Category Archives: Trigger

A creative @ Large!

Americ Azevedo: The Truth Demands To Be Lived by Richard Whittaker, Nov 30,

A few years ago Americ Azevedo sat in a college classroom with about 15 students. It was a meditation class and he was the instructor. This past fall, that same class enrolled 603 students and took place in one of the largest lecture halls on the UC Berkeley campus. A philosopher, author and lecturer of peace studies, Americ slips through all of these categories. Serendipitously he became the acting CEO of a company in a field for which he had no formal training. He’s taught an unlikely mix of university classes (philosophy, religion, leadership, finance, business and information systems), developed several virtual companies, directed the Innovation Center at Golden Gate University, and held the first podcast at UC Berkeley in 2005. Today, he co-teaches a class on inner-to-outer social change and focuses on building a more human world in this age of technology. Azevedo was born in the Azores and his family moved to the U.S. before he entered school. His journey is an inspiring one. I spoke with Americ at his office at the University of California, Berkeley.

extracts from the interview –

“I think prayer gives us an alignment and also maybe opens the subconscious to some kind of different view of the world. During that period of time we were assigned to do a science report. I found myself picking the seasons of the year. I wondered how they worked. So I started reading about them and eventually I conceived of making a presentation. I don’t know now how I came up with the flip chart idea [laughs]. The teacher just loved it! And I was put on a “lecture circuit” through elementary school about this. So then I became a science kid.


Without money you can have adventures.

In fact, that’s my work. My work is to try to find a way to alter the path of education. I didn’t really realize it until the years had passed by. Now I’ve finally reached the stage here at Cal where all my work now is about altering the path. Somehow all the elements, beyond my own control, have come into existence. My meditation classes have gotten huge. And it’s not just meditation. It means allowing consciousness, which grows out of meditation, to grow into the rest of life and to change how people work and the choices we make. That’s what the “Leadership, Dialogue, and Actualization” program has turned into. It’s a transformational workshop for students who come in to change their orientation toward consciousness and the world. It’s an approach to relationship.”

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Tales of creativity and play

Another favourite of mine!:)

Designer Tim Brown talks about the powerful relationship between creative thinking and play — with many examples you can try at home (and one that maybe you shouldn’t).

“playfulness helps us get better creative solutions”Tim Brown,the CEO of IDEO

Creative Personality (3)

Extracts from Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity – Flow and the psychology of discovery and invention

5. Creative people seem to harbor opposite tendencies on the continuum between extroversion and introversion. Usually each of us tends to be one or the other, either preferring to be in the thick of crowds or sitting on the sidelines and observing the passing show.

The stereotype of the “solitary genius” is strong and gets ample support also from our interviews.

Yet over and over again, the importance of seeing people, hearing people, exchanging ideas, and getting to know another person’s work and mind are stressed by creative individuals.

6. Creative individuals are also remarkably humble and proud at the same time.

Another way of expressing this duality is to see it as a contrast between ambition and selflessness, or competition and cooperation. It is often necessary for creative individuals to be ambitious and aggressive.

Several persons mention that in the course of their careers motivation has shifted from self-centered goals to more altruistic interests.

7. Creative individuals to a certain extent escape this rigid gender role stereotyping.  When tests of masculinity/femininity are given to young people, over and over one finds that creative and talented girls are more dominant and tough than other girls, and creative boys are more sensitive and less aggressive than their male peers.

8. Generally, creative people are thought to be rebellious and independent. Yet it is impossible to be creative without having first internalized a domain of culture.

So it is difficult to see how a person can be creative without being both traditional and conservative and at the same time rebellious and iconoclastic.

“This idea to create something different is not my aim, and shouldn’t be anybody’s aim. Because, first of all, if you are a designer or a playful person in any of these crafts, you have to be able to function a long life, and you can’t always try to be different. I mean different from different from different.” Eva Zeise

9. Most creative persons are very passionate about their work, yet they can be extremely objective about it as well. The energy generated by this conflict between attachment and detachment has been mentioned by many as being an important part of their work.

10. Finally, the openness and sensitivity of creative individuals often exposes them to suffering and pain yet also a great deal of enjoyment.

