Creativity in everyday life – Passion, solitude and sensitivity

Passion is not enough, sensitivity is not enough and intuition is not enough

For creativity to happen, more has to happen.  You need passion, intuition, and solitude, according to the book ‘Wired to create’ by @Scott B. Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire (2015).  Kaufman and Gregoire say that most creative people can recall a time in their life where they saw, heard, sensed or tasted something that made them decide that ‘this’ is what they wanted to do in their life.  They discovered their ‘passion’.  In that person’s self, the individual and the activity intertwined to become one.  The authors believe that this is what propels people towards their destinies. 

However, the next step must happen.  The individual must take steps towards that ‘passion’ and find the element in it that best suits them.  A person needs to choose, develop the skills and be willing to put in the time needed to develop the skills. At the same time, the person needs to find a way to integrate that passion in their lifestyle.

Within the passion, there are moments of inspiration.  First the person is inspired by something (a role model, an idea or an experience) then we start to see the possibilities of this change or idea. Kaufman and Gregoire say that the person is ‘awakened’ to the possibilities. The next step is important. Taking action or working towards that idea comes next. In there we must add a step; preparation or the development of skills.  This means learning the skill needed to transform the idea or develop the passion.  

If, in the development of the skills, you realize that you don’t have the muscle strength to become a wood carver, is there a way that you can take the same idea and use different materials. You need to try to develop the skills to find out.  Moving in that direction does not guarantee success with the project.  The ability to modify your idea and use different materials for example, is part of the creative process.

Kaufman and Gregoire say that inspired people are more likely to do more work hard because they are more driven.  The idea or inspiration and the work ethic need to work together.  The authors agree that not only does the person need to love the dream, they must love the process of becoming the person who can sculpt or paint. Perseverance in achieving that goal is essential.  The person needs to be able to hold onto that goal for a long time in order to achieve or realize it. 

Hope, according to Kaufman and Gregoire, is a driving factor.  A hopeful state of mind pushes the person through tough moments or stages. People approach their goals not only with hope but with strategies that lead to success. 

Solitude.  No, you do not have to be a hermit.  Kaufman and Gregoire say that a ‘room of one’s own’ is a basic need for most creative people.  Some people make their own ‘room’ by getting up early or staying up after everyone else is in bed.  Creatives need alone time but they are not necessarily lonely. The solitude gives the mind space to reflect, find meaning and connect all those different ideas floating around in their heads. 

One book that describes this very well is Quiet by @Susan Cain (https://www.quietrev.com).  Cain describes best the creative’s need for time away from the masses.  A capacity for solitude is a sign of emotional maturity and it is a skill that can be learned. 

Creatives tend to work alone and this is needed time for reflection.  The mind needs time to settle down in order to ‘reflect’ on the day or the project.  Internal reflection can also be done when the body is doing mundane tasks like washing dishes, laundry or other activities that are more or less automatic.

Sensitivity.  Kaufman and Gregoire advocate that sensitivity is a gift.  According to research, sensitive creatives have higher levels of awareness, see their world with heightened awareness and are more autonomous.  For example, they might see ‘brighter’ colors or detailed textures. 

Heightened sensitivity can be a challenge and an asset.  Kaufman and Gregoire note that it requires spending more time alone.  Creatives need to block out this sensitivity sometimes and at other times focus on it.  To the sensitive mind, there is more to observe, take in, feel and process. Sensitive people pick up on small items or changes in their environment that others miss.  Creatives also process things more deeply.  For example, they are more affected by caffeine, medication and pain than others. The result for some is also a roller coaster of emotions and they need to channel that energy into something that is meaningful for their lives. 

Do you want to know if you are a sensitive person?  Ask yourself:

You absolutely abhor violence and cruelty of any kind. … 

You‘re frequently emotionally exhausted from absorbing other people’s feelings. … 

Time pressure really rattles you. … 

You withdraw often. … 

You‘re jumpy. … 

You think deeply. … 

Sudden, loud noises startle you.  For more information you can go to:

Sensitive people detect changes in their environment faster, see detail more, are more sensitive to people’s expressions.  Kaufman and Gregoire say that experiences of extreme adversity show us our own strength.  As creatives, we are more sensitive to our environment.  We feel more deeply. Adversity affects us more. However, that also gives us more material to work with.  Being more aware, we are in a position to go beyond just what we see, touch, feel and experience.  

Buddhists believe that anything that challenges you makes you pull yourself together.  Growth after adversity. Kaufman and Gregoire quote research that says that 70% of trauma survivors report some positive psychological growth and it makes us more creative. Creative work can be a way of exploring and giving expression to that meaning according to Kaufman and Gregoire.  Creativity doesn’t require adversity.  It is just that adversity makes us more aware and being aware of our environment is part of creativity.   

We reconsider things we took for granted, for example.  We are forced to evaluate our life differently or ask questions we would not have asked before. We go beyond our limitations into another realm of thinking. In Finland this is called Sisu; the ability to face extraordinary circumstances, courage, resoluteness and an action mindset.  

Creativity can also be a coping mechanism during a traumatic time or after a traumatic time. Kaufman and Gregoire say that when we engage in creative activities we tend to become involved or absorbed into the action. And entering a flow state that gives us a sense of control, enjoyment and accomplishment. Kaufman and Gregoire also say that creativity is also a sign that growth has occurred and is an expression of healing. 

Adversity need not be a traumatic death. It can be reading a challenging book and finishing it.  If this book challenges your basic beliefs, it is considered a challenge.  Facing this challenge can lead to change. Kaufman and Gregoire tell us that the best way to get a creative boost is to take a risk and be prepared to fail. 

As an artist can you challenge yourself to do something new like:

-Go to some new galleries

-Go visit some artist studios

-Go plein air painting

-Use some new materials or colors

-Go dumster diving for new materials at the Reuse Centre

-Watch some videos by master artists

In the next blog I will talk about intuition…See you then.

I hope this helps you.

Doris’ website: www.dorischarest.ca

I have creativity courses and art courses online at: https://www.udemy.com/user/dorischarest/

For more information on mixed media by Doris Charest:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCltBfqSMAK0OOWeXaKGud6Q?view_as=subscriber

https://www.facebook.com/dorischarest

https://www.pinterest.ca/dalinec/

https://www.instagram.com/dorischarest/

https://www.udemy.com/user/edit-profile/

https://www.skillshare.com/user/dorischarest

All photography and artwork by Doris Charest

Thanks for reading, and please do recommend, like, share, comment, etc. Thanks.

Till next time …

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