughout the day — levels are highest in the morning because that gives us an energy boost to us going at the start of the day. It could’ve been that the art-making resulted in a state of arousal and/or engagement in the study’s participants.”

    Kaimal and her team believed, going into the study, that the type of art materials used by participants might affect cortisol levels. They thought that the less-structured mediums — using clay or drawing with markers — would result in lower cortisol levels than the structured — collaging. That, however, wasn’t supported by the results, as no significant correlation was found.

    The study did find a weak correlation between age and lower cortisol levels. Younger participants exhibited consistently lower cortisol levels after they’d created art.

    Those results made Kaimal wonder about how young college students and high school students deal with the stress that comes from academia — and how creative arts can help.

    “I think one reason might be that younger people are developmentally still figuring out ways to deal with stress and challenges, while older individuals — just from having lived life and being older — might have more strategies to problem-solve and manage stress more effectively,” Kaimal said.

    In light of that, Kaimal plans to extend the study to explore whether “creative self- expression in a therapeutic environment can help reduce stress.” In that study, other biomarkers like alpha amylase and oxytocin will also be measured to give a more comprehensive picture.

    Additionally, Kaimal also plans to study how visual arts-based expression affects end-of-life patients and their caregivers.

    “We want to ultimately examine how creative pursuits could help with psychological well-being and, therefore, physiological health, as well,” she said.

    from:    http://preventdisease.com/news/16/061516_Making-Art-Reduces-Stress-Hormones.shtml

    Time to Get Your Inner Genius Out

    Genius: Can Anybody Be One?

    Genius: Can Anybody Be One?

    Genius can be defined as a high IQ, extreme creativity, or something else altogether.

    Credit: DeepArt

    What makes a genius?

    Perhaps for athletes, a genius is an Olympic medalist. In entertainment, a genius could be defined as an EGOT winner, someone who has won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award. For Mensa, the exclusive international society comprising members of “high intelligence,” someone who scores at or above the 98th percentile on an IQ or other standardized intelligence test could be considered genius.

    The most common definition of genius falls in line with Mensa’s approach: someone with exceptional intelligence.

    In his new science series “Genius” on PBS, Stephen Hawking is testing out the idea that anyone can “think like a genius.” By posing big questions — for instance, “Can we travel through time?” — to people with average intelligence, the famed theoretical physicist aims to find the answers through the sheer power of the human mind.

    “It’s a fun show that tries to find out if ordinary people are smart enough to think like the greatest minds who ever lived,” Hawking said in a statement. “Being an optimist, I think they will.”

    Optimism aside, answering a genius-level question does not a genius make — at least, not according to psychologist Frank Lawlis, supervisory testing director for American Mensa.

    “The geniuses ask questions. They don’t know the answers, but they know a lot of questions and their curiosity takes them into their fields,” Lawlis told Live Science. “[They’re] somebody that has the capacity to inquire at that high level and to be curious to pursue that high level of understanding and then be able to communicate it to the rest of us.”

    You must statistically be a genius to qualify for Mensa, with a measured intelligence that exceeds 98 percent of the rest of the population. However, Lawlis said even these tests can exclude some of the most brilliant of thinkers.

    “The way you put items together to test for intelligence is that you already know the answer,” Lawlis said. “That’s the whole point. You create questions that have real answers.”

    For instance, Albert Einstein would have likely done poorly on IQ tests, Lawlis said.

    “It really comes down to thinking outside the box, and you really can’t test that,” Lawlis said. “When they take these tests, instead of directing their attention to the correct answer, they think of a jillion other answers that would also work, so consequently they get confused and do very poorly.”

    Consisting of a mixture of intelligence, creativity and contribution to society, genius is hard to pinpoint, said Dean Keith Simonton, a distinguished professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis.

    In the Scientific American Mind magazine’s special issue on genius, Simonton hypothesized that all geniuses use the same general process to make their contributions to the world.

    They start with a search for ideas, not necessarily a problem in need of a solution. From this search, geniuses will generate a number of questions, and begin a long series of trials and errors. They then find a solution, for a problem others may not have even been aware of.

    “Talent hits a target no one else can hit. Genius hits a target no one else can see,” Simonton said, quoting the 19th-century German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer.

    “Exceptional thinkers, it turns out, stand on common ground when they launch their arrows into the unknown,” Simonton said.

    In an attempt to “discern what combination of elements tends to produce particularly creative brains,” psychiatrist and neuroscientist Nancy Andreasen at the University of Iowa used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which measures brain activity by detecting changes associated with blood flow.

