Head Games

connect the dots

I felt these characteristics were different in nature than the ones I put in ‘Mentalist’.

The ones I categorized there were taking in your surroundings and processing them.  External cues that are observed, processed and translated into a unique output.  However, these characteristics are more about internal processes.

The ones I am calling Head Games are the kitchen. This is where the  raw materials are processed or cooked into a savory masterpiece.  When a Creative processes, it’s the difference between the homemade muffins we bake weekly for our family, and the gourmet muffins that we would serve for a holiday gathering.

The logical rational minded person buys the box mix of lemon poppy seed muffins off the shelf for convenience as much as hunger.  I’ve bought the box mix before and they aren’t  terrible.  However,  to really create something,  it’s made from scratch.  The homemade muffins using  fresh lemons and lemon zest,  poppy seeds from the spice section and a dash of that special liqueur that really makes them “pop”.  Presentation matters but it doesn’t matter as much as the taste. If your guests were to bite into that  box mix muffin they would probably be cordial and  choke it down, depending on how hungry they are.  But, if you take the time to really put some effort into what you are serving and making sure the presentation is appealing as well, your guest will be wowed and  the compliments and groans of satisfaction will be evident.

I know,  you’re thinking what does ‘Creative’ have to do with baking? Either that or you’re thinking ‘Stop it! You’re making me hungry.’    Being a creative is not confined to being an artist, writer, singer, or song writer.  Watch an episode of Master Chef, those people create masterpieces with food.  Edible art! I’m a pretty darn good cook, but I would never consider myself a chef.  I watch what those people  dream up with a few ingredients and I am mesmerized.  In that same vein,  those fashion designer competitions  highlight the quick-thinking minds and creative minds of  the competitors. Sometimes  the ‘creation’  is a flop.  Sometimes it is a success, but someone else’s creation was preferable.  Sometimes the creation is far and above anything  that the others came up with.

How to take the same ingredients and come up with a completely different dish is the challenge.  For  those that agreed to contribute to my little series here I gave a couple of options.  There are the interviews because we want to know the process.  How did they get from A to Z,  or was it from Arundel to Zandros? The next option was to include an excerpt or sample of their work.  The last was to contribute a piece from the same  prompt.  This mainly works with writers and song writers.

For most of the population if you have eggs, milk and bread you come up with French toast.  But for the creative chef, you may end up with a souffle, Southern-style bread pudding, or Savory herb strata.

Stop with the food!  I’m hungry! 

I know, I am too and I  need to buy groceries because all I have is peanut butter and crackers.

Alright, moving on before my tummy rumbling  makes the neighbor think there are wild beasts on the loose,  let’s get to these characteristics and you can process for yourself how they translate into art, music, dance or whatever form of creation the Creative mind can dream up.

Characteristics of the Creative’s Head games:

a)      They take time for solitude:  Creatives value alone time.  They understand that being alone doesn’t necessarily mean being lonely.

“In order to be open to creativity, one must have the capacity for constructive use of solitude. One must overcome the fear of being alone,” was stated by existential psychologist Rollo May.

Artists are often stereotyped as being loners. Solitude can be the key to producing their best work. For Kaufman, this links back to daydreaming – “we need to give ourselves the time alone to simply allow our minds to wander.”

“You need to get in touch with that inner monolog to be able to express it,” he says. “It’s hard to find that inner creative voice if you’re … not getting in touch with yourself and reflecting on yourself.”

They understand the difference between solitude and isolation.  Even though the two may overlap at times,  there is a distinct difference.  A creative may isolate themselves completely.  My father would go fishing. Just him and the fish out on the lake. It gave him time to think, time to collect his thoughts, time to sort his feelings and emotions. It wasn’t that he had to do it alone, I was often his fishing buddy.  If it wasn’t me,  there was always someone else willing to go even on those early, early mornings when any self-respecting person would be tucked away in dreamland. My father expressed his creativity in woodworking.  He was a master carpenter, cabinet maker.  He made some interesting and unique pieces over the years.  He would  think about the need, then create something that would be astounding in its simplicity yet profound in  it’s ingenious. To him, those times of self-isolation were seeking solitude.

A creative soul understands this need to step back from the rat race,  for solitude – to examine things and sort the thoughts and jumble of demands on our lives, and assess their options.  Many sort things at this  time like  that book I read about men being like waffles.  The creative  mind operates more like the spaghetti strung across the plate, but whether they physically touch the spaghetti, or mentally touch the spaghetti, they are able to see how  each strand fits together to make the whole.  After all, it wouldn’t be a plate of spaghetti  if they were all laid across the plate in the same linear fashion as they are in the box.  That would just be weird!

b)      They are solo travelers, lone wolves    AWOO!  As I mentioned above, the artistic soul is often called lone wolves. I think for the mere fact that we do tend to seek solitude.  Another factor is creative tend to be self-sufficient, and not codependent.  A creative marches to their own drum and are less likely to be lemmings. When the crowd is following the marching band down the middle of the street, and the creative has a different tune playing, it’s easy to not follow the crowd.  Besides, parades can be bad.  Remember what happened in Animal House? Yeah, stick to the side roads and stay away from the main street parade.

