Creative Force

 
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?

Thanks to Mike, Cathy, Evan, tammy, Dixie, bikehikebabe, Ursula and Rummuser for commenting on last week’s post.
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23 Responses to Creative Force

  1. Ursula says:

    Put simply, Jean, in answer to your question, and I am not willfully ignoring the fact that some people do indeed seem to need constant affirmation from the external (other people) at the expense of what you call ‘intrinsic motivation’:

    All of us need to be ‘reactive’ at certain points in our lives, particularly when we still do battle with basic necessities

    And all of us are also ‘inner directed’. Where else do our impulses come from?

    You say “… and I disagreed with some of the things Fritz said — for instance that problem solving is not creating.” I so agree with you, Jean: His statement is not only laughable, it’s downright nonsense. As you say: If anything is creative it’s how to solve a problem. Otherwise we’d still be in the cages and there wouldn’t be (to paraphrase your own example) flushing toilets.

    U
    Ursula´s last blog post ..Operator

  2. Ursula says:

    PS Since you mention Jackson Pollock on your other blog: To me he and his technique is a symbol of what we all do: Throwing paint pots at the canvas of our lives.

    U
    Ursula´s last blog post ..Operator

  3. Rummuser says:

    Creative Force in my life not only resonates, it is all that there is. The problem is in complicating a perfectly simple process into something mysterious. Creativity is an ordinary every day event. All of us are all the time creating something or the other. As I am writing this response to your blog, I am creating. When I talk to someone with a problem, I am creating a solution.

    It is my understanding that all of us here are here to create. Miniature creators as it were. Aham Brahmasmi if you wish to be technical about it.
    Rummuser´s last blog post ..Sauce For The Gander Is Sauce For The Goose!

  4. Rummuser says:

    I had to go and search for this brilliant piece of creativity – Daniel H Pipe’s Drive: The surprising Truth About What Motivates Us,
    http://www.amazon.com/Drive-Surprising-Truth-About-Motivates/dp/1594484805

    He he asserts that the secret to high performance and satisfaction-at work, at school, and at home—is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world.
    Rummuser´s last blog post ..Sauce For The Gander Is Sauce For The Goose!

  5. bikehikebabe says:

    My sewing creativity was……….well I’m not one to brag…BUT I was a clothes designer. I made clothes without patterns. Now my favorite TV program is about young fashion designers who do that. The clever clothes are bid for by New York buyer’s like Saks Fifth Ave.

    I remember a small cloth doll I made with boobs & all the curves (more than I actually had) wearing a matching evening dress of mine that I also designed. I gave it to my boyfriend. Not the one I married.

  6. tammyj says:

    i love that ursula. “throwing paint pots at the canvas of our lives.” it’s beautiful.
    i am reactive often. not a good thing. not proud of it.
    but then i am also totally tuned into my subconscious. i have listened to my ‘little voice’ for a long time now. i find when i don’t … sometimes the outcome is not what i would have preferred. the little voice is no doubt wiser than i am.

    i think fritz is full of himself actually. i grow weary of self proclaimed experts. they are expert on everything under the sun. just ask them. and it seems they’ve all written a book.
    i visited a blog yesterday written by a 28 to 30 year old interior designer and a self proclaimed “life coach expert.”
    seriously. right there on her blog. a life coach expert.
    now what the heck? a life coach expert at 28 years old.
    come to find out they’re a new breed all over the internet.
    they apparently can tell you the best way to live your life.

    see there jean. you would be a great life coach expert and don’t even realize it. you would be infinitely more qualified for sure! i think a person should have lived a bit to become a life expert. but then maybe her 28 years were amazing. who knows?
    the world is full of over educated precocious children. they are know it alls. but they do have enthusiasm! i’ll grant them that. and they all want to be rich entrepreneurs. by way of the internet.
    i want to get outside my head. and simply be.
    that is hard for me. but i’m still and forever working on it.
    and i thank god for the creative (non creative according to fritz) person who gave us the flushing toilet!!!
    too long. this was way too long. sorry.
    bhb… WAY TO GO!!!!
    tammyj´s last blog post ..twerking or the twist

  7. bikehikebabe says:

    Thanks tammy. I needed that.

  8. Evan says:

    I’m definitely of the inner directed tribe.

    I think problem solving is creative but not all there is to creativity. Coming up with different options once a problem is solved is creative. And just making something beautiful is creative too.

    Mr Fritz seems pretty clueless.