    Andreasen selected the creative subjects from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and a control group from a mixture of professions. The control group was matched to the writers based on age, education and IQ — with both test and control groups averaging an IQ of 120, considered very smart but not exceptionally so, according to Andreasen.

    Based on these controls, Andreasen looked for what separated the creative’s brains from the controls.

    During the fMRI scans of participants, the subjects were asked to perform three different tasks: word association, picture association and pattern recognition. The creatives’ brains showed stronger activations in their association cortices. These are the most extensively developed regions in the human brain and help interpret and utilize visual, auditory, sensory and motor information.

    Andreasen set out to find what else, in addition to brain processes, linked the 13 creatives’ brains.

    “Some people see things others cannot, and they are right, and we call them creative geniuses,” Andreasen wrote in The Atlantic, referring to participants in her study. “Some people see things others cannot, and they are wrong, and we call them mentally ill.”

    And then there are people who fit into both categories.

    What Andreasen found is that there is another common mark of creative genius: mental illness.

    Through interviews and extensive research, Andreasen discovered that the creatives she studied had a higher rate of mental illness, which included a family history of mental illness. The most common diagnoses were bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety and alcoholism. The question now is whether the mental illness contributes to the genius or if it’s the other way around, she said.

    In a study of the brain of one of the most famous geniuses in history, Einstein, scientists found distinct physical features, which may help to explain his genius, Live Science reported when the study came out in the journal Brain in 2012.

    Previously unpublished photographs of the physicist’s brain revealed that Einstein had extra folding in his gray matter, the part of the brain that processes conscious thinking, the study researchers found. His frontal lobes, the brain regions tied to abstract thought and planning, had particularly elaborate folding.

    “It’s a really sophisticated part of the human brain,” Dean Falk, study co-author and an anthropologist at Florida State University, told Live Science, referring to gray matter. “And [Einstein’s] is extraordinary.”

    Be it high IQ, curiosity or creativity, the factor that makes someone a genius may remain a mystery. Though Mensa can continue to test for quantitative intelligence in areas such as verbal capacity and spatial reasoning, there is no test for the next Einstein, Lawlis said.

    “I don’t know anybody that could really predict this extremely high level of intelligence and contribution,” Lawlis said. “That’s the mystery.”

    Original article on Live Science.

    – See more at: http://www.livescience.com/55028-what-makes-a-genius.html#sthash.Rw8Wqa9N.dpuf

    Art is Forever Young

    The seven ages of an artist

    Whether artists hit their stride right after college or make their best work in their final years, the creative career seldom has a conventional trajectory. We asked seven leading artists aged 24 to 80 what they haved learned from a life in art

    Egon Schiele’s Self-Portrait with Physalis, 1912 (detail
    Egon Schiele’s Self-Portrait with Physalis, 1912 (detail): what might Schiele have produced had he lived longer than 28 years? Photograph: Leopold Museum

    The Japanese master Hokusai was one day found weeping at his workbench because he believed he had not yet learned enough about drawing. He was 80. On his deathbed, eight years later, he cried out, “If heaven would only grant me 10 more years, I might still become a great artist.” We may consider Hokusai a genius from childhood but he thought nothing he produced before the age of 70 was any good. How long does it take to become an artist?

    A whole lifetime is the stock answer (unless you’re Julian Schnabel, who compared himself to Picasso in his 20s). But what if that life is cut short? Raphael, Watteau and Van Gogh were dead at 37. Modigliani was 35, Géricault 33 and Seurat was carried off by a virulent illness at 31. We may regret every masterpiece they did not live to paint, but the stupendous works they left show that age and achievement do not keep pace. Schiele was dead at 28; if Gauguin had died at the same age we would never have heard of him: The Ham, arguably his first masterpiece, was painted at 40.

    There are other late starters (Van Gogh didn’t paint until his mid-20s) but these days the pressure is on young artists to come up with a singular look while they are still in college. Ever since Charles Saatchi began trawling degree shows in the 1980s, students have had to produce selling statements alongside their work, never mind that it may still be inchoate.

    The Ham, 1889, by Gauguin.
    Gauguin painted The Ham in 1889, when he was 40. Photograph: The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC

    Laure Prouvost argues that early success may be dangerous. Get picked up in your 20s and you may founder later because “you haven’t tried hard enough, or got lost enough yet”.

    Assuming you aren’t netted at this stage (or any other), a day job will have to carry you through. Richard Serra was a removal man; Ed Kienholz sold vacuum cleaners; Susan Hiller here reveals an early stint as a receptionist at a Skoda factory. The trick is to find work that doesn’t exhaust the body, or fill the head so that there is no room for thinking.

