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Personal growth: The danger of over-seriousness in our creative projects February 27, 2014

Posted by Dennis Mellersh in The Creative Process.
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We can take it as a “given” that initiating, building, and maintaining a program of personal growth or development requires a disciplined approach if it is to be successful. Such a personal initiative requires genuine commitment if it is to become a part of our daily life.

And yet, overdone, a deadening seriousness can settle over our attitude and subsequent efforts, which eventually can lead to a loss of energy.

A lack of playfulness or fun in our self-improvement program will diminish the likelihood of reaching our full potential in our growth plan.

This is especially true if we have included pursuing a creative interest or project as part of our program.   It’s particularly important to bring some lightness in approach and execution to the creative segment(s) of our self-improvement efforts. Indeed, perhaps to our entire program, which, being self-generated, is a creative effort in itself.

Psychiatrist and philosopher Carl Jung wrote extensively on the need for a degree of playfulness in the creative process and I’ve chosen a couple of quotations that illustrate his point:

“The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.”

“Without this playing with fantasy no creative work has ever yet come to birth. The debt we owe to the play of the imagination is incalculable.”

Personal growth and the creative process – the challenges February 26, 2014

Posted by Dennis Mellersh in Personal Growth Books, The Creative Process, Uncategorized.
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If developing and increasing your creative capability is part of your personal growth program, disciplined work may be a better route to success than trying to cultivate “inspiration”.

In discussing the process of innovation,  Brewster Ghiselin, in his book, The Creative Process, says:

“A great deal of the work necessary to equip and activate the mind for the spontaneous part of invention must be done consciously and with an effort of will. Mastering accumulated knowledge, gathering new facts, observing, exploring, experimenting, developing technique and skill, sensibility, and discrimination, are all more or less conscious and voluntary activities. The sheer labor of preparing technically for creative work, consciously acquiring the requisite knowledge of a medium and skill in its use, is extensive and arduous enough to repel many from achievement.”

He notes that it does not matter how smart or innately creative a person may be – they still need to do the requisite work to master the fundamentals of the creative field they are interested in:

“Even the most energetic and original mind, in order to reorganize or extend human insight in any valuable way, must have attained more than ordinary mastery of the field in which it is to act, a strong sense of what needs to be done, and skill in the appropriate means of expression.”

If, then,  we are interested in being involved in a particular creative activity as part of furthering our personal  development potential ,we need to be prepared to put in the hard work to thoroughly learn the elements of that creative field.

Knowing this truth would help decrease the frustration many of us can feel when we embark on a “creative” pursuit but find at the start that we do not have any creative insights on the subject matter involved.

Simply put, we need to pay our dues (work) before we can reap any creative rewards.