“A highly creative individual is in constant self-actualization. . . Creativity makes life worth living.”
That is from the book “Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind” by Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire – “an empowering manifesto for creative people” says Susan Cain, author of “Quiet.”
Scott Barry Kaufman is director of the Imagination Institute, a columnist for Scientific American, and co-founder of The Creativity Post.
Carolyn Gregoire is Senior Health & Science Writer, The Huffington Post.
Scott Barry Kaufman writes in a Creativity Post article:
“Our selves are constantly evolving as we learn more about the world and our own identities and seek meaning in our experiences.
“According to Michael Piechowski, the process of inner transformation is itself a creative process, for through the process of advanced inner development, you are literally creating a new self.
“Similarly, Rosa Aurora Chávez-Eakle and colleagues note that ‘the creative process allows self-reorganizations that makes [it] possible to experience states that seem to be pathological. . . . A highly creative individual is in constant self-actualization. . . . Creativity makes life worth living, and involves a strong sense of being alive.’
“Or as Nietzsche put it, those who actively create and re-create themselves are truly ‘free spirits’ — artistic creators of their own lives.”
He continues, noting one of the leaders in personality psychology who is often referenced in research on creative and gifted people: Polish psychiatrist Kazimierz Dąbrowski.
Kaufman notes: “Through decades of experience with clinical and biographical studies of patients, artists, writers, spiritual teachers, and developmentally advanced children and adolescents, Dąbrowski became interested in understanding why some people’s interactions with the world seemed to be higher in intensity than others.
“Why do some people seem to fall in love, experience happiness and sadness, and engage with life with greater depth than others?
“And why is it that some children exhibit significantly higher levels of intellectual curiosity and imagination?
“For Dąbrowski, the answer to these questions was overexcitability. He believed that ‘overexcitabilities’ — heightened reactions to both the internal and external world — guide the self-transformation process to a higher level of development.
“According to Piechowski (who collaborated with Dąbrowski), these overexcitabilities intensify experiences, and are ‘channels through which flow the colors, textures, insights, visions, currents, and energies of experience.’ Overexcitabilities are critical to becoming an authentic and autonomous individual.”
From How Creativity Makes Us Feel Alive By Scott Barry Kaufman | Dec 29, 2015.
Adapted from “Wired to Create.”
Be creative, be curious: living a full life with Elizabeth Gilbert
In her book “Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear” Elizabeth Gilbert writes about pursuing a creative and fulfilling life:
“Look, I don’t know what’s hidden within you. You yourself may barely know, although I suspect you’ve caught glimpses.
“I don’t know your capacities, your aspirations, your longings, your secret talents.
“But surely something wonderful is sheltered inside you. I say this with all confidence, because I happen to believe we are all walking repositories of buried treasure.
“I believe this is one of the oldest and most generous tricks the universe plays on us human beings, both for its own amusement and for ours: The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.
“The hunt to uncover those jewels—that’s creative living. The courage to go on that hunt in the first place—that’s what separates a mundane existence from a more enchanted one.
“The often surprising results of that hunt—that’s what I call Big Magic.
“When I talk about ‘creative living’ here, please understand that I am not necessarily talking about pursuing a life that is professionally or exclusively devoted to the arts.
“When I refer to ‘creative living,’ I am speaking more broadly. I’m talking about living a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear.”
See longer video, and info about Elizabeth Gilbert’s Creativity Workshop.
A few related articles:
Photo above of Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind, from Working With Your Intensity Through Creative Expression.
Excitabilities and Gifted People – an intro by Susan Daniels [includes video.]
Susan Daniels is co-editor, with Michael M. Piechowski, of “Living With Intensity: Understanding the Sensitivity, Excitability, and the Emotional Development of Gifted Children, Adolescents, and Adults.”
The photo at top is Keira Knightley in her role in the movie “Begin Again” for which she sought help from vocal coach Roger Love to gain more confidence to sing. He has helped a number of performers – see article Dealing With Stage Fright and Public Speaking Fear.
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Here is another video with Dr. Kaufman – one of many by a wide range of leaders, produced by 92nd Street Y – “a world-class cultural and community center where people all over the world connect through culture, arts, entertainment and conversation.” www.92y.org.
“Genius is is yet another label they we put on people who have reached a high level of reputation that is in the stratosphere, whatever field it is, who have fundamentally transformed the field… known for shifting a paradigm…they’re the leaders of a huge change within their field.
“I’m much more interested in what it takes to develop world-class expertise and what it takes to develop creativity – these are all processes that stem from ordinary conditions that all of us have.”
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Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind, by Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire.
“Based on psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman’s groundbreaking research and Carolyn Gregoire’s popular article in the Huffington Post, Wired to Create offers a glimpse inside the “messy minds” of highly creative people.
“Revealing the latest findings in neuroscience and psychology, along with engaging examples of artists and innovators throughout history, the book shines a light on the practices and habits of mind that promote creative thinking.
“Kaufman and Gregoire untangle a series of paradoxes— like mindfulness and daydreaming, seriousness and play, openness and sensitivity, and solitude and collaboration – to show that it is by embracing our own contradictions that we are able to tap into our deepest creativity.” [From Amazon summary.]
Scott Barry Kaufman: Wired to Create
From the video description: “Rose Caiola discusses the science behind creativity with author of Wired to Create, Scott Barry Kaufman, who found we’re doing a lot of things that get us away from ourselves…which creates external versions of ourselves and lessons our creativity. His goal with Wired to Create was to get people in touch with their creative selves and try to understand how creativity works.”