“Man! The traffic was crazy today. Then, wouldn’t you know it, a cyclist whips by, cuts in front of a line of cars, and almost gets nailed!”
“Wow. Really?” I shook my head, while he continued on about how crazy some cyclists are.
I was listening to my husband recapping his trip home from the office
However, I was also drawn to stare at a few whiskers on his cheek that he’d missed that morning, and was half listening to the news on tv about a Canadian Paralympic 1500 meter runner, (and wondering why we hadn’t heard more on the Paralympics) A quail sat on top of a bush outside, and I admired its plump little body perched so comfortably.
My hubbie stopped and stared at me. “Are you listening?”
“Of course. Just wanted to interject that dinner’s ready.”
“Right. Anyway, blah blah blah blah…”
To be honest, I only caught about a half of what he said. Does this sound familiar?
I’ve researched characteristics of creative people and found in many articles that ‘creatives’ are most often aware of a lot of irrelevant environmental stimuli occurring at any given time. And most often creative people need absolute silence to concentrate. Hence, writer’s retreats, and the popular suggestion for creative people to work at quiet times of the day, like early morning. (Shudder. Just how early are we talking?)
Interestingly enough, many characteristics of a creative person are similar to those of a person with ADD or Attention Deficit Disorder. They both are dreamers, unable at times to focus on just one thing, able to think out of the box, and often possess a very practical intelligence. And many articles have been written about the correlation between creativity and ADD. Of course, there are degrees of each, and the only reason I thought these articles were interesting was to be able to understand myself a bit better, and to learn how to deal with being distracted. It’s not really important to me whether I have ADD or am simply creative, but the vast number of articles written on both make me realize, I’m not alone.
So how do creative people concentrate?
I love the story about Victor Hugo, the author of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, locking away all his clothes to avoid the temptation of going out and socializing while completing his manuscript.
Apparently Einstein took long walks on beaches or merely gazed at a ceiling and waited for his imagination to take over.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart loved to take long carriage rides by himself, often in the middle of the night.
The people above, all insisted that solitude was paramount to being creative, but each of us has to know how to deal with his or her creativity and life’s distractions. It truly shocked me when I watched my son with headphones on listening to music and studying at the same time. Obviously that would not have worked for me, but somehow it did for him.
Our ability to use our brains to get outside our limited experiences and worlds, enables us to imagine far more than less creative people. The problem is to harness our minds and discipline ourselves in order to best utilize our God-given gifts.
In the book The Creative Brain: The Science of Genius, neuroscientist Nancy Andreasen confirms that creative people struggle with distractions more than others.
So, how do you create that zone where you are the most creative?