Psychology for creativity

1. Creativity is a function of inborn characteristics and aptitude, influenced by upbringing, family and social environment. I believe that this statement is important in terms of developing and having access to one’s own personal creativity. According to Csikszentmihaly there is a genetic disposition to our creativity and having access to his creativity when needed. There are ten dimensions that determine who and what makes a real creative person. Some of these characteristics are (1) physical energy-creative people have a great deal of physical energy but at the same time are peaceful. (2) Creative people are smart yet contain innocence at the same time. (3) Creative people contain a combination of discipline and playfulness at the same time. (4) Go back and forth between imagination/fantasy to being rooted/realistic. (5) Contain both extrovert and introverted qualities. (6) Are humble yet proud, (7) have a combination of masculine and feminine qualities, (8) have a combination of rebel and conformist characteristics. (9) They are very passionate when it comes to work, yet they are objective about the situation. (10) Creative people are sensitive, therefore they are prone to suffer, but at the same time has a lot of enjoyment.

Creative people are the ones who can act on both sides of the spectrum; they can run on both ends of these polarities. I believe that the ten dimensions are things that I do recognize within my personal creativity, in many ways I find myself having many of these spectrums. And I find it very interesting that the creative person is neither one nor the other, but both. Sometimes a person questions whether it’s right to be at both ends of the spectrum, but after reading this I found out that it is quite normal and promotes creativity.

There are also factors during one’s own developmental phase that can bring about the creative person within such as being firstborn, surviving a big loss of one or both parents when young, having a diversified environment, exposure to wide range of Ideas, being a book lover, lots of hobbies, good working habits, and interestingly enough the creative person is someone in conflict. I am actually the first born; I have three younger half siblings, and therefore technically considered an only child as well. When I was six years old I suffered some serious trauma when both of my grandparents died a month a part from each other. I was very close to them and considered them to be like my parents, so close that our apartments were on the same floor of our apartment building. Shortly after my parents got divorced, and what I considered a perfect world fell apart in a matter of weeks.

This trauma that I endured so young had forever impacted my life to this day. I think in many ways it almost made special and I knew from that day forth that I was a lot different than many of my peers. From that point on life was not easy, it was like a tumbling wheel, everything that could possibly go wrong did. However at the same time I did see that the melancholy of my life allowed me to access a creative side as well. I always felt musically inclined, I love to sing, dance, play guitar, act, etc… Interestingly enough I took the arts very seriously and considered myself creative and considered myself one of the best.

According to Amabile, family lives of young people help develop the creative self. Parenting style and home atmosphere apparently has more of an impact on determining creativity than genetics, therefore home life is a very important role in raising a creative person. Parents who have less rules have more creative children. Families with creative teens have unconventional furnishings. Creative children suffer more traumas. Growing up I felt a lot more unconventional than the rest, my parents were in some way considered “hippies” and I was allowed to do pretty much whatever I wanted. I never was grounded or had any rules, which isn’t always such a great thing; however I was free to find myself. I can see that rules may somehow cut a person free will and creativity to flow.

2. Creativity is largely a function of the unconscious mind-its particular voice and content-as mediated by the conscious mind. We can access our unconscious content so as to heighten our creativity.

What is creativity? What goes on during this process? Psychoanalysis gives us certain explanations on how this process is possible, and also on its benefits for both its author and public. Freud admitted to not being able to – fully, in my opinion- account for the artist’s gift using the psychoanalytic method.

The creative process is, according to Freud, an alternative to neurosis, that is a defense mechanism protecting against neurosis, leading thus to the production of a socially acceptable source of entertainment and pleasure for the public. For the artist has the ability of turning his fantasies into artistic creations instead of into symptoms.

The unconscious plays a major role in the act of creation. That is, the act of creation is made possible by the libido, the energy of the id, and by a defense mechanism considered to be the most beneficial – sublimation. By turning the sexual desire into a cultural manifestation with the help of the ego, sublimation makes the thoughts of the unconscious more acceptable to the conscious and it also allows for something productive, and pleasant, for the others as well.

