JUST A THOUGHT: Creative People Need to Be Creating

Image Credit: RhondaK Native Florida Folk Artist on Unsplash


Creative people need to be creating, because if they're not actively creating, then they will actively destroy.

If you have a busy creative mind, one of the worst things you can go through mentally is intellectual boredom.

A creative - but unattended - brain left to its own devices with nothing interesting to focus on, is like an unattended toddler; before you know it, there's black permanent marker on the wall, the dog is chewing on a dirty diaper, and there are Legos EVERYWHERE. Complete chaos.

Image Credit: Main Cleaning

Our brains were not meant to sit idle anymore than our bodies were, but we live in culture that makes it far too easy to do just that; to sit inert in front of a screen and feed our brains the equivalent of baby food (pre-digested, nutritionally questionable goo).

So we grow bored, we grow restless; we begin to create problems were there are none.

(Food for Thought: What if the ever-growing culture of 'Karens' is actually the result of people who are very, very bored? Maybe if they had something interesting to work on, they would create less opportunities to feel offended.)

Ideally, our chosen career will allow our brain to get the exercise it needs. Ideally.

But for many of us, this isn't the case at all.

That leaves us two options:

1- Change jobs.

2- Find a different creative outlet.

For me, writing is one of my creative outlet because my work doesn't fulfill that need for me; the type of work I do is a never-ending hamster wheel of problems to be dealt with, so I need to create that intellectual satisfaction for myself elsewhere.

I like creating things; I like the process of beginning with a vision, planning, executing, and then having something to show for it on the other side. Whether it's a blog post, a new muffin recipe, or most recently, learning to knit.

I do the things I do because I know I need to give my brain something to chew on, because if I don't, if I leave it to its own devices with nothing to keep it occupied, it tends to get depressed, and then it gets self-destructive.

(I can always tell when my brain is heading towards self-destruction because I start to wander into the dark and dense woods of existential rumination: "Why are we here? Why am I here? What is the purpose of life?" And since there are no concrete answers to those questions, I come out feeling as though everything is meaningless and, if I'm not careful, I end up concluding that "nothing means anything so why even bother getting out of bed?")

I need to give my brain a project to work on so that it doesn't start setting things on fire. (I speak as someone whose brain has set many, many, many fires.)

Image Credit: The Awkward Yeti

If the brain isn't busy creating and solving problems, the brain will get busy destroying and causing problems.

Because a creative brain won't be content to just sit there and do nothing; it will do something and the something might not be good; depression, anxiety, rumination, picking fights (with itself or the world) and creating problems where there are none.

I don't believe that this is the cause of all depression, but I've found it interesting to observe myself while in the midst of a big project; my mind is focused (aka distracted) and it doesn't have time to start actively destroying everything in its path.

Think about the days you've had a very intense workout; how well do you sleep that night? How relaxed do you feel?

I believe the same idea can be applied to the brain; the brain needs a workout. So use it - THINK - solve something, logic your way through complicated concepts, learn something new.

The rumination, worry, anxiety and mental chatter will clear; at least to some extent. It might not cure everything that ails you, but it might do more than you think.

Your brain needs to be put to work. So find a job for it.

Image Credit: Elizabeth Gilbert via Pinterest

(If you want to read more about exploring your creativity, read Elizabeth Gilbert's book BIG MAGIC.)


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