Out with the Old?


is certainly a weird looking number to my eye. I am hoping the strangeness of the number will have no bearing on my hope for a peaceful, healthy, happy New Year for everyone.

In this post there is an idea or two that I didn’t want on our annual “out with the old” New Year’s bonfire.  These are notions that I love talking about and thinking about and hearing about from year to year.

One of these endlessly mullable topics is creativity. My sister recently completed a class at Harvard on the subject and directed me to some really interesting reading.  Her class delved into the neurology of it a little more than I was interested in (able to comprehend), but she mentioned a few ideas that I liked and wanted to share. There is a small problem writing about this data because the researchers are often using information gleaned from very high-achieving, creative people (mathematicians, scientists, writers and artists) and I want to understand it by applying it to myself. I have to laugh when I think, “Yes! I know how Van Gogh felt . . . my heart is eaten out by anguish  . . . over my napkin idea.”

Anyway, one idea that caught my attention is that highly creative people seem to have a less filtered perception of the world.  They have what is called “low latent inhibition” which means that they fail to filter out what most people consider irrelevant stimuli. So “stop and smell the roses” could really be about embracing the details, distractions and sensory input that we so vigorously try to shut out in order to stay on track and be efficient.

Another interesting factoid is that there is a negative correlation between being highly creative and “agreeableness.”  I take that to mean that original thinkers don’t worry about other’s opinions or fitting in or pleasing people, but rather pursue their path regardless. This is critical because throughout history society hasn’t supported its creative forces and has often hindered them.

Finally there is a strong positive correlation between creativity and life satisfaction which contradicts the common idea that creative people are tortured neurotics.

So to ring in the new year as creative people we can take time to enjoy unfiltered distractions, stop worrying about what other people think and look forward to high life satisfaction.  Not so bad . . .

  • January 7, 2013

    Interesting! I know that many who have a daily drawing practice get great joy from ‘seeing’ details of objects in a clear way and I have experienced that when I was taking photographs regularly and it did inform my textile output in a big way (art quilting at the time)

    When my attentions were redirected to my little children I was a bit dismayed to find my creativity dipped because all my senses have been focussed on their needs. But I think (and trust) that it will come back to me soon enough. It is a wonderful thing to conceive and create something! 😀