    Perhaps there is some freedom in making art without any sense of its prospects to begin with, for as soon as people start liking it, there is a compulsion to keep doing the same thing to survive. I have heard artists in their 30s and 40s speak of the intense difficulty of getting new ideas accepted by galleries or potential buyers. And just around this time a family may fill the horizon.

    The old adage that those who can, do, and those who can’t, teach, has never applied to artists, nearly all of whom teach at some stage to feed their dependants. I remember my father, James Cumming, literally running upstairs to his easel after a day’s teaching to paint right through the night; money and time were so tight.

    The age of 50 brings the realisation that you’re in it now for the long haul, with all the hardship, labour and joy. “Everyone has talent at 25,” Degas sardonically observed, “the difficulty is to have it still at 50.” At 60, there is the knowledge that more projects may now be abandoned than made. At 70, like Hokusai, some artists begin to think they are at last getting somewhere even if the spotlight has eluded them. Louise Bourgeois, still sculpting weeks before her death at 98, said that the lack of interest in her art up to this point at least left her to work beautifully undisturbed.

    Henri Matisse at home, France - 21 May 1945
    Henri Matisse devised a cut-out technique from his wheelchair when he could no longer paint. Photograph: LIDO/SIPA/REX

    The most radical art of all is sometimes the very last. Late Titian, late Picasso, late Matisse – in a wheelchair, devising the cut-out technique when he could no longer paint – seem so much wilder and more vigorous in their 80s than in youth. But a sense of urgency can dominate at any age. George Shaw, at 48, feels time’s winged chariot drawing near, and the drive to work increasing exponentially. Paula Rego, in her 80s, says working makes one forget the miseries of old age. And perhaps it is true that artists stay younger for longer, as Hiller suggests; I recall solemn research to this effect published in Nature (sculptors, incidentally, apparently live longer than painters).

    The artists interviewed here are all exceptional in that they have the recognition, freedom and financial security that millions of their colleagues will never enjoy. Yet they share the same preoccupations: how to raise families while working, what to make, how to find time, how to keep one’s spirit, vision and integrity intact. And even, in Richard Deacon’s case, whether and when to retire.

    For artists do not have to go on for ever. Marcel Duchamp spent most of the last 30 years of his life teaching and playing chess. Generally it is rare for artists to give up for good, certain that they have made everything they could; the mind lifts the hand for ever, my father used to say. And for most artists, this is not a profession but a calling. The great Cuban-born painter Carmen Herrera, who turned 100 this year, and did not sell a work until she was 89, gets up every morning to paint. Her advice to the young is not to hurry through their 20s, and never to be intimidated by anything. “You don’t decide to be an artist,” she has said, “art gets inside of you. It’s like falling in love.”

    from:    https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/nov/15/seven-ages-of-an-artist-laura-cumming?CMP=share_btn_fb

    Consciousness & Awakening

    Return to Source – The Spirit’s Journey Home

    Alex Vandenberg, Contributor
    Waking Times

    According to a vast array of magical and alchemical texts, hermetic treatises, philosophic works, religious scriptures, and many prominent pieces of literature spanning the ages, it appears that the sole purpose of life is to awaken from our self-imposed slumber. That is, to remember who we really are or to become that which we have always been. This natural proclivity percolating within man to consciously collaborate with an innately irrational unconscious life process is what gives an individual meaning, purpose, and value.

    We see this current of thought unequivocally expressed in Ralph Waldo Emerson’s first book entitled Nature. While striking a delicate accord between the terms Nature and nature, the work essentially presupposes that the entirely of life has but one aim: to return to the Source.

    At bottom, this process of spiritual awakening is ultimately an initiation into the enduring harmony of the world or, if you like, a realignment of our will with the embodied Will of the Universe. It is about ascending that mystical ladder that punctuates the heavens and leads right up to the doorstep of God. It is about the firing of rudimentary clay so as to produce that finished effervescent glaze. In essence, it is about the changing of frequency as the blossoming of our blood allows us to tune back into that ancient theme of the Music of the Spheres. As Cicero wrote in his work The Dream of Scipio:

    “Learned men, by imitating this harmony on stringed instruments and in song, have gained for themselves a return to the supernal heights….”

    Given all of this, the question naturally arises as to how we know we are marching to the right tune. As we pursue the text of Life, of which we are all on different chapters, there are many indicators of progress that help one measure the extent to which he/she is successfully moving away from an object-oriented ego-dominated consciousness.

