Shyam's Slide Share Presentations


This article/post is from a third party website. The views expressed are that of the author. We at Capacity Building & Development may not necessarily subscribe to it completely. The relevance & applicability of the content is limited to certain geographic zones.It is not universal.


Sunday, March 17, 2013

10 Reasons Why We Struggle With Creativity 03-18

10 Reasons Why We Struggle With Creativity

Sisyphus the Titan pushing his infamous boulder up the hill; image credit Wikipedia
“There is always room, if only in one’s own soul, to create a spot of Paradise, crazy though it may sound.”
–Henry Miller, Preface toStand Still Like the Hummingbird
“I tell you: one must still have chaos in oneself, to give birth to a dancing star.”
–Frederick Nietzsche,Thus Spake Zarathustra
“The fact that order and creativity are complementary has been basic to man’s cultural development; for he has to internalize order to be able to give external form to his creativity.”
–Lewis Mumford, The Myth of the Machine
Anyone who says “I don’t have a creative bone in my body” is seriously underestimating their skeleton.  More to the point, they are drastically undervaluing their brain.
My contention in this article is that creativity is an integral part of being human, and to deny its expression is like denying the expression of other crucial human elements that we intuitively realize we’d be miserable without. How about a life without sex, to use one bare-knuckled example? Creativity is no less a part of who and what we are. What follows are 10 reasons why we frequently struggle to get into a creative space, along with suggestions on how to get there.1. Your brain is always putting out fires.
Cognitive science research tells us that our brains are equipped with sensitive threat-alert systems (of which the amygdala is a significant part), and these systems are older than we are, evolutionarily speaking. In our brains, the limbic system–home of the well-known fight or flight response–is ready to click on with a micro seconds’s notice. That’s a good thing. The problem is that it’s ready to click on with a micro second’s notice. As with many paradoxes within our brains, the good is also the bad depending on context. Because we are so neurobiologically predisposed to looking for the next fire, it’s challenging to carve out a “safe space” for creativity.
What can we do about that?  The video at the end of this article, featuring the inestimable creative genius John Cleese, offers some quality suggestions.
2. Chunks of time are hard to come by.
Even when we can outwit our brain’s threat-alert system, it’s still difficult to find what the late, great management philosopher Peter Drucker advised we must find to be effective in any capacity: “chunks of time.”  Spurts of time riddled with interruptions aren’t conducive to creativity because each time our focus is wrecked, we struggle to get back to the point we’d reached in our creative “flow” (a term coined by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi).  Creativity isn’t like restarting a blu ray disk and picking up exactly where we left off. A great deal of energy went into getting to that place, and we must expend more energy to get into it again.
Cleese’s video also offers suggestions for this problem, but in short — we must set firm, impenetrable parameters for being creative. If you think you’ll need two solid hours to get there, then make those two hours nonnegotiable.
3. The “self-efficacy” problem.
Pioneering psychologist Albert Bandura devoted a large part of his expansive career to figuring out how people can develop a necessary sense of self-efficacy–the outcome when accomplishment yields compounding confidence in one’s abilities. The irony that Bandura uncovered is that we only get there when we’ve experienced enough failure to demonstrate the difficulty of our eventual accomplishment. Another way to say that is — if it were easy, none of us would have a problem. But creativity isn’t easy, and we’re going to stomach failure–probably more than we think–before achieving something that starts depositing confidence in our cerebral bank accounts.
The thing to remember is that confidence compounds with time, and most people give up before they start earning a return on their investment.
4. The “governing scenes” problem. 
Two more great psychologists, Silvan S. Tomkins and Gershen Kaufman, devoted much of their careers to figuring out why shame wields so much power in our mental lives.  Tomkins (who is the father of “Affect Theory” and “Script Theory”) coined the term “governing scripts,” and Kaufman built on his work, later coining the term “governing scenes,” which are the mental images of past experience that our brains conjure when we come across a “trigger” for that experience.