I am a consummate creative. I have been a professional artist, designer, author and entrepreneur for 20 years. I am a problem solver, the challenges my life and work bring me are what keep me moving in a positive direction. As well my faith keeps me positive, period!
What makes a person creative? As human beings, of course, we are all endowed with the ability to create. But, what is the difference between that kind of “little c” creativity and the world-changing “big C” creativity that changes industries and leaves a legacy for generations to come?
In his decades-long study of creativity, management psychology expert Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi described what he called a “systems approach.” Since “creative” work tends to be subjective, he posited a model that included three systems:
In order to be considered creative (in the sense that it offers some kind of enduring work the world remembers), a work must satisfy all three of these areas. Here’s how it works: First, an individual must master his or her craft in a given domain (art, science, mathematics,etc.). Then, this person must offer the creative work to a field of influencers in that domain who are trusted experts. Finally, those gatekeepers must decide whether the work is worth being accepted into the domain as being authoritative.
That’s the systems approach to creativity. And as much as I initially winced at the word “gatekeepers” when considering what makes creative work succeed, once I started reading biographies of famous artists, scientists and musicians, Csikszentmihalyi’s theory made a lot of sense. Talent is only part of the equation. The rest is networking.
Having a conversation with my daughter about how she and her friends treat one another can be such a challenge. Middle school girls are almost impossible to deal with. Typically involves crying and me taking a lot of deep breaths before I speak and offer any kind of wisdom
High school and mean girls was my living hell. What I know know is that none of it mattered except how those interactions formed my personal level of confidence and self worth.
My mom worked a ton and my Dad was away for work a great deal. So I floundered and made grave mistakes.
Today I try to express to my kids this when they are facing mean girls or overly competitive boys talking smack: “transform fear into prudence , pain into transformation, mistakes into initiation, and desire into undertaking.” Nassim NTaleb
These are things we practice all our lives and may never achieve perfection. We can certainly become better people than we are currently. That’s all I want my daughter to know as she goes back to the lunch table and faces off with snarky comments. I told her to not back down and don’t lash out. Stay positive and smile. Stoics had a great idea. We all need to practice the philosophy more and be kind to one another.
Reading “the obstacle is the way”, validating what I already believe. We can run from our problems, if we don’t see a way around them, then it is best embrace our situation and we find a way through them.
I am working through a Best Self Journal. Found it online wasting time on Instagram. Go figure.
It’s a guide to set up goals and 13 week schedule to work on them. I mostly like it because it gives me a level of accountability.
You set priorities for each day and at the end of the day you are accountable for how much you achieved. They encourage you to think positively. I like this because so much of my job is stressful and pretty high pressure.
Setting goals is key and going to work to get what needs to be done to attain those goals is a primary function.
Get help. Make sure you can get help any way you can. If you cant afford much, find an intern, use a family member. I could not have had babies without help from my “village”. Today I have an assistant, a house cleaner and I have my groceries delivered. My kids are old enough they have taken over a ton of the household chores. Next on my list is to get a few meals a week delivered.
Plan your day down to the minute if you have to and practice self discipline. Follow your regimen carefully and you will get more done than you thought imaginable. My husband laughs when he sees my schedule and thinks its rediculous, and then occasionally he will comment, “I don’t know how you do it all!”. No shit Sherlock, I schedule it.
Meal prep is key. Since I haven’t gone to having meals delivered, I try to spend Sunday planning meals for the week. Its amazing how much time we spend just trying to figure things out, planning ahead is the best way to save your mental energy.
Saying NO is so powerful. just say no to PTA, to things that don’t align with your greater plan, don’t care what people think of you.
Having a life strategy or a bigger goal to align smaller daily decision with helps a ton. I do this once a year and put it on an index card and keep it in my little schedule book.
Delegate as much as possible the small tasks, to kids, husbands, family or hire someone.
Don’t work weekends, recharge your mind, setting boundaries for others. I have seen this gain respect and clients now value my time more because of those boundaries.
Exercise! If our energy is in a jar, we can make that jar bigger holding more energy if we exercise on a regular basis.
Be sure to prioritize tasks on a daily basis, being able to change or pivot is invaluable. Everything changes, we live on a spinning mass hurtling through space.
Make time for family and fun. I actually schedule this time to be sure I get to it. If you don’t list it it wont happen.