    While not everyone experiences the exact same signals, there do seem to be some parallels that persistently appear in the life of the would-be adept. For example, initially you will find yourself engulfed by a series of jaw-dropping “coincidences” (synchronicities). The inner will spill over into the outer as your enthusiasm scintillates like a savory steak, boils to a crescendo, and finally takes off like a 747. This formidable energetic essence of emotion appears to be the elixir that underlies this aboriginal dreamlike state of mind. As Albertus Magnus wrote in his piece De mirabilibus mundi:

    “I discovered an instructive account (of Magick) in Avicenna’s Liber Sextus Naturalium, which says that a certain power to alter things indwells in the human soul and subordinates the other things to her, particularly when she is swept into a great excess of love or hate or the like.  When therefore the soul of man falls into a great excess of any passion, it can be proved by experiment that it (the excess) binds things and alters them in the way it wants.”

    As these synchronicities abound you will feel like you’re dreaming while in a state of waking consciousness. It’s like being the choreographer of your own inner theatre production. For myself, this was the tipping point where I was forced to reconfigure my cognitive schema relative to how the world is structured and functions. I was forced to see it as it really was – a sort of fiction, mirage, cognitive construction, or illusory transcendental projection of thought itself. Now, while it is true that everyone experiences certain synchronistic phenomena such as the aforementioned, those who are advancing on a shamanic path will notice the regularity and frequency of these occurrences increasing. It may even get to the point where it becomes psychologically worrisome. But obviously fear not for this is all part and parcel of the Way.   

    The next thing you will start to notice on this journey is the mysterious manifestation of a multitude of omens. Omens are the Spirit’s way of communicating to man through the medium of Nature. They appear to increase in the life of the more spiritual types but this is only an illusion. As Carlos Castaneda wrote in The Power of Silence:

    “I am going to tell you a story about the nagual Elias and the manifestation of the spirit. The spirit manifests itself to a sorcerer, especially to a nagual, at every turn. However, this is not the entire truth. The entire truth is that the spirit reveals itself to everyone with the same intensity and consistency, but only sorcerers, and naguals in particular, are attuned to such revelations.”

    An additional sign of success will be an increased urge to express yourself creatively. At times, and seemingly out of nowhere, an omnivorous voracious impulse will come stampeding through. It completely engulfs even the most left-brain types and almost seems to demand that it be represented in some sort of concrete form be it a painting, sculpture, drawing, or what have you. I say almost because this is not an elemental struggling to survive but rather something that emanates from an innermost need, something that feels akin to duty. Amazingly, in the process of it all, you will feel like your hand is being guided by an invisible force, like you’re an instrument or conduit for the One and All. And when the work is finally complete you will stand back and say, “That was not done by my hand and yet it was.” And this is yet another sign: that of not taking credit. 

    As you continue to advance something truly astonishing may pop into your life. This being Numbers. Initially, you may even find the number eleven appearing at a frequency beyond that which can reasonably be explained away as statistical anomaly. For instance, there will be many consecutive days, sometimes lasting years, where you will see only the number eleven when you unconsciously look to discover the time. This would be the equivalent of all random variables or data sets falling consistently within the tail range of the normal distribution curve. And no, this is not due to some incessant infatuation with the number eleven or because it holds some kind of deep sentimental value or sacred meaning for you. These experiences often tend to occur before the number gains any symbolic prominence in your mind. What’s important to understand is that these experiences are typically normal and not necessarily a sign of neurosis. 

    In the end, the Numbers that are mysteriously being issued by Nature represent symbolic attempts to facilitate the process of Individuation; to bridge that gulf within the mind of man that has reached epic proportions.  For Numbers, just like the sun, moon, stars, or anything else in Nature, are ultimately symbols.  More specifically, they are archetypes of order.  As Dr. Carl Jung wrote in his work Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle:

    “Hence it is not such an audacious conclusion after all if we define number psychologically as an archetype of order which has become conscious. Remarkably enough, the psychic images of wholeness which are spontaneously produced by the unconscious, the symbols of the self in mandala form, also have a mathematical structure. They are as a rule quaternities. These structures not only possess order, they also create it. This is why they generally appear in times of psychic disorientation in order to compensate a chaotic state or as formulations of numinous experiences. It must be emphasized yet again that they are not inventions of the conscious mind but are spontaneous products of the unconscious, as has been sufficiently shown by experience. Naturally the conscious mind can imitate these patterns of order, but such imitations do not prove that the originals are conscious inventions. From this it follows irrefutably that the unconscious uses number as an ordering factor.”