Art makes use of defense mechanisms such as condensation and displacement – terms also used for work on the dream process, due to the role of the unconscious in both creative and dream processes.

Art itself can be regarded as a defense mechanism. The artistic creation may be, for the artist, wish fulfillment or fantasy gratification of desires denied by the reality principle or prohibited by moral codes. Art is thus a means of giving expression to, and dealing with, various psychic pressures. The artist can work his fantasy – a substitute for satisfaction – by means of sublimation, into a socially acceptable form, art, that the others can enjoy. He works out the personal in his daydreams, fantasies into something he can share with the public.

Some believe that creativity is intertwined with repression and pain. Freud did claim that the artists use their work to project in the outside world unfulfilled fantasies. However, in his view, a good poem is sublimation, and not a repression. Moreover, there is this ability of the artist to create and not become ill with phobia. I believe that many of times growing up I chose to do many things such that involved the arts so that deal with things in my life that were not the easiest to deal with.

Any artistic creation is a compromise between the unconscious and conscious intent of its author. According to Freud, the artist can choose and make changes in the unconscious material. This and the way the artist transforms his egotistic fantasies into something acceptable for public appreciation could be regarded as parts of the artist’s gift. The fantasies of a man of artistic talent give us pleasure, while those of an ordinary day-dreamer could leave us indifferent, or bore or disgust us; or, while we might find that the fantasies of an ordinary day-dreamer have something in common to ours, his ‘work’ would not have the same value as a true, gifted artist’s, and the day-dreamer will not be interested in sharing his ‘work’ and reworking it for the public

3. The creative mind is an eccentric one and can be close in processing style to the pathological mind.

Creativity could be described as the ability to create products or ideas which are original and which possess a strong social usefulness. To create, indeed, implies the production of something new and original. However the qualities that make an individual able to produce new entities are not well understood. As is also the case with the concept known as “intelligence”, it is unlikely there is a general creativity factor unevenly distributed across the population. Rather, creativity can be conceived as a complex of qualities that allow some people more easily than others to produce new objects or ideas.

Most studies show that there is a link between creative ability and the risk of mental disorder: in fact, the prevalence of mental problems among creatively gifted people is often, but not always, significantly higher than among the general population. Studies on the relationship between creativity and mental illnesses suggest that they are the same characteristics of the disorder, in their less severe manifestations, which confer some advantage on afflicted individuals and their relatives.

4 .The creative processes has a life of its own, I believe it can be greatly influenced by practices and conscious actions.

There are many practices that can help influence the creative process such as visualization processes, having a higher responsibility, repeating questions to uncover your blocks (perfectionism, fear, shame)owning your shadow- using Jungian theory to help find certain archetypes of your life. Always having a witness consciousness to whatever you may be doing. All these exercises can help with coming closer to the creative process; it allows you to have access to your creativity and keep the energy flowing where it may sometimes be stagnant.

I think these exercises are important to help not only to get your creative juices flowing, but it also allows you to really take control of your life and the obstacles that you may encounter along the way. Exercises such as owning your shadow really give you a sense on how important it is for you to be real with yourself. Because if you are not honest with yourself, I doubt you will ever get to the core of what really in life moves you or makes you tick. It is okay to have feelings that may not be so called appropriate in that exact moment, but just as long as you own yourself and you true feelings, you can see that it is okay to pass through these times of darkness, and that it is acceptable to not be smiling all the time. Everyone has a dark side and there is nothing wrong with that, it simply is just how life is.

Having a higher responsibility also helps the person become more aware of their surroundings, and not just think about themselves. Personally when after doing this higher responsibility I realized that it’s such a rewarding feeling that you feel when you give freely to someone without necessarily getting something in return. I believe that a lot of people are selfish and usually give because they know they will be getting something in return. I think that when you finally decide to give without thinking of what you will receive it is a lot more rewarding.

