This blog will discuss the current issues in creativity by the graduate students at the International Center for Studies in Creativity at Buffalo State. www.buffalostate.edu/creativity
The views expressed herein are those of the graduate students and do not necessarily represent the views of the International Center for Studies in Creativity or of any other Buffalo State College body.
Thursday, June 25, 2015
Trusting Yourself: The Gateway to Creativity & Wellness
By: Jennifer Quarrie
“It is not because
things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that
they are difficult.”- Lucius Annaeus Seneca
What secret goals
do you harbor?What wishes thump
in your heart but remain quietly caged, set aside for another day?We all realize we have aspirations, but
do we know why we aren’t pursuing
them?What is stopping you?
Many of us are
everyday creators, fluidly solving daily challenges in unique ways.However, as we consider larger-scale
change, inertia can become much stronger.At times this can stall us from approaching change on our most important
issues.During an effort to
explore how creativity might foster personal wellness, this phenomenon came
into stark relief.
colleagues and reflecting personally on the hurdles to achieving the
large-scale challenge of personal wellness, a strong theme emerged: while many
were confident in their own creativity and problem solving abilities,
implementing their ideal solutions often included an uncomfortable degree of
bucking social norms.Two sets of
needs were set in opposition; by pursuing personal wellness needs they risked
compromising sources of social acceptance and support.The same holds true in creativity.Creators need support to be their most
creative, and yet staying true to one’s ideas, craft, creative methods and personal needs
sometimes opposes social norms and thus reduces that social support.
Permission & Compassion
So what is required
to push people past the tipping point of serving social expectations in favor
of personal care and development?First and foremost, we require self-trust to feel intuitively confident
in the direction we have chosen.Next, we require awareness of both our perceived limitations and the
true results of breaking through them.Then we must grant ourselves personal permission to exceed constraints
such as personal habits, social judgment and perceived limitations.While many seek approval from others as
well, the act of acknowledging most limitation as personal threshold is
important.Finally, we require
compassion to navigate any bumps in the road along the way, and honesty to see
things as they are on the other side of the looking glass.
“Hint: the cage is not
locked.”- Nova Knutson
- No one has a crystal ball, but most of us prefer to feel confident about our
own decisions before investing significant resources or changing the direction
of our lives.As hard as it can be
to estimate how your decisions may turn out, even more difficult is developing
the confidence to recognize what you truly want in the first place.A nuanced process like Creative Problem
Solving (CPS) helps to expose the genuine needs at the heart of complex
problems.In addition, the
thorough nature of CPS organically builds confidence as we step through the
process by ensuring we have considered the issue from many vantage points.
- Don’t allow the “perfect” to become the enemy of the “good.”Letting go of
a specific solution can open you to even better possibilities and create new
opportunities.Partial progress is
much better than none at all and places you in a new position to reassess the
situation for new paths forward.Assessing the priorities involved in a challenge can make it far clearer
where to begin.
of Risk - Without risk, there is very little
progress.Understanding risk and
learning when and how to take it requires practice.Start small, then begin to accept a greater possibility of
failure, and discover what you can learn from the experiences.
of Failure - Complex problems often have
complex answers with changing variables.No solution is permanent; plans are meant to change.Recognizing that you are committing to
finding the right path forward gives you the freedom to pivot as circumstances
change rather than remaining wedded to a solution.
of Experience - Trusting yourself does not mean
going it alone.Sharing your goals
and plans may invite positive feedback on your work, and insight toward ways in
which you can build your vision.
changes in an environment when everyone else keeps the old habits makes it even
harder.Finding support is one of
the best ways to facilitate change and solidify a new path forward.Sharing risk with others makes you more
likely to make leaps you might not otherwise take alone and, in the process,
build self-trust through experience.
Your Tribe - Use the hyper-connectivity of the
modern world to your advantage.Find those who understand and share your passions, and work
together.Feeling understood and
having support are keys to success in every endeavor.
Cultures - Social norms grow from visionary
changes that often originate from small groups (such as a few computer whizzes
in a garage).By building a clear
vision of the future based on the diverse input of your tribe, the momentum and
results form a culture of their own.Participating in a micro culture can be invigorating as you experience
traction for your greater vision and goals.
- Others will not know you need support unless you ask.You may be surprised at the
results.Asking others for input
or assistance solidifies your commitment to solving the problem and invites an
array of input to evolve your ideas further to be their most effective or
unique.The vulnerability and
honesty you share may inspire the same in return.The bond you build through partnership may last well beyond
the task at hand.Finally,
involving others also provides you support during a process of exploration and
change, which may help you feel comfortable enough to pursue ideas further, and
give you the confidence to implement your outcome.And if they say ‘no’?You may gather valuable insight through
that conversation as well.
Building trust in
yourself empowers you to navigate unknown situations, respond to unexpected
changes and pursue your deepest aspirations.Without the awareness of your own needs and the confidence
and trust to strive for them, your ability to achieve wellness and
self-actualization will be inhibited.Giving yourself permission to take risks and deconstruct limitations
opens the door of opportunity.Using CPS and creative thinking skills are excellent methods of
realizing what is stopping you from pursuing your goals, identifying necessary
risks to reach them, and determining the ways to take those risks while minimizing
negative impact.Trusting the
creative process is a path to trusting yourself, which is in turn a key step on
the road to personal wellness and fully realizing your potential.
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Unity Village, MO: Unity House.
Quarrie is a dynamic innovation strategist and creativity expert with a
visionary outlook and a knack for metacognition, facilitation and
listening. With a BA in Cognitive Science from the University of
Virginia and an MSc in Creative Studies from the International Center
for Studies in Creativity (ICSC) at SUNY Buffalo State, she incorporates
budding areas of mind and creativity research into all of her work. As a
leader and speaker she inspires wellness, fosters transformation and