Cultivating a Creative Mindset

Yesterday, I gave my first online workshop, Cultivating a Creative Mindset. I talked about 2 states of mind that typically help AND hinder us when we try to create.

At one extreme is that state of mind that loves to plan and organize. It’s filled with ideas, opinions, and anticipation, ready to make things happen, usually as predictably as possible. Some people call that our left brain. It’s great for executing ideas, but often preoccupied with control. It gets anxious easily when things don’t go as planned. This is the mind of checklists, blueprints, clearly defined roles, responsibilities, and tasks. This is the mind that’s comfortable with the kind of success that comes with well-executed strategies.

Is this you?

At the other extreme is that state of mind that’s dreamy and imaginative. It's also filled with ideas, but maybe a little too comfortable with beginnings that never quite come into fruition. Some people call this our right brain. It’s great for inspired imaginings and grand visions, but these often come at the expense of getting things done. There’s anxiety here, too, but this time provoked by the practicalities of finishing things. This is the mind that’s comfortable dreaming and exploring, ever-curious.

Is this you?

Cultivating a creative mindset requires easing into the state of mind that isn’t your usual one. The planful strategist needs to loosen up and play. The imaginative dreamer needs to work with steps and timelines.

If you’re more of a planner, take some of the structure out of your life. Let yourself daydream, doodle, wander (whether through your own mind or a walk in the woods), free of your usual schedule. If you’re more of a dreamer, bring some more structure to your dreaming through planning, writing things down, identifying tasks, steps, and resources.

Try it out for yourself.

I picked the image of a garden for the main workshop announcement, because I thought it was an apt metaphor. We need to tame the wildness of our imagination, but not so much that we stifle its beauty. We need to let nature take its course, but with our loving attention, lest things run rampant, overgrown.

So in cultivating your own creative mindset, try striking a balance between those 2 frames of mind. See if you don’t find your own creative process flourishing as a result.


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