Woman with a creative mind holding a bunch of paintbrushes

Habits of the Creative Mind

Are you looking for ways to expand your creative mind and achieve personal growth in the process? One thing I’ve learned as a career coach and Denver career coach (as well as a creative person), is that creative people have a habit of facing unique opportunities and challenges. 

What does it feel like to be an artist? To have a creative mind? 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? The habit of finding beauty, and art, within the mundane is the mark of a ‘creative.’

Neurologically, there are differences in the “creative mind.” 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 have a habit of accessing these parts far more often. 

Creative minds literally see the world through a different lens… and this creates differences in their work habits and their general lives. If you are looking for how to find your purpose in life, you are not alone. It’s all about finding your niche. 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.

Whether it is by habit or intention, creative minds have different aspects of daily life that they may think about more than less creative people.

Mindfulness for the Creative Mind

However, this means that 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 from 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. 

By focusing on some of the things your creative mind leads you to do, the rest of your mind gets to feel connected in new ways.

Take some time to try to be mindful about your creative process. While you do not need to think about every decision, perhaps you will stop and take a look at a partially finished product to consider what steps you took to get to that point, and why. Maybe it will even be something as simple as making a few intentional choices in an otherwise subconsciously-fueled project. 

In everyday life, allow yourself to stop and take a breath as you observe the beauty of the world around you. Noticing art in nature, or in the way that your office is set up, for example, can remind your creative self that it is not isolated, but connected to the world in an important way.

Simple mindfulness practices can go a long way to making you feel more in touch with your art and the world around you, all at the same time. By focusing on some of the things your creative mind leads you to do, the rest of your mind gets to feel connected in new ways.

As a more mindful person, you’ll be able to focus on the intersection of your creative inner world and those around you in a physical space. 

Mindfulness helps us to better engage in our relationships, whether that means how you interact at work with coworkers or how you show up as a friend or partner in your personal life. Getting to do what you love on a regular basis while also practicing mindful creativity can help to bridge the gap between the creative internal self and the external world around you.

The Creative Mind 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? Finding ways to become self employed could help you to solve this internal struggle that impacts your external life.

Some of life’s obligations may seem more intimidating than others, but do not need to be traded in place of creativity. Instead, we can adjust the way that we see creativity as a whole. 

If you are worried about being put in charge of a project at work that seems dull, for example, you have the power to make a change that can cater toward the responsibility you hold and your desire for ‘more.’ In fact, your creativity may make you a much better leader because you can find new ways to get your partners involved and excited. 

The same goes for parenting. While there will be some added responsibility in your life, you can make this new role fit your personality and way of looking at the world. Think outside of the box, just instead of focusing solely on ideas for your art, also think about ways to have fun with this new chapter of life. 

Responsibility can be a scary concept, but really it’s only overwhelming if you let it feel like something you ‘have’ to do rather than a new challenge to put your mind to work on.

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Can Both Creative Thinking and Logical Thinking Work Together?

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 as creatively authentic of a life is possible, but it often leads to depression and anxiety.

Someone that can learn how to utilize their logic and creativity to work together will get double the benefits.

Creative and logical thinking are not mutually exclusive, but rather go hand-in-hand quite well. Solely creative thinkers may tend to overlook some of the more finite details of something like a work proposal, while solely logical thinkers may miss out on some of the engaging aspects that draw others in. 

Someone that can learn how to utilize their logic and creativity to work together will get double the benefits. 

You could work at the most boring of office jobs out there, but as a creative you could still put your own ‘spin’ on things. From keeping the excitement going between coworkers in your office to pitching new ideas or coming up with ways that you might complete a task more mindfully, creativity is an advantage that you are lucky to have.

It is not illogical to pursue a career in art, just like it is not dull to want to focus on a career in math or science. Those who are able to combine creativity with logical ways of thinking might even find that they create better, more intentional art all while finding fun ways to add an artistic spin on presenting data or other research. 

Balance is key when it comes to finding ways to keep all of your different interests and processes working in harmony, and it is so worth the effort.

How to be Creative at Work

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. Taking steps to make informed career decisions will let you listen to your creative self as you strive for financial success at the same time.

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 you can 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 can be a beneficial way to improve the way you work on art, as well as how you walk through life.

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