Last week I mentioned the book, The Path of Least Resistance — Learning to Be a Creative Force in Your Own Life by Robert Fritz. Another book I had read and liked had suggested it, and I was taken by the catchy title, but it didn’t resonate with me. I found it to be wordy, and I disagreed with some of the things Fritz said — for instance that problem solving is not creating. Yeah, sure. Tell that to anyone who has been awed by the Roman aqueducts. But I was willing to give Fritz the benefit of the doubt. When I saw that I could take his program Technologies for Creating at home for a reasonable price, I decided to see how he put his ideas into action.
Let’s just say I was surprised. When the gal (during the first of the weekly phone interviews) asked me what my goals were I said, “I want to do some writing, and I want to enjoy the process.” Nope, that was completely unacceptable. Not nearly motivating enough. I was supposed to envision that I’ve written a book, that I’m holding it my hands, that I’m receiving praise and publicity, that I’m holding a check I have received for it, etc. Huh? That’s not the way I work.
Also the gal said the conscious mind has to be in charge, that our subconscious should be like a well-trained dog. My approach is just the opposite. I treat my subconscious well by feeding it the information it needs and by giving it plenty of incubation time to come up with the insights and ideas I need. (I agree with the four stages of creativity: preparation, incubation, illumination, and verification.) If I have a project that needs some creative thought I don’t procrastinate but start researching it early. And the key to that is enjoying myself, to do it in the spirit of play. Now that I’m retired I usually get to choose my own projects, and even there I don’t sit down and consciously think about it. I rely on my subconscious to decide. We make a good team. No well-trained dogs there.
Okay, so was the course a waste of money? Not at all. It was such a mismatch that it clarified what I do want and believe. I am scratching my head though. I just skimmed through the book to the part where Fritz talks about what he thinks we should be doing — operating from our fundamental life choices rather than being reactive — and it sounds surprisingly like Item 1 of the Traits of Stress-Hardy, Resilient People:
They have a sense of meaning, direction, and purpose. They are value-centered rather than reactive and defensive….
So why the gal’s focus on external rewards rather than intrinsic motivation? Who knows. Just another of the mysteries of the universe.
What about you? Do you think you’re more reactive to circumstances or more inner-directed? Does the phrase “creative force in your life” resonate with you?