It’s a common story about highly creative people – that they’re basically crazy. Creative geniuses end up as loonies, or borderline loonies, or minimally functional. The reclusive writers, the drunks, the suicides, the painter who cut off his ear (Van Gogh), the institutionalized artists…
Turns out, creativity is complex. It’s not dependent on your IQ, and you don’t have to be crazy. There are many characteristics and traits that go into being highly creative, and highly creative people may actually be MORE sane than “normal” folks.
Last week I wrote about boosting creativity through cultivating the Art of Serendipity. (Read that here.) This article builds on that one.
Here are some of the characteristics of highly creative people:
- cultivating serendipity, or discovering “what they were not in quest of”
- introspection and openness to their inner life
- preferring complexity and ambiguity over black & white perspectives
- a high tolerance for disorder and disarray
- yet they are able to extract order from chaos
- being highly independent and unconventional
- willing to take risks
- tolerance of uncertainty and contradictions
Highly creative people develop a higher self-awareness – including awareness of the “shadow” or “darker” aspects of the self. They engage with both the dark and the light – the full spectrum of life. The whole enchilada. The whole human being. All of themselves.
So, it’s really no surprise that my clients open up their creativity as they open up their voices. When we shut down parts of ourselves, when we refuse to express, or recognize parts of ourselves, when we don’t give them a voice, when we hold our voices back – we shut down our creativity.
Creativity is messy. Creativity is multi-faceted. To be a highly creative person, we must be a whole person, fully self-expressed. We are not a single entity, really. We each are a multitude, with inner children, inner critics, inner protectors… Creativity requires embracing the multitude of parts we all contain.
This means we have to accept the different voices inside us that sometimes contradict each other. One part of us wants to be safe, another wants us to power through and take risks. One part wants to hide, another wants to get out there on stage in the spotlight.
Creativity requires that we acknowledge all of it, and make our choices based on introspection, conscious awareness, and a little bit of “f**k it, I’m going to try something different.”
If you want it all to work out EXACTLY as you planned, you’ll lose the spark that ignites creativity. You’ll miss the clues that your failure will actually lead to the next big thing – that show the opportunity inside of what looks like losing it all – the strange magic that comes from embracing contradictions and complexity!
Brain function in creatives is highly flexible – switching from executive functions to imaginative functions with ease. This allows us to juggle those seemingly contradictory thoughts, tune in to our inner experience, use emotion and rational thought, and draw on a wide range of thinking styles, characteristics and strengths. Creatives also draw on the WHOLE brain – not just the left or right sides. (So, forget that idea that it’s your right brain that’s creative and the left is only logical. It’s not the case.)
Creativity means we pay attention to things we weren’t looking for, to the signs and signals that come from our inner voice, our intuition, our spiritual guidance. Creativity means bringing seemingly contradictory elements and ideas together in unexpected, different and unusual ways.
So, your inner journey, daydreaming, personal growth work, spiritual questioning, juggling contradictions, embracing your shadow and all the inner parts of you, practicing serendipity, dancing for no reason, using your WHOLE brain (not the left OR right), listening to your intuition, speaking in your soul’s voice – all these things spark and boost your creativity.
Not only that, they make life WAY more fun!
Our brains can always learn and grow. It’s called neuroplasicity. The more you do these things, the more you train your brain to be flexible for creativity.
You might look crazy to others while you’re in your creative process. That’s where the f**k it comes in. Screw what others say – you’re on a journey – you’re exploring – you’re cultivating serendipity. You don’t know what the end result will be, and you’re having a great time on the way.
When my clients stop holding their voices back, they move into full, authentic expression of their whole selves. They stop holding themselves back – in business, in relationships, in their soul’s purpose, and they all boost their creativity significantly.
If you’d like my support in opening up your soul’s voice and deepening your inner work so you can boost your creativity, book a complimentary Voice Your Value Breakthrough Session, and let’s talk.
This article was inspired by: LIGHT AND DARK – Creative People’s Brains Really Do Work Differently by Carolyn Gregoire and Scott Barry Kaufman
Here’s to your messy, contradictory, up and down roller coaster of creativity.