    I’m allergic to expertitis. As my granny used to say: self-praise is no recommendation (probably an exaggeration but true enough).
    Evan´s last blog post ..Dealing With Distress #1 – sleep

  9. Jean says:

    Ursula,
    “Throwing paint pots at the canvas of our lives.” I love it! Thank you.

    Rummuser,
    “…the deeply human need to direct our own lives….” How does that tie in with your oft-stated belief that you took care of your father because of the way you were conditioned, rather than you had evaluated your conditioning and chose that path for yourself?

    Drive is addressed to managers, of course, and it’s saying most managers are using ineffective ways of motivating people. What was your experience when you were working? Were some of your bosses more effective than others? How did you try to motivate when you were in charge? You have a wealth of experience there!

    Pink says the three elements of true motivation are autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Those are certainly what drive me, and I love being retired because of the autonomy. But I still remember a discussion at Toastmasters when I said my favorite jobs were the ones that gave me a lot of autonomy. Another fellow said his ideal job was just the opposite — he was in the army and once worked for an officer who was a stickler for detail. The stamps had to be put on the envelops just so, etc. This fellow loved it because he knew exactly what was expected, he didn’t have to think.

    bikehikebabe,
    Yes, I remember that you’re extremely skilled and creative at designing and making clothes. I thought of that as I wrote the post. I assume creating gave you a lot of pleasure? Do you still do it?

    tammy,
    I think the idea of life coaches, how to make changes that make you happier or whatever, are a healthier trend than counselors that assume there’s something wrong with you and you need “healing”. Yes, there’s a lot of money to be made in the field because a lot of people are looking for something more in their lives. If they get a good idea or two and use it/them then it may be time and money well-spent. One size doesn’t fit all so there are gazillions of possibilities.

    My main objection to Fritz is his obscure writing. He does seem to be taking some common ideas and trying to make them sound esoteric and profound.

    If the gal who calls herself a life coach is a good salesperson and helps someone make a change the person wants to make, then who’s to say? A recent article in our local paper was about a new life coach who will be giving a free presentation on relationships. She’s about to receive certification from some life coach certifying association and is going into business. She was a cosmetologist for 20 years and spent hours advising her clients, so why not make more money for it? I think her reasoning is sound and it tickles my funny bone.

    What do you think of Wayne Dyer? My view of the universe is a lot different than his, but he’s a powerful speaker and has influenced a lot of people, including me. After all these years I still find myself asking myself one of his questions from Your Erroneous Zones.

  10. Jean says:

    Evan,
    I like your granny! The more authoritative a person sounds the more skeptical I get.

    How important is creativity to you? Do certain forms of it give you more pleasure than others? I love problem solving and also can get absorbed playing with shapes and colors. Julia Cameron suggests morning pages (free association writing) and artists dates — where you, all by yourself, explore anything that grabs your fancy. She suggests once a week. I’ve been doing it a lot more than that!

  11. Jean says:

    Ursula,
    I just came across a quote by Danny Kaye: “Life is a great big canvas, throw all the paint on it you can.” Yay, Ursula!

  12. Evan says:

    Hi Jean. Creativity doesn’t ‘matter’ to me in the way it does to an artist (of whatever medium).

    My core concern is about being genuinely in touch with what is going on.

    This is probably a necessary but not a sufficient condition for real creativity. (I sense it may be the difference between art and a design solution. The design solution being dealing with the problem without genuinely encountering it.)

    In terms of the traditional arts only drawing interests me. Painting (the layers, and how the stuff underneath influences what’s on top, even when it can’t be seen, does my head in).

    I do get on with artists because I understand the creative process but art is not my path.
    Evan´s last blog post ..Dealing With Distress #1 – sleep

  13. Rummuser says:

    “…the deeply human need to direct our own lives….” How does that tie in with your oft-stated belief that you took care of your father because of the way you were conditioned, rather than you had evaluated your conditioning and chose that path for yourself?

    My conditioning made me compassionate. I think that it is a very positive aspect of my conditioning. I am grateful for that. So, I looked at two aspects of that episode. One my own compassion and my very strong value of keeping my word. I had given my word to my mother that I will care for my father if and when the occasion arose. She had a premonition that it will come about and knowing that none of her other children will have the compassion, gave me that responsibility. On both counts, I think that the deeply human need to direct my own life nudged me to that. I have no complaints. Why do you think that it was something that I resent. While I was going through the difficult period, the deeply human need to punch a pillow was very much there and I used all avenues available to me to let off steam. A very deeply human need!

