Sunday, October 11, 2009

Cultivating the creative mind

Elizabeth Gilbert suggests a different way to look at creative genius in the following video:

In some ways, I should probably post this video after discussing the research on the creative mind and the creative process. However, I think it fits in well with the posts of perception I have recently posted. If a perception helps someone use their talents and relate to their genius in a healthy way, can we truly label it as false?

Most of my life, my rule of thumb has been if it works, then that is the bottom line. As such, can I deny the perception of another, which allows them to create beauty and makes the world better for others? Perhaps it is not my truth, but what right do I have to say it is false for a person who it works for?

Among most counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists, there is a belief that as long as a behavior or belief does not interfer with functioning in life, it's not something to worry about. For no one really has the right to impose their idea of truth onto another human being. Nor do they have the right to ridicule it.

That's not to say that they can't debate their ideas and search for data. I am a research addict, myself. However, I have found that it is always good to step back for a moment and ask myself how much the data actually proves, versus what it suggests. I believe many people make the mistake of treating the concepts suggested by a body of data as if they are carved in stone facts. Obviously, many people can do this, make it part of their identity and still function in their daily lives. I can't. I have to live with my own truths, which means that I have to accept that I might be wrong at times. (Though I must point out that I have a habit of making declarative statements, which give the impression that I am more firm on a matter than I really am.) Luckily for me, research has shown that being willing to be wrong is one of the key element of being creative. Sir Ken Robinson has a wonderful talk on this very subject:

You can't create something new, if all your concepts are in stone. Still, even a creative person needs a stone foundation in their life. Sometimes, you just have to be willing to rebuild it, after it cracks, into something stronger.

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