Creativity: A Blessing and a Curse

Creativity: A Blessing and a Curse

Creative Minds are Different

One thing I’ve learned as a life coach and career coach (as well as a creative person) is that creative pepole have a unique set of opportunities and challenges. What does it feel like to be an artist? What is the difference between a person that looks at a pile of scrap metal and sees an intricate statue, replicating Buddha, and a person that just sees a bunch of junk? What about those of us that hear nothing in the silence of the night, and those that make out faint sounds of instruments until they have composed an entire symphony in their minds?

Neurologically, there are differences in the “creative brain.” Different areas of the brain are accessed when examining the world, based on whether or not you are a more creative personality. All people use these parts of the brain, when necessary, but creative individuals tend to access these parts more often. Creatives literally see the world through a different lens… and this creates differences in their work, and their lives. Could you imagine Jimi Hendrix doing your taxes? Maybe not, but your tax guy is most likely not pulling off a swallowable rendition of “Hey Joe” or “Foxy Lady” either. Each has their gifts.

Creatives Need to Look Inward, in an External World

However, the creative faction amongst us can sometimes have a difficult task of living in this world, because their thoughts and perspectives need freedom to float around it. Creative people often get great satisfaction from tapping into the unexpressed areas of the soul, in efforts to extract subconscious beauty and original creations. But that can often leave them longing for that same type of connection and purpose in a society that emphasizes external focus, conscious thought and being guarded as opposed to open. While much of today’s art, in any form, is influenced by life and all things within, the ability to artistically express oneself is not something that is derived of this physical place. It’s an internal experience. Many times, the more strongly artists feel connected to their own creative process, they feel more disconnected from the larger world.

The Struggle Between Creativity and “Responsibility”

This is even more so the case in today’s age, where many of us spend the vast majority of our time and energy given to something outside of ourselves. This struggle between having the time and space for creative expression and the demands of day-to-day life is what often weighs on the minds of many creative artists. Our passions can so easily be traded for security, and our fears are triggered by the word RESPONSIBILITY. This is especially true for creatives in relationships. How could you possibly put your dreams and passions first, when you have a family to care for? Who is going to pay the bills while you set out searching for inspiration for your next book, or album?

Disconnection From Your “Creative Self” Can Be Damaging

Not only can emotions derived from these questions be creatively stifling, but they can also contribute to a myriad of negative emotions, and a general sense of feeling STUCK. Some artists wind up abandoning their creative dreams in favor of living the way “they should” according to the dictates of society. Not living a creatively authentic of a life is possible, but it often leads to depression and anxiety.

How To Balance Work and Art

Here are some tips to help you create a healthy balance, when you’re a creative person living in a reality-based world.

Honesty: The best way to combat the inner turmoil between your need for creative freedom and the day-to-day realities of life, is by staying honest with oneself when it comes to who you are, and what you want. We all have the right to have EVERYTHING we want, as long as we are willing to work for it. Not society, family, nor SELF should keep us from being who we were truly meant to be. Recognizing and embracing your differences, as a creative person, is the first step in creating a balanced life.

Validation: Another crucial part of this honesty is a commitment to NOT SHAMING yourself for desiring something that might not seem commonsensical. This is important, as it will make it easier to continue to listen to your inner dialogue. It is hard to sit with your authentic feelings and thoughts, if you are beating yourself up over even having them. Allow yourself to think, and feel your truth, without that defining who you have to be.

Prioritization: Being honest with yourself, and giving yourself permission to be creative, will then allow you to make space for creative expression in your life. Start by asking yourself where and how you can make space for your creative process? Next, consider how can you prioritize that, while also fitting day-to-day responsibilities around your most important work? The key here is balance: If you deny and suppress your creativity, it will harm you emotionally (and existentially). And, if you only follow pure creativity there can be other consequences, to both your relationships, and your material security.

You deserve the best of both worlds: The fulfillment of creative expression, and also a stable life.

If you are a creative artist struggling with how to balance work and art, or are having trouble with creative inspiration, you may find that coaching and/or therapy can be a beneficial way to improve the way you work on art, as well as how you walk through life.

Zachary Gaiter, M.A., LPCC

Embracing Growth: Getting Comfortable With Discomfort

Embracing Growth: Getting Comfortable With Discomfort

Want to Make a Change? You May Need to Get Uncomfortable.

As a life coach and therapist, I often talk to people who feel stuck in situations that are not ideal, especially in their careers or their relationships.

Why? Because even though they are not “in love” with their current circumstances, keeping things as-is feels safer and more comfortable than the idea of making a big change. Even though they know they can do more, or have more, they resist embracing their full potential because change can feel hard. Even scary.

Remember The Matrix? How our hero Nero / Keanu had to make a choice between staying in the comfort of the life he knew, or waking up to the uncomfortable truth of what was actually happening?




Do you stay comfy? Or do you grow?

We’re all faced with that same choice. Do we stay in our comfort zone and pretend that the life we have is all that is possible? Or do we wake up to the anxiety-provoking truth that we can do more… but that it will probably require being less comfortable for a minute, while we create our new reality.

Sometimes simply recognizing that the life we are living is not in line with who we truly are can bring on a lot of uncomfortable feelings. Some of us feel better when we just keep doing what we are doing, in order to remain comfortable. It’s easy to lay around and not exercise. It’s easy to avoid tough, but necessary conversations with our partners. It’s easy to punch in and punch out at a mediocre, unfulfilling job that pays the bills.

It’s hard to push yourself to do more.

Herein lies the majority of the problem: we are ALL conditioned to be satisfied with “comfortable.” Many people feel so threatened by the possibility of discomfort that they create “reasons” (aka, “excuses”) for why change is not possible, or blame others for the condition of their lives. While feeling helpless is not a great feeling, believe it or not, being the victim can feel less threatening than the possibility that you actually are in control of your life… and that you do have the power to change it.

What I’ve learned as a life coach who specializes in helping people get motivated is that there’s tremendous opportunity in discomfort. The truth is, we do NOT often progress, grow, and/or accomplish great things by remaining comfortable. If the early American settlers wanted to stay comfortable, our country would have stopped in Pennsylvania. If Susan B. Anthony stayed comfortable in the early 1900’s, when would women have been able to vote? If Martin Luther King Jr would have stayed comfortable, we may all still be using different water fountains.

If you want to change your life, you must learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. How appealing does “being comfortable” sound if it’s synonymous with “mediocre and stagnant.” The truth is that feeling uncomfortable can push you towards great things. That is how we grow! We learn to make fire because we are uncomfortable with cold. Imagine what it would be like if we just learned to be comfortable with the cold. Burrr.

Embrace the feeling of knowing that you NEED to do something else with your life — don’t avoid it. If you are brave enough to entertain the idea that what you are doing might not be enough, then you are uncomfortable in your current situation. That is the starting point of growth. Don’t lie to yourself, or those around you, as a way of playing it safe. Be uncomfortable with your situation. Embrace it. And BE the change that you need to see in your life.

Zachary Gaiter M.A.