    Another idiosyncratic element that you can expect to confront when traversing this path will be suffering. Just as pain accompanies our entrance into this world, so too does pain accompany the process of mystical regeneration. As part of this suffering you may experience the haughtiness of the vain, the ridicule of the close-minded, the mockery of the egotistical, and the general indifference of the masses. Many may perceive you as some sort of anomaly or worse. They will stare like motorists when they slow down to gawk at some mangled mess on the side of the road. They will think “Does he even realize he’s going nowhere?” Like a hamster in a wheel you may be perceived as moving while remaining still. But not all those who wander are lost. 

    “They who dance are thought mad by those who hear not the music.”The Times (London) 1927

    Other aspects of this tumultuous terrain include the manifestation of various psychic aberrations that serve to complicate and undermine the Work. In alchemy, these disturbances are generally brushed aside as technical difficulties. However, in the Greek and Latin alchemical texts the psychic nature of these dangers is elaborated upon at length and is described as part demonic and part psychic disturbance i.e. melancholia. With regard to the latter, this represents the confrontation with the shadow or the nigredo phase of the Work. This peculiar psychic state will descend upon you suddenly and without warning. It will be experienced as an extreme boredom unlike anything you have ever experienced. You will literally be left with zero interest in anything. And then, just as suddenly as it arrived, it will depart (for me this lasted exactly 30 days). As to the dangers in general, we get this from the alchemist Aegidius de Vadis who wrote the following in his work Dialogus inter naturam et filium philosophorum (1659):

    “I shall keep silent about this science, which has led most of those who work in it into confusion, because there are few indeed who find what they seek, but an infinite number who have plunged to their ruin.”

    Ultimately, all of this gloom and doom can be viewed as the training necessary to defeat the Guardian of the Gate. As the old consciousness dissolves a new one is rising to take its place. For one must die to be reborn. And one of the main facets of this figurative death is a separation from one’s mother tongue. The night sea journey of Odysseus is a necessary prerequisite for the return journey home. For was not Christ transfigured in a cave? Did not the Buddha disappear into the desert? So too will we have to traverse the deepest thicket of our own unconscious wilderness if we wish to turn lead into gold. For we are like mushrooms- we grow in the dark. In the words of the primitive Eskimo shaman Igjugarju:

    “The only true wisdom lives far from mankind, out in the great loneliness, and it can be reached only through suffering. Privation and suffering alone can open the mind of a man to all that is hidden to others.”—H. Ostermann, The Alaskan Eskimos

    As you navigate your way through these stormy seas know that you are on the right path, trust in yourself, and let that Power within radiate outwards in every conceivable direction. Be a mirror of what no one sees but all can sense. Communicate without speaking by allowing your electro-magnetism flood the consciousness of those around you. Act as that catalyst that kick starts the entire cascade of neurological impulses which adds vigor to the soul. For that interminable ocean – the inexhaustible fire that galvanizes, adds an extra spring to your step, and is the source of the second wind – is boiling within.

    As this rich abundant Infinite Force continues to work itself through you it will eventually effectuate a change in lifestyle. Goals will become more macro as opposed to micro as you begin to exhibit more compassion towards others. And as you learn to love others your capacity for accepting and loving yourself will grow exponentially. With this new found respect, an increased awareness in the importance of physical health will take root. Eventually, a win-win attitude will be adopted and an unusual elation will fill you to the brim. This uncanny cheer will inevitably overflow with the physiological result being a feeling akin to walking on air. Like a balloon there will be times when you feel like your literally going to float away. Precisely then will your shamanic sight, your power of imagination, will be most keen. A broadening of the perceptional horizon will allow you to see the darkness inside others. Through all of this you will feel and look like you’re getting younger even as you grow older. 

    superconsciousness

    More and more you will be helped by God as you continue to earn your keep on this path, whether it through devotion, the application of philosophic will, or otherwise. Material progress will also be a critical component in facilitating your spiritual ascent. For if one recalls it was only after a series of worldly victories that the Vision of the Grail presented itself to Parzival. Only when his temporal goal was fulfilled as represented by King Arthur’s court did the call come to go deeper, beyond the bounds of space, time, and causality to a more transpersonal realm. In short, the pathless path that leads to the Garden of the Philosophers opened up after the knight had earned his keep and was ready. As Louis Pasteur once quipped:

    “Chance favors the prepared mind.” 

    Eventually, events will begin to occur that will be so startling, so earth-shattering that they would cause even the most ardent non-believer to buckle at the knees. The Mysteries will begin to unfold in your daily life as circumstances, people, experiences, opportunities, etc., are brought in to act as initiatory gods. The Spirit will come out to meet you everywhere you go. As is said in the Corpus Hemeticum (Hermes-Thot),

    “Everywhere God will come to meet you, everywhere he will appear to you, at places and times at which you look not for it, in your waking hours and in your sleep, when you are journeying by water and by land, in the nighttime and in the daytime, when you are speaking and when you are silent; for there is nothing which is not God.”