Creatives tend to not care as much about peer pressure as the general populace.  Ever notice that the art students, the geek squad, the band geeks, bookworms, eggheads, goth/emo, the nerd society –really don’t care what other people think?  Please don’t take offense by my terms – I’ve been called  all of them at one time or other except emo – it’s hard to be called emo when you are  the hyper one accused of being ADHD, and chronically happy. (And we all know that isn’t truthful cause when I get down I really get down.)

We can function alone.  We don’t pine for the crowd’s approval. Parents may notice early on that their child can sit and entertain themselves.  They are content to play with their toys whether it’s a Barbie fashion show, or a matchbox race of the century featuring Racer X, Mario Spaghetti, and his longtime rival Lex Lugnut.  Sorry, I digress. But you get the idea.  These are the children for whom the parents didn’t have to arrange play dates.  Heck, back in my day there wasn’t any such thing and when you grow up in the country if you didn’t have an imagination,   you were destined to be put to work.  Seriously, if I ever expressed “ I’m bored”,  my dad had a list of chores longer than his arm that needed to be attended to.

c)       They ask the big questions – Creative people are insatiably curious.  They generally opt to live the examined life and somehow maintain a sense of curiosity about the world around them.  They are always learning new things, always curious about how things are done, how they are made, why they are made, why did someone do it that way, what prompted the idea.  These are not ones that tend to take life for granted, or be content with the daily grind.  Creatives want to LIVE life every day.  Whether it’s through deep conversation or letting their minds wander during their times of solitude, creatives want to know why and how it is the way it is.

d)      They get outside of their own head – Kaufman states that daydreaming serves another purpose, to help us to get outside of our own limited perspective and examine other ways of thinking.

“Daydreaming has evolved to allow us to let go of the present,” says Kaufman. “The same brain network associated with daydreaming is the brain network associated with a theory of mind — I like calling it the ‘imagination brain network’ — it allows you to imagine your future self, but it also allows you to imagine what someone else is thinking.”

Getting outside your own head is a key element for writers.  Some seem to instinctively know how to elicit the desired response from their readers.  Others need to work on this as they practice their craft.

e)      They make time for mindfulness – I know, this seems ironic given the above states of getting outside of their own mind. However, getting focused is essential to tapping those creative juices inside us.

Creatives understand the power of a clear and focused mind.  Ever see a movie where the hero goes off and trains, getting ready to kick some serious butt, and part of his training is meditative.  Then he looks up into the camera with “the look” and you know he’s ready.  Yeah, it’s kind of like that.  Whether you call it channeling your energies, collecting your chai, soothing your karma, praying or getting your head on straight – you know when you’ve reached the point of clarity.

Many artists, entrepreneurs, and other creatives turn to meditation as a tool for harnessing their most creative state of mind.

Science backs up this idea.  Mindfulness can boost your brain power in numerous ways.  In a study from 2012, their findings suggest that certain meditative techniques promote creative thinking. Mental clarity leads to mental acuity, which leads to witty and ingenious ideas.  It also suggests that mindfulness  improves memory and focus, emotional well-being, reduces stress and lowers blood pressure.

I don’t know about you, but I think that is reason right there to do whatever juju it is that works for you to get your head on straight.  Sounds like a perfect recipe for a happy healthy life!

f)       They connect the dots – this is something that distinguishing the creative from the non-creative.  The ability to make connections where others don’t. Using a different word to describe – vision.  The visionaries of the world are creative.  The entrepreneurial mind makes connections and has vision.  Kevin Bacon’s 6 degrees of separation?   Genius.  However, when he is asked about it, he says it’s simply connecting the dots.

In the words of Steve Jobs:

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.”

f)       Can see different POV’s – they are able to see the other side of the coin.   One of the problems with this leads to difficulty making up their minds about things because they can see different perspectives.  As an artist, they look at something from a different angle, and suddenly the light bulb goes off.  A writer thinks about what his characters will be thinking and what their perspective is.  They are often able to distinguish that one view isn’t right or wrong, just different whereas the logical mind tends to go to the “I’m right you’re wrong” mode.

In the aforementioned 2012 study, researchers found that “psychological distance” – in other words, looking at things from a different perspective, or thinking about it from different circumstances can boost creative thinking.

Most of these traits can be learned but for the creative, they are instinctual.  They come naturally and don’t even have to think about it.  When   they are asked to analyze it, that’s when the cogs start to clunk and grind because it disrupts their natural flow.

Do any of these traits sound familiar about yourself, your friends, or a family member?

Tune in next week and we will cover the next group, the Entrepreneurs.

For previous posts in this series see:

1. The Creative Mind  (https://quotidiandose.wordpress.com/2014/05/07/)

2. A Mentalist (https://quotidiandose.wordpress.com/2014/05/16/)

3. Time Bandits (https://quotidiandose.wordpress.com/2014/05/29/)

4. Expressions http:// quotidiandose.wordpress.com/2014/6/11/)

Write on my friends, write on!