Ever since the Romantic movement gained ascendance a few centuries ago, artists have been expected to suffer in order to demonstrate the sensitivity of their souls.

It is also true that deep interest and involvement in obscure subjects often goes unrewarded, or even brings on ridicule.

These occupational hazards do come with the territory, so to speak, and it is difficult to see how a person could be creative and at the same time insensitive to them.

Perhaps the most difficult thing for a creative individual to bear is the sense of loss and emptiness experienced when, for some reason or another, he or she cannot work.

And then you’re beginning again. You hope. Sometimes the hiatus will last not overnight but for weeks, months, and years.

Yet when the person is working in the area of his or her expertise, worries and cares fall away, replaced by a sense of bliss. Perhaps the most important quality, the one that is most consistently present in all creative individuals, is the ability to enjoy the process of creation for its own sake.

These ten pairs of contrasting personality traits might be the most telling characteristic of creative people.

But what is important to keep in mind is that these conflicting traits—or any conflicting traits—are usually difficult to find in the same person. Yet without the second pole, new ideas will not be recognized. And without the first, they will not be developed to the point of acceptance. Therefore, the novelty that survives to change a domain is usually the work of someone who can operate at both ends of these polarities—and that is the kind of person we call ‘creative’.

Source: Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity

“Try to be surprised by something every day” M. Csikszentmihalyi

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Creative Personality (2)

Extracts from Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity – Flow and the psychology of discovery and invention 
THE TEN DIMENSIONS OF COMPLEXITY

1. Creative individuals have a great deal of physical energy, but they are also often quiet and at rest. They work long hours, with great concentration, while projecting an aura of freshness and enthusiasm.

2. Creative individuals tend to be smart, yet also naive at the same time.

It is probably true that in a system that is conducive to creativity, a person whose thinking is fluent, flexible, and original is more likely to come up with novel ideas. Therefore, it makes sense to cultivate divergent thinking …

Divergent thinking is not much use without the ability to tell a good idea from a bad one—and this selectivity involves convergent thinking.

3. A third paradoxical trait refers to the related combination of playfulness and discipline, or responsibility and irresponsibility. There is no question that a playfully light attitude is typical of creative individuals.

Despite the carefree air that many creative people affect, most of them work late into people affect, most of them work late into the night and persist when less driven individuals would not.

4. Creative individuals alternate between imagination and fantasy at one end, and a rooted sense of reality at the other.

“”But the whole point of art and science is to go beyond what we now consider real, and create a new reality.”” Albert Einstein

Most of us assume that artists—musicians, writers, poets, painters—are strong on the fantasy side, whereas scientists, politicians, and businesspeople are realists. This may be true in terms of day-to-day routine activities. But when a person begins to work creatively, all bets are off—the artist may be as much a realist as the physicist, and the physicist as imaginative as the artist.

Source: Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity

“Try to be surprised by something every day” M. Csikszentmihalyi

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The creative personality (1)

Extracts from Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity – Flow and the psychology of discovery and invention

“Creative individuals are remarkable for their ability to adapt to almost any situation and to make do with whatever is at hand to reach their goals. If nothing else, this distinguishes them from the rest of us.”
“If I had to express in one word what makes their personalities different from others, it would be complexity. By this I mean that they show tendencies of thought and action that in most people are segregated. They contain contradictory extremes—instead of being an “individual,” each of them is a “multitude.” Like the color white that includes all the hues in the spectrum, they tend to bring together the entire range of human possibilities within themselves.

Having a complex personality means being able to express the full range of traits that are potentially present in the human repertoire but usually atrophy because we think that one or the other pole is ‘good,’ whereas the other extreme is ‘bad.’

This kind of person has many traits in common with what the Swiss analytic psychologist Carl Jung considered a mature personality.

A complex personality does not imply neutrality, or the average. It is not some position at the midpoint between two poles Rather it involves the ability to move from one extreme to the other as the occasion requires.”

Source: Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity

“Try to be surprised by something every day” M. Csikszentmihalyi

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Play more! Accomplish more!