    All in all, what’s really transpiring here is the conscious actualization of formerly latent unconscious aspects of our Self. As we continue to advance to higher and higher grades there will be other surprises to be sure – the remembering of past lives and the manifestation of miracles to name just a few. Increasingly, Nature will act as the mirror of an exciting invigorating inner adventure. Life then becomes the Lodge; Life becomes the Initiator. And this is precisely when it will become crystal clear to you that there is no need to seek out a master and that true learning starts when the books stop. For you will have arrived at the realization through experience that the highest Authority is to be found within.      

    In the end, the grand consummation will take hold and the Vision of the Grail will present itself. At High Noon the fabric of nature will be translucent as the world morphs into a web of effervescent light. Alive to an infinite degree, full of flavor and zeal, boisterous and bubbly, it sizzles until the soul bursts into flames. We then become everything because we resist nothing. Circumambulating back to that Center, where all opposites fluttering within the wheel of space-time coalesce into One, our senses become spiritualized, our instincts integrated, the body transfigured, the world transformed. For we have returned to those eternal heights to hear the Music of the Spheres, behold Beatrice, perceive Paradise, experience the sunrise, and feel the undulations of Infinity. This mesmeric, beatific, magnificent state is our right, our heritage, our destiny. It is the beginning and the end; our past and future. And it is ours to behold right Here and Now. 

    from:     http://www.zengardner.com/63207-2/

    Creativity & Flow

    Riding Your Flow: 8 Steps for Enhancing Your Creativity and Productivity

    Dr Kelly Neff, The Lucid Planet

    Why is that we tend to be more successful at pursuits we are genuinely passionate about? Why does time seem to drag when you are completely bored and uninterested in a task? How come you can easily lose yourself in a task that really piques your interest?

    According to positive psychology, doing things that you find genuinely interesting and stimulating can put you into a state Flow, which is defined as an ‘optimal state of consciousness where we feel our best and perform our best.’ During flow, self-awareness and the ego can dissolve, meaning you become completely focused and immersed in the activity for its own sake. Flow has been linked to enhanced performance and creativity across a wide range of activities, such as sports, artistic pursuits, and even in the workplace. Perhaps you can visualize a time when you became so focused and passionate about something that time just dissipated?

    What Does Flow Feel Like?

    Psychologically, riding a state of flow can feel incredibly pleasing and liberating. As we immerse ourselves in an activity that stimulates our passions, curiosity and interests, we lose track of the world around us and can enter unusual states of creativity and productivity.

    According to psychologist Mikhal Csíkszentmihályi’s landmark book Finding Flow, the feeling of flow is associated with these ten factors, although not all of them need to be present to experience it. Have you ever experienced some or all of these?

    1. You feel a complete focus of attention
    2. The activity is intrinsically rewarding
    3. You have clear, attainable (although still challenging) goals
    4. You have a feeling of peace and losing yourself
    5. There is an element of timelessness, or, losing track of time during the activity
    6. You receive immediate feedback
    7. You know that the task is doable, and you can strike a balance between skill level and the challenge presented.
    8. You feel a sense of personal control over your efforts
    9. You lose track of your physical needs.
    10. You experience an unusually high level of concentration

    What Does Flow Look Like in the Brain?

    A variety of processes occur simultaneously in the brain when we enter a state of flow. Essentially, these processes are threefold and together they help explain why during flow, the brain is capable of enhanced creativity and productivity: Transitions in brainwaves, deactivation of the prefrontal cortex, and changes in neuro-chemistry.

    • Brain Wave Transitions:

    While in a state of flow, our brainwaves transition from the more rapid beta waves of waking consciousness to slower alpha waves, and even to the border of much slower theta waves. Alpha waves are associated with relaxed and effortless alertness, peak performance and creativity, while theta waves are associated with the deeper dream-state consciousness and experienced predominately during REM sleep.

    • Pre-Frontal Cortex Deactivation:

    During flow states, the Pre-Frontal Cortex (PFC) becomes deactivated in a process called “transient hypo-frontality.” The PFC is the area of the brain that houses higher-level cognitions, including those that help us to cultivate our ego and sense of self. During a flow state this area becomes deactivated, helping us lose ourselves in the task at hand and silence our criticisms, fears and self-doubts.

    • Neuro-chemistry:

    Flow states also trigger a release of many of the pleasurable and performance- inducing chemicals in the brain, including dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine and endorphins. A recent study shows that when are intrinsically curious about an outcome and driven for answers, dopamine is released in the brain, helping to solidify our memories. These findings suggest why flow states are good for promoting learning and memory in addition to creativity.

