The silly stereotype of the tragic genius

Have you ever had an idea pop into your head, for example when you woke up after an afternoon nap?  As cool as that is, it can be disorienting when ideas just come out of nowhere.  But what’s really scary is those stereotypes of tragic geniuses, mad artists and suicidal poets…  So, does creativity really demand a dangerous surrender to mysterious forces?

In a word, no.  Because creativity uses so much of you (mind, will, imagination, emotion, and so on), dedicating yourself to a creative project enables your unconscious mind to jump in and help out.  That’s unusual for many of us, and it can feel strange.  It can also look strange to others, because focusing so intently can make us seem spacey.

But in fact, creativity is healthy.  It energizes you, builds your self-esteem, and just in general makes you better at living.  It also makes for healthier cultures, capable of growth and adaptation in the face of challenges.

That said, don’t overdo.  If you’re working hard on a creative project, make sure you take the time to eat, sleep, and care for your body.  Treat the people around you with respect, asking for their support instead of pushing them away.  Smile more, worry less.  Be persistent, and also patient.

And when you complete your project, take the time to be proud and happy!  That sounds pretty sane, to me.


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