When game designer Jane McGonigal found herself bedridden and suicidal following a severe concussion, she had a fascinating idea for how to get better. She dove into the scientific research and created the healing game, SuperBetter. In this moving talk, McGonigal explains how a game can boost resilience — and promises to add 7.5 minutes to your life.

Inspiration&Creativity

Inspiration is the springboard for creativity. Inspired people view themselves as more creative and show actual increases in self-ratings of creativity over time. Patent-holding inventors report being inspired more frequently and intensely than non-patent holders, and the higher the frequency of inspiration, the higher the number of patents held. Being in a state of inspiration also predicts the creativity of writing samples across scientific writing, poetry, and fiction (as judged by a panel of fellow students) independent of SAT verbal scores, openness to experience, positive affect, specific behaviours (e.g., deleting prior sentences), and aspects of the product quality (e.g., technical merit). Inspired writers are more efficient and productive, and spend less time pausing and more time writing. The link between inspiration and creativity is consistent with the transcendent aspect of inspiration, since creativity involves seeing possibility beyond existing constraints. Importantly, inspiration and effort predict different aspects of an activity. Individuals who exerted more effort writing spent more of their time pausing, deleted more words, wrote more sentences per paragraph, and had better technical merit and use of rhyming in poems, but their work was not considered more creative. Source

Inspiration

“Inspiration has three main qualities. Pyschologists Todd M. Thrash and Andrew J. Elliot have noted these core aspects of inspiration: evocation, transcendence, and approach motivation.

Inspiration is evoked spontaneously without intention. People are usually inspired by something, whether it’s an inspiring role model, teacher, or subject matter. Which is all the more reason why we ought to create the conditions for inspiration.

Inspiration is transcendent of our more animalistic and self-serving concerns and limitations. Such transcendence often involves a moment of clarity and awareness of new possibilities for oneself as well as others. As Thrash and Elliot note, “The heights of human motivation spring from the beauty and goodness that precede us and awaken us to better possibilities.” This moment of clarity is often vivid, and can take the form of a grand vision, or a “seeing” of something one has not seen before (but that was probably always there).
Inspiration involves approach motivation, in which the individual strives to transmit, express, or actualize a new idea or vision. According to Thrash and Elliot, inspiration involves both being inspired by something and acting on that inspiration.” Source

I have a slightly more simplified understanding of inspiration: when one is inspirited is in-pirit-ed so in some way or another in that moment is in touch with spirit and/or touched by spirit.  As a result of that one can feel inspired to do something and/or act upon that moment of inspiration.

 

 

 

Hephaestus and How Brokenness Contributes to Creativity

“… The most defining characteristic of Hephaestus, other than his creativity, is his lameness. He is the only one of the Pantheon who is not physically perfect, yet he is still included among the twelve, despite the Greek’s revulsion for the ugly and lame. Why is this? It is no accident that he represents fire, which is a symbol in cultures worldwide of purification and regeneration, of passing through an ordeal and coming out the other side stronger. Hephaestus has done this. He becomes lame through an act of violence committed against him by his family, but still he returns to Olympus, bringing beauty and useful tools to that world. He does not allow his infirmity to stop him from making art, he uses it to transform. His brokenness is the catalyst for the creation of his art, and the vehicle of his clever approach to problem solving. He doesn’t let the fact that he is imperfect keep him from using his skills in service to his world, and it would be a lesser place if he had done so. …”

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Art that craves your attention

In this charming talk, artist Aparna Rao shows us her latest work: cool, cartoony sculptures (with neat robotic tricks underneath them) that play with your perception — and crave your attention. Take a few minutes to simply be delighted.

Intentions

The site intends to offer practical ideas on how to use art and creativity to support human development and recovery especially that of children. It aims to emphasise developing and using our creativity and imagination to its fullest in order to create a unique life to our fulfilment amongst many advantages.

creativitty is

Start wherever you are @

Do you think Creativity is some mystical skill that is bestowed upon only a few?

two brains

Well, no magic here at all! We are all blessed with two hemispheres and so we are all born creative. How developed your right-hemisphere is, though, is another question entirely and that is one of the focuses of this website.