    Eight Steps for Enhancing Your State of Flow

    In addition to being a pleasurable and productive experience, riding the flow also has a host of other benefits to well-being including increased self- esteem, self-confidence, life satisfaction and overall happiness. Here are eight steps for enhancing your state of flow:

    1. Do something that interests you.

    Flow comes most naturally when we are intrinsically motivated, excited and curios about the task. So if you are looking to get creative and productive, choose to focus on a task that you enjoy and already feel passionate about. If this is for work, or you don’t have a choice of the task, try to identify elements of the tasks that excite you. Maybe there are certain parts of project or elements of an assignment that interest you? Pay special attention to those.

    1. Set Clear Goals.

    Be specific when you are getting started on a task. What is the goal you are aiming for? Are you trying to finish a painting? Write a new song? Complete a presentation? Or perfect a new yoga pose? This will help to hone your focus and keep you on task. If you try to do too much it could overwhelm you, and if you do too little you might not spend enough time in deep concentration to reach a flow state.

    1. Find A Quiet and Productive Time.

    Most people find that an environment of peace and quiet works best for inducing a state of flow, possibly because of how brainwave patterns shift into slower frequencies during flow. When you begin your work, try to cultivate a calm, quiet environment. Also, make sure to identify when you are most productive: For some, this is first thing in the morning, and for others it is afternoon. For me, it is late at night. Identify the right time for you to be creative and block it off to engage in your flow time.

    1. Avoid Interruptions and Distractions

    Interruptions are the nemesis of flow. Every time get distracted, whether it is a roommate speaking to us, our phone beeping, emails coming in, a distracting song, or a messy desk, it can pull us out of flow and quicken our brainwaves to beta state. When you decide it is time to get into flow, turn off the phone, ask your friends, family or roommates not to disturb you, and tidy up your work space before you get started.

    1. Focus as Long as you Can:

    Once you are able to sit down during a quiet productive time without distractions, try to stay focused for as long as you can. At first, especially if you are new to the task, you may only be able to focus for five or ten minutes. This is OK: Just keep practicing! As you continue to direct your energies to focusing, you will train your brain to more easily and fluidly drop into the flow state and before long, hours will be passing by like minutes.

    1. Match Your Skills to the Task

    We can best enter flow when we are working on a task that is suited to our skill level. In other words, when we are well prepared for the task at hand, we are more likely to experience flow. Csíkszentmihályi gives the example of a runner experiencing flow during a marathon for which she has trained for several months.

    1. But There is No Harm in Stretching Your Skills Slightly

    Your skills should match the task at hand, but it is also possible to stretch your skills slightly past your comfort zone to maximize flow. A little bit of a challenge can be a great thing. So perhaps you are trying a new yoga move that is extra difficult. Or you are recording a song using new software. As long as the background skills are there, pushing yourself a little bit can be excellent for bringing you into a concentrated, productive state.

    1. Emphasize Process, Not Outcome

    Finally, please remember that the experience of flow is a PROCESS, not an outcome. In other words, working and creating from a place of flow is a life skill that you can strive to master with practice, and this usually does not happen overnight. Just keep trying and do not give up even if you don’t nail it right away. Remember, flow is all abut enjoyment and living in the present moment. If you become to wrapped up in the outcome, then it can take your enjoyment away. Who really cares what the painting looks like, so long as you enjoyed painting it right!? Just keep trying and continue to be open to the creativity flowing through your space

    Sources:

    Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (1998)

    from:    http://themindunleashed.org/2014/10/understanding-flow-eight-steps-enhancing-creativity-productivity.html

    Characteristics of Those Creative Ones

    12 Most Striking Tendencies of Creative People

    creative-personality

    Ever wonder what makes those wacky, creative types tick? How is it that some people seem to come up with all kinds of interesting, original work while the rest of us trudge along in our daily routines?

    Creative people are different because they operate a little differently. They:

    1. Are easily bored

    A short attention span isn’t always a good thing, but it can indicate that the creative person has grasped one concept and is ready to go on to the next one.

    2. Are willing to take risks

    Fearlessness is absolutely necessary for creating original work, because of the possibility of rejection. Anything new requires a bit of change, and most of us don’t care for change that much.

    3. Don’t like rules

    Rules, to the creative person, are indeed made to be broken. They are created for us by other people, generally to control a process; the creative person needs freedom in order to work.

    4. Ask “what if…”

    Seeing new possibilities is a little risky, because it means that something will change and some sort of action will have to be taken. Curiosity is probably the single most important trait of creative people.

