The Misunderstood Creative (pt. 2)

part2(Click Here To Read Part One)

The creative is misunderstood no matter how hard they try to temporarily fit into society. Some think its because they live 5-10 years ahead of everyone else. Others think it’s their unique wiring that gets them in trouble with the logical ones in life. Regardless of the arguments, its better to learn how to understand the creative rather than pointing out their differences as being weird.

Here are some insights that would help the cause of understanding.

6. They Feel Deeply. It’s not possible to create something of great meaning without first experience the depths of the idea to an even greater depth than would be expected. The creative feels everything more deeply than others so they can feel and understand the emotional tug that must be placed within their art.

Many creative people have well intact memories of their deepest experiences that can be drawn from. Those writing about despair are capable of reliving their darkest moments in order to get the flavor of the experience onto paper. The same is true for the highest of highs. The mere thought of a joyful moment will cause a smile to bust open on the writer’s face.

When the average person watches the writer relive a terrifying moment from their life, it’s all too easy for them to consider dropping the subject. But, the writer embraces the moment to capture the right emotions for his creative work. The unpleasant experience is justified in the final emotionally driven story.

7. Give Long Explanations. When you ask a creative a question, he gives a long-ish story in response. The average person would prefer a short concise answer, but for the artist, the point isn’t the answer, but the journey of the experience. The creative will answer in story form so the person asking the question gets a feeling for everything that led up to the answer.

When I was a kid my family ate dinner together almost every night. My mom would always start off the conversation with any information we’d need for later. Once we had been briefed, my mom would ask dad a question about work. In his artistic storytelling fashion, we’d then experience the life of a cop as he told numerous stories of the day’s events. He was never capable of answering her question in a few sentences. Instead, we all went on a journey as junior cops exploring his day through story.

8. They are Their Work. Artistry is a very personal work that every creative does from his or her heart. They are not capable of separating their art from who they are. The voice of the critic makes life a struggle since each critique is a commentary of their self-worth—validated or condemned. When all goes well, the artist shines all the more, but when things turn south the artist must fight for their emotional survival.

I’ll never forget the premiere of “The Ragman.” It was one of my earlier films made on a micro budget. I had to set up the food tables, collect tickets and then put my tux on in the men’s restroom. A critic caught me dressing and wrote his column on my hole-in-the-wall production company instead of the movie. The film flopped in the U.S. and broke even overseas. I was humiliated—a feeling that resided in me for years. As a result, I can now write tear-jerking stories.

9. Off-the-Hook Intuitive. Creatives intuitively know how to flow within their art form, while the average person can’t even understand the how and whys of artistry. Science has tried to create robot art numerous times, but continues to fail at capturing the essence of the imagery. This is due largely to the intuitive nature of tweaking art based on the artistic imperfections of the human condition—something that must be experienced and can’t be faked by algorithms.

I remember teaching a photography class on composition. The lesson was on the golden section versus the rule of thirds. I ran a quick competition with the students. They would shoot their best work using the rule of thirds and I was to shoot my work using the golden section. We showed the great pictures to numerous students outside of class and the golden section pictures won every time. Okay, I probably should’ve mentioned to the students that I was a national award-winning photographer in both Kodak and Polaroid competitions that year, but I wanted them to emotionally buy into the golden section, not just learn its measurements.

10. Love to Play. Life is about movement, action and adventure. Creatives are always learning and exploring anything that raises their curiosity. Research to an artist is a game that’s fun to play and filled with lots of observations. They toss out the stodgy idea of a methodical program and instead plunge into a more interesting way of capturing the essence of what they’ve set out to learn.

I can’t help but notice that during family birthdays a couple people always find ways of acting goofy. The childlike behaviors invigorate the group with life and joy. The artists in the family seem to get younger every year and some of the more logical folks find themselves sitting in chairs and conversing about the goofy ones rolling around on the floor with the little ones. I’ll admit that at birthday parties I’ve flown trips to the moon, gone on deep sea diving excursions and have piloted an airplane in and out of volcanoes just before they’ve erupted—all while sitting underneath the cake table with happy kids.

I hope these thoughts help you to better understand the creative soul. I also hope its stirred your own heart to bring your creative streak back to the forefront of your life with enthusiasm. Life for a creative is always full of play and that very choice leads to a young energetic life.

(Click Here To Read Part One)

© 2017 by CJ Powers

Creating a Visual for Communicating Non-Fixable Feelings

Porch_SwingDiscerning the difference between when a man in a conversation with a partner must only listen, versus offer obvious fixes is difficult, but no longer impossible. I found myself stuck in that no-win scenario all too often and frequently made the wrong choice. Not only did my great advice fall on deaf ears, but I also got to figuratively clean the doghouse more often than my study.

The only saving grace came from a wise old man who found my circumstances funny. Yes, he had a hearty laugh. The man suggested that my solution was found in my make up. He pointed out that my internal wiring wasn’t wrong; it just hadn’t been adjusted to the female language.

Put more simply, my wife (at the time) and I needed listening goals and something visual to trigger my new behavior. He made it clear that I was wired to be visual and therefore required a symbol to engage my new listening goals.

After trial and error, we found a solution that worked so remarkably well that I started to enjoy those difficult conversations because they actually were resolved in an emotionally healthy manner. And, we had the added bonus of finding new treasures of value deep within each other’s souls – Generating new respect for one another.

Thanks to the help from the wise man, I’m now able to say that every woman can share her feelings with her man, without him trying to fix them, by applying a visual reminder with three listening goals.

Here were our goals:

  1. Share Important Feelings in a Visual Place.

We chose the front porch swing as our visual listening place. Every time I sat on the swing, I was visually reminded that if my wife shared a feeling, it was the type that required focused listening and no fixes. After a few months, my new listening behavior had matured.

My wife also had a role to play. She was not to ever share a feeling that required my opinion or a suggested fix when sitting on the swing. Those items were to be discussed elsewhere.

  1. Listen Past the Conflict until You See the Hidden Treasure.

Most of the conversations that took place on the swing were forms of frustration that my wife had to get off of her chest. As a new focused listener, I soon noticed that every point of frustration was like a red flag getting my attention to something important that was deep within her soul.

By listening closely, I was able to ask open-ended questions that allowed her to share more depth, which eventually led to the surfacing of the key issues buried within her heart. In that moment, I would see the real person, her true beliefs and everything that made her tick. It was like finding a huge treasure of great value.

The experience always humbled me as she opened up and revealed her heart. In retrospect, I realized how many lost opportunities to learn something precious had sipped away because I tried to fix things early in the conversation.

  1. Transfer the Visual to Your Partner’s Tells.

After a few months of practice I noticed that my wife had certain “tells” notifying me that she was sharing a feeling that wasn’t to be fixed, but intently listened to. I was soon able to attach my listening goals to her visual tells, so we were no longer limited to sharing deep feelings on the porch swing. If I ever started to waver, she was able to mention the swing and I would immediately heed the hint and listen carefully.

This communication technique doesn’t guarantee excellent conversations every time, as both people can short circuit the process out of anger, rather than seek understanding. In other words, these goals are a tool, not a magic genie.

The good news for men is that the listening goals were based on a visual symbol that turned my times of listening into valuable explorations of the soul. As for the woman’s benefits, it goes much deeper than being known, which in of itself is a wonderful experience.

What do you do to discern the differences between fixable and non-fixable conversations? I’d love to get your insights in the comment space below.

Copyright © 2015 by CJ Powers