The list of five was also another great exercise to get those creativity juices flowing; it gives you an opportunity to really dig in and see what really makes you tick, what goals you may soon want to achieve, what hold you back in life, and all together allows you to become more aware of all the things that may be possible in achieving within this lifetime.

Another wonderful exercise that I found unbelievably interesting was the visualization exercise, I thought that it was a great way in learning how to take more control of your life and the things that you may want to create within your life. A lot of the times people are lost and do not see the light at the end of the tunnel, it is hard because people will lose themselves the chaos of life, let’s say for example you are dealing with an illness, it may very well be hard to overcome that, however doing visualization exercises particularly helps in problems such as these. It trains your brain to start creating these solutions, by first just thinking about it; imagining it and then eventually making it a reality.

Creative process does have a life of its own, these exercises allow you to take charge of your life and move into a whole new realm of creativity. It brings you closer to the things in your life that you may have not been able to achieve because you couldn’t see how to really achieve these things before and make it a reality.

5. What do you think is the source of creativity? The creative spirit? From where does the motivation for creativity come?

Creativity is the quality that you bring to the activity that you are doing. It is an attitude, an inner approach – how you look at things….

Really, the experience of creativity is an entry into the mysterious. Technique, expertise and knowledge are just tools; the key is to abandon oneself to the energy that fuels the birth of all things.

This energy has no form or structure, yet all the forms and structures come out of it. It makes no difference what particular form your creativity takes – it can be painting or singing, planting a garden or making a meal. The important thing is to be open to what wants to be expressed through you. I believe that we don’t possess our creations; they do not belong to us. True creativity arises from a union with the divine, with the mystical and the unknowable. Then it is both a joy for the creator and a blessing to others.

6. How does creative thinking differ from “ordinary” thinking?

Creative thinking is different from ordinary thinking because it gets to you to start focusing on this different type of energy. Some examples of some skills associated with creativity are

Breaking out of old patterns and doing something different, keeping options open, not judging so quickly, thinking broadly- trying to see relationships between different ideas, breaking through ordinary way of doing things, trying to perceive things in a new and exciting way, using exercises to help get those creative juices flowing more freely.

Basically creativity thinking is more innovative and free, being able to try new ideas and things to encourage more creative progress. Learning to become more open to new ways of promoting these different ways of doing things, creativity is daring to be different; making the difference. According to Osborne things that promote creativity are traveling, playing games, solving puzzles, pursuing hobbies, and reading/writing

Ordinary thinking is stagnant; it does not have a unique sense. It wears the same old boring t-shirt and jeans every day. Ordinary thinking simply follows the crowd and never tries to be the one to stand away from the crowd and try something new. According t Osborne factors that cramp creativity are sticking to previous habits, self-discouragement, timidity, and urbanization.

A statement I always love to say in honor of creativity is: Dare to be different and the rest will follow!

7. Do you think the genius is born or made? Weisberg posits that the primary factors in genius or extraordinary accomplishments are skill, motivation and discipline.

According to Weisberg genius are in born, that it is a natural ability that we are born with. Personally I would have to agree and say that it is something innate and something that we can all attain. Also in terms of creativity everyone’s has the ability to access it as much as they want.

He also states that this idea of geniuses is a view that is very rooted in the past. He believes that the idea of a genius is more of a myth, therefore it does not exist, meaning that we all have this capability to be so called geniuses. He states that creativity is within everyone and that we all have ability to attain these achievements just as long as improve skill, are motivated and disciplined enough to achieve these goals and ideas.

Weisberg also points out that in theory we all have the same cognitive abilities as a so called genius, so what makes them so different? Apparently nothing, we have the same capability to weave and create different Ideas / inventions that have not yet been thought of as much a “genius ” could or even more than genius would.

Creativity is in access to all that is new, different, exciting, innovative, loving, peaceful, fun, and the opposite of all that we do on a daily basis. Creativity is about living to your potential and shaking up the earth. We all are to accomplish these set out aspirations for ourselves just as long as we believe and really yearn to do so, nothing in the world should/could stop you.