    5. Make lots of mistakes

    A photographer doesn’t just take one shot, and a composer doesn’t just write down a fully realized symphony. Creation is a long process, involving lots of boo-boos along the way. A lot goes in the trash.

    6. Collaborate

    The hermit artist, alone in his garret, is a romantic notion but not always an accurate one. Comedians, musicians, painters, chefs all get a little better by sharing with others in their fields.

    7. Are generous

    Truly creative people aren’t afraid to give away their hard-earned knowledge. The chef can give you the recipe because she knows you won’t make it like she does anyway.

    8. Are independent

    Stepping off the beaten path may be scary, but creative people do it. Children actually do this very well but are eventually trained to follow the crowd.

    9. Experiment

    Combining things that don’t normally go together can result in brilliance or a giant mess. Trial and error are necessary to the creative process.

    10. Motivate themselves

    There does seem to be a spark that creative people share, an urgent need to make things. They are willing to run the inherent risks of doing something new in order to get a new result.

    11. Work hard

    This is probably the most overlooked trait of creative people. People who don’t consider themselves to be creative assume that people who are creative are magical, that ideas just pop into their heads effortlessly. Experienced creative people have developed processes and discipline that make it look easy.

    12. Aren’t alone

    The good news is that it’s possible for everyone to be creative. There are creative accountants, creative cooks, creative janitors, creative babysitters. Any profession or any hobby can be made into a creative pursuit by embracing and using creative traits.

    Do you consider yourself creative? (Say yes.) Finding something you’re really passionate about will help you take a chance and might just result in something wildly creative.

    Source: “12 Most Striking Tendencies of Creative People,” from 12most.com, by Kim Phillips

    – See more at: http://theunboundedspirit.com/12-most-striking-tendencies-of-creative-people/#sthash.WYudbGux.dpuf

    Traits of The Creative

    The 10 Paradoxical Traits of Highly Creative People

    creative-person

    More than ever before, our world needs people who are alive and inspired, who have new visions, new ideas for implementing them, and new energy. However, as much as corporations, classrooms, and clinical centers say they want to support creativity, they usually end up stifling it.

    For one thing, creative people are often misunderstood as undisciplined, or misdiagnosed as having a personality disorder, when in fact they are absolutely healthy within a creative norm, and capable of brilliant work when recognized, nurtured, and supported in developing their expressive capacities.

    In Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention, creativity scholar Mihaly Csikszentmilhalyi developed a generic description of the creative personality. It gives teachers, therapists, coaches, managers, and co-workers an expanded framework for working with people driven by internal passions, visions, and values.

    Csikszentmilhalyi wrote:

     “If there is one word that makes creative people different from others, it is the word complexity. Instead of being an individual, they are a multitude. Like the color white that includes all colors, they tend to bring together the entire range of human possibilities within themselves. Creativity allows for paradox, light, shadow, inconsistency, even chaos –and creative people experience both extremes with equal intensity.”

    CHARACTERISTICS OF THE CREATIVE PERSONALITY

    1. A great deal of physical energy alternating with a great need for quiet and rest.
    2. Highly sexual, yet often celibate, especially when working.
    3. Both extravagant and spartan.
    4. Smart and naïve at the same time. A mix of wisdom and childishness. Emotional immaturity along with the deepest insights.
    5. Convergent (rational, left brain, sound judgment) and divergent (intuitive, right brain, visionary) thinking. Divergence is the ability to generate a great quantity of ideas, to switch from one perspective to another, and to pick unusual associations of ideas. Convergence involves evaluation and choice. Creative people have the capacity to think both ways.
    6. Both extroverted and introverted, needing people and solitude equally.
    7. Humble and proud, both painfully self-doubting and wildly self-confident.
    8. May defy gender stereotypes, and are likely to have not only the strengths of their own gender but those of the other as well. A kind of psychic androgyny.
    9. Can be rebellious and independent on one hand, and traditional and conservative on the other.
    10. A natural openness and sensitivity that often exposes them to extreme suffering and pain, yet also to a great deal of enjoyment. Despair alternates with bliss, despair when they aren’t working, and bliss when they are.

    The most important quality among creative people, says Csikszentmilhalyi, is the ability to enjoy the process of creation for its own sake.

    Ask yourself how you can create classrooms, workplaces, families, and healing environments that value and support the gifts that the creative people you know have to offer.

    Source: “Understanding Creative People,” from livingstory-ny.blogspot.ca, by Juliet Bruce

    – See more at: http://theunboundedspirit.com/the-10-paradoxical-traits-of-highly-creative-people/#sthash.LNcZ5tJu.dpuf