Creativity is a fascinating mental playground that eludes the analytical thinker. Logic and reason are first and foremost in the minds of most adults. The traditional job force embraces and encourages the analytical, mechanical, scientific, and non-thinking modes. My coach recently argued her point that there have always been creatives, although it has recently changed from being called creative thinkers to being a creative.
Yes, there has always been creatives in the workforce but we weren’t appreciated. I was encouraged to stay inside the guidelines, do the job, don’t think outside the box, stick to the status quo and produce widgets. My creative side was stifled by 200 pages or more manuals of standard operating procedures. I was sent to sensitivity training. I was sent to a procedures and protocol class. In other words, they tried their best to get me to conform. (You should be getting a visual of that 1927 Fritz Lang classic movie – Metropolis.)
There have always been the creative among us, but they are often ridiculed, called dreamers and told to get a real job. Many artists never profited from their work. It was only after their deaths that some of the greatest creatives were even recognized. Galileo was an Italian physicist, mathematician, engineer, astronomer, and philosopher who played a major role in the scientific revolution. His achievements include improvements to the telescope and consequent astronomical observations and support for Copernicanism. Galileo has been called the “father of modern observational astronomy”. Do you think his theory of a heliocentric universe was received by the church? NOT A CHANCE!
The traditional workforce is diminishing. The traditional manual labor jobs are going overseas as well as the technology jobs. There is no better time to embrace your creative tendencies than now! Creatives can think outside the box. As Gunnery Sergent Highway stated in Heartbreak Ridge, “You’re Marines now. You adapt. You overcome. You improvise. Let’s move!” Only in our world we will substitute creative for marine unless you are both in which case – I want to be on your team.
Creativity works in sometimes what is considered mysterious and often paradoxical ways. Their thinking is a stable, defining characteristic in some personalities, but it may also change based on situation and context. Inspiration and ideas often arise seemingly out of nowhere and then fail to show up when we need them most. Creative thinking requires complex cognitive skills yet is completely distinct from the thinking process.
Neuroscience paints a complicated picture of creativity. Scientists now understand that creativity is far more complex than the right/left brain distinction would have us think. This being the theory that left brain thinkers are rational and analytical, and right brain thinkers are creative and emotional. Creativity is thought to involve a number of cognitive processes, neural pathways, and emotions, and we still don’t have the full picture of how the imaginative mind works.
And psychologically speaking, creative personality types are difficult to pin down, largely because they’re complex, paradoxical and tend to avoid habit or routine. And it’s not just a stereotype of the “tortured artist” — artists really may be more complicated people. Research has suggested that creativity involves the coming together of a multitude of traits, behaviors and social influences in a single person.
“It’s actually hard for creative people to know themselves because the creative self is more complex than the non-creative self,” states Scott Barry Kaufman, a psychologist at New York University who has spent years researching creativity, “The things that stand out the most are the paradoxes of the creative self … Imaginative people have messier minds.”
So when a creative person tells you it’s about to get a little messy you best believe them.
While a creative is difficult to pin down, there are some tell-tale characteristics and behaviors that are common.
Do not confuse these traits with any excuse for laziness or slothfulness. Most creative types do end up in the traditional workforce at some point because, well we get tired of eating peanut butter and living in bad neighborhoods. In fact, many creatives that I know work a traditional job while pursuing their artistic dreams on the side, or in their spare time often forgoing meals or sleep.
What are these traits? You’ll have to tune in next week to find out. I intend to make a whole series on this topic, because I myself am tired of the stereotype, of being called lazy, tired of being told to get a real job. Hello? I have a “real job” plus a side job, plus the parenting – which is a 24/7 job.
If you see something that grabs your attention leave a comment. If you want to contribute to some of my upcoming posts, contact me.
Write on my friends, never underestimate the creative “force” within you!