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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Hyper-Creative & The Hobbyist

I am convinced that we all need creativity in our lives. I come across a ton of people who say "I wish I could do what you do, but I'm not creative". But this is a false impression most people have about themselves. In reality what you perceive as an artist being creative, is in actuality "hyper-creativity". 

We all have our creative sides. But what most lack is the ability to express it. For the hyper-creative, we express it in a thousand different ways. The Hyper-creative tend to explore beyond just one area of creativity.

For me, I express my creativity in painting, sculpture, photography, writing, body art, and a whole host of other forms. I've taken my creativity to the highest level that I can and continue to augment that daily.

My partner when he was writing novels also explored song writing. Now he explores painting and found object sculptures and again a whole host of other creative forms in smaller ways.

But the simple fact is that everyone has a level of creativity within themselves. Most express this in simpler ways through hobby's, crafts, poetry, playing a musical instrument. There is no limit to the ways that people allow their creativity to come out. The thing is, we are trained that once we reach a certain age we put away these explorations. We may take a class on how to play the tuba or to macrame, but we consider these things to be merely flights of fantasy and nothing to indulge in with anything more than an hour a week. There are real things to do in the real world. Not just playing around. 

But this is exactly the wrong attitude to take. The business world is finding out more and more that the most productive employees are the ones that take time to "indulge" in their creativity also. Companies like Google are surrounding their employees with art and creativity to help foster the ability, not squelch it. 

Those who remove all spontaneous creativity from their daily routine, become lethargic, depressed and bored with life. Exactly what you do not want your employees to feel. Creativity is known to lower stress, help with physical problem and keep the heart healthy. So why on earth would we want to remove it from our lives?

It is exactly this that turns Wall Street executives making a million a year into bakers or flower arrangers. The body and mind eventually breaks down without the creative life blood flowing through it. 

"The Hobby" is a gift. When we are down in our basement at 2 in the morning building a birdhouse we may only see it as a hobby, but its our creativity making itself known. We may lose sleep for it and drag a bit the next day, but we have a sense of accomplishment that goes beyond just doing something. We've fed our spirits with something that we most desperately need.

Sadly we still live on the tail end of an era that discouraged creativity in every way it could. To think differently was anathema. It labeled us as outsiders to be shunned. For the few hyper-creatives that could make a living at this they became hero's and villains both. Look at Andy Warhol. His blatant creativity and striving against the natural order made him an icon. It did the same for Jackson Pollock years before. But even today people look at both these hyper-creatives and say "what a nut, he painted soup cans" or "what a fool, he let paint drip and made a million off of it".  

What was in reality happening, was the hyper-creativity of both pushed them out of mainstream society and turned them into what they were. 

In some cases this hyper-creativity can also destroyed the person. Was Pollock's alcoholism a result of his fame or his hyper-creativity? I am not sure we will ever know.

But civilization is changing slowly. Our creativity is no longer something to hide. Its something to be improved upon now and strengthened. Its not well understood yet, but people are coming to accept the fact that creativity is a part of who we are and something we shouldn't hide away. 

When I was in high school I wanted badly to be a photographer. I got my wish 30 or so years later. But a teacher convinced me at the time that photography was not a career that could take me far and that I should consider something else. I decided on drafting and I hated every moment of it and only lasted a couple of semesters of high school basic drafting classes. Now both career paths had an element of creativity to them. But with drafting, the creativity was beaten out of the beginners. You didn't get to work on the cool stuff until you'd gone through years of the basics first. Photography on the other hand seemed more creative but as I found out later was fraught with high maintenance models and clients who thought they were better photographers than the photographers they had hired. 

Both career paths had a lot of the creativity beaten out of them with a stick. For me it wasn't until I became a visual artist that I found my true path and a way to indulge my own hyper-creativity. 

Hobbies allow us to find the creative niche that fits us best. It lets us explore our abilities and learn new ones at a lower level and it allows us to express ourselves in that special way that only creativity will allow.

I think if you looked at the most unhappy people you know if your life, you'd find they were also the ones that had the least amount of creativity in their life. Yes there are exceptions to this rule. Those with serious mental illness may find themselves incapable of expressing their creativity. But it has also been found that those with clinical depression often benefit from adding a creative regiment to their lives. My mother was one of these. Her depression was so bad that she was committed several times. But in the later years of her life she found that indulging her ability to paint instead of shoving it aside created a mental stability within her that she'd never found before. In turn her final years were relatively good ones because she had something to grab onto mentally instead of letting her depression get a grasp on her so hard that she see nothing else. 

Now is the time to release the old stigmas that indulging our imaginations is a bad thing. For both the hobbyist and the hyper-creative, it is something to be explored and held dear. And those that claim they have no creativity have either not challenged themselves to find what works for them, or are so caught up in the world of mundane reality that they've lost their abilities to find it. 

Either way, we are all much better people and happier people with creativity in our lives, no matter what the world may still try to tell us. 


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