    Drive is addressed to managers, of course, and it’s saying most managers are using ineffective ways of motivating people. What was your experience when you were working? Were some of your bosses more effective than others? How did you try to motivate when you were in charge? You have a wealth of experience there!

    Drive is not only addressed to Managers it can be revealing to others as well in terms of understanding what motivates and what does not. Even the routine tasks will be carried out by Type X personalities if the proper motivation technique is used.

    Yes, I had my share of good bosses and lousy ones. I am still in touch with the good ones and one of them is no more but with who I was in touch till he passed away. I in my turn appear to have been a good motivator by instinct as can be judged by the number of my colleagues who worked under me who are still in touch with me.

    Pink says the three elements of true motivation are autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Those are certainly what drive me, and I love being retired because of the autonomy. But I still remember a discussion at Toastmasters when I said my favorite jobs were the ones that gave me a lot of autonomy. Another fellow said his ideal job was just the opposite — he was in the army and once worked for an officer who was a stickler for detail. The stamps had to be put on the envelops just so, etc. This fellow loved it because he knew exactly what was expected, he didn’t have to think.

    The other fellow on sticking stamps can read Pink towards the end when Pink talks about the I and X types.

    Now, coming to Creativity per se. In my opinion, The Guru has to be someone who appears at the right time and disappears when his contribution to the Sishya’s progress is over. Robert Fritz did that for me over a decade ago. He taught me one invaluable lesson and that is that there is nothing like a non creative person on earth.
    Rummuser´s last blog post ..Lasagna For Lunch.

  14. bikehikebabe says:

    The only Pink I’ve heard of is a rock band. Doesn’t seem like your Pink.

  15. Jean says:

    Rummuser,
    Great conversation. Thanks! :)

    bikehikebabe,
    I had read the book but had never heard of the rock band. That’s why blogging is so much fun. We have a wide range of interests and learn a lot from one another.

  16. Jean says:

    Evan,
    I would definitely say art is not my path, but I do love to explore and play around. What I’m trying to do is learn to express myself visually as well as with words. I’m a visual thinker and have wanted to try it for a long time, but given my lack of innate talent it’s a major commitment of time. Now seems to be the time to play with it.

    I wrote about Renoir and Matisse because of their passion and the way they handled adversity, not because they were great painters.

    The main thing is to try to find out what we each want to do and figure out a way to do it. For me the joy of blogging is sharing our individual interests and viewpoints.

  17. tammyj says:

    love wayne dyer! the erroneous zones helped me tremendously with my ‘toxic’ mother in law.
    did you see his film ‘the shift’? especially liked the musical group in it. i have most of his books. especial like the one on tao.
    had to laugh at you and bhb and pink! cute.
    you may have a point about the 28 yr old expert. who’s to ever say. and one of my mottos has always been “whatever works for you!” sad i have to judge before i remember it. LOL!
    tammyj´s last blog post ..sad

  18. Dixie says:

    “They have a sense of meaning, direction, and purpose. They are value-centered rather than reactive and defensive….”

    I admit to being some of both…(smile)
    Dixie´s last blog post ..No blame

  19. Cathy in NZ says:

    I haven’t read all the replies but the key issue is the misunderstanding and convoluted ideals on the whole darn thing labelled:

    CREAT* and anything added to it…

    All kinds of people getting on the train and working the words to death…
    Cathy in NZ´s last blog post ..Paper, Paint and “What-if?”

  20. Jean says:

    Tammy,
    I admire Wayne Dyer. In the beginning he promoted erroneous zones himself, traveling the country and sleeping in his car. He would get interviewed by local radio stations.

    Dixie,
    I ‘m not surprised.

    Cathy,
    Actually the conversation was broader than that. I enjoyed it, but different people like different things.

  21. bikehikebabe says:

    In ans. to your question, no I don’t design clothes exactly. I don’t start from scratch with uncut fabric. I take clothes & make them into something new. Something with my best colors, style & fit. Something that I want to wear. I just thought of this because I’m doing that this minute with someone’s??? cute, too big, my very best color combo (black & white print) swim suit with a sassy, flirty skirt. (I should be a fashion announcer.)

  22. bikehikebabe says:

    P.S. I won’t be wearing this as a swimsuit. I’ll wear it around the house when it’s so hot I’d like to wear Nothing.

  23. Cathy in NZ says:

    BHB: re P.S. great idea…creative too!
    Cathy in NZ´s last blog post ..Paper, Paint and “What-if?”

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