Provocatively titled Everything You Thought You Knew About Creativity Is Wrong, the article in The Huffington Post presumes that everyone is aware of the five “creativity myths”, gently pushing David B. Goldstein’s et all book “Creative You: Using Your Personality Type to Thrive“. The book — another unfounded presumption — would demolish every one of those myths.
In his book, Goldstein reveals 16 different paths in which people can unearth their creativity, all of which depend on their psychological preferences. The author connects the personalities dictated by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment, a test developed on the basis that we all have particular preferences in the way we translate our life experiences and values. (Excerpt from the article.)
In fact, MBTI isn’t scientifically inarguable gospel of anything, and it’s not merely my unprofessional opinion. But it’s beside the point. Let’s see what these 5 myths are and decide whether or not they are as widely known as Mr. Goldstein thinks they are while he debunks them one by one.
Myth #1 that, ostensibly, is perpetuated but urgently needs debunking: Stepping “outside of your comfort zone” is the best way to elicit creativity. Ever held this one close to heart? If yes, forget about it, Goldstein says, because “creativity comes from finding our comfort zone and standing in it… When we’re comfortable and acting in our preferences, we have the courage to take risks. “Comfort makes you riskier, and riskier person is more likely to get bright idea. An example of comfort zone is a car you drive or a shower… Agree? Got creative in the shower lately? Lucky you.
Before composing music, Beethoven, for instance, poured on his head a bucket of cold water in the belief that it stimulates the brain power. Whether he stayed inside his comfort zone or stepped outside while at it, remains an unanswered question that must be baffling the composer’s biographers to this day. Friedrich Schiller often found both inspiration and comfort zone in a nearby brothel. Neither is highly advisable, actually.
Myth #2. Brainstorming sessions are the best ways to come up with brilliant ideas. Goldstein doesn’t argue with this one, leaving it un-debunked. Yes for some, and no for others, he concedes. Whereas it is absolutely right for many, it might be totally wrong for just as many. What’s the point in stating the obvious and the banal, then? I suspect the myth itself is an invention of the author as well, unless the word “myth” acquired a new meaning since I last used it.
Myth #3. Being creative means being spontaneous. No way, Goldstein says, reminding us that some of the most inspiring, creative works came with a set of plans. Norman Rockwell was a big planner, Goldstein tells us. Good for Norman, I’d say. Spontaneity might or might not be as important for creativity as it is for catching fleas. Yes, Rockwell and a whole bunch of creative types planned, plotted and outlined. So what? Myth debunked? But was there a myth in the first place?
Myth #4. Creative people must invent something new. Goldstein takes this one apart by arguing that the “intuitive types”, the “impractical” thinkers — the 30% of us — are capable of solving “future problems”, thus creating “something new”. Einstein, Edison and the likes of them — the abstract, forward-looking folks that they are — are the representatives of this type. Don’t worry. The rest of us, the “sensers”, posses different kind of creativity. So if you are no Einstein, don’t give up on expressing yourself. There is still a chance you create something worthy. Besides, Goldstein assures the non-Einsteins that “There’s an overlap. The intuitives can pay attention to detail and do think in the moments, and sensers can look into the future and see the bigger picture.” Well, if this isn’t really-really deep, then I don’t know what is…
Myth #5. Creativity means having a finished product. If this myth stymied your creativity — relax. If you never created anything you weren’t embarrassed to show off, it might be because you are a “perceiver”. These people are prone to edit, change, add to, subtract from and try to improve upon ad infinitum. For them, creativity is never a finished product but rather a never-ending process. Perhaps, you are another Picasso, whom MBTI would surely qualify as a perceiver.
“To finish a work? To finish a picture? What nonsense! To finish it means to be through with it, to kill it, to rid it of its soul,” Goldstein quotes Picasso.
Those who visited this page before, already know nearly everything I think about Pablo. Some of his works are better not only unfinished, but unbegun. Opinions expressed here are mine, and I wasn’t influenced by any substances or persons. Honestly.
Thus my unsolicited advise to creative types everywhere is this: If you want to thrive creatively, don’t waste your time on Creative You: Using Your Personality Type to Thrive. Create something either spontaneously or not, in a group or by your lonesome, in or out of your comfort zone — even if your comfort zone is your bathroom. Whether your creation will turn out to be a finished product or forever remains a perfection in the making, you might learn a few thing about your “personality type”… and smile.