Discuss the impacts of Cultivating Curiosity and Interest.
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In Creativity, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi suggests that creativity is a genetic mutation. He writes “By random mutations, some individuals must have developed a nervous system in which the discovery of novelty stimulates the pleasure centers in the brain.” (Creativity, “About the Book,” 6). He feels that this genetic mutation was developed to help human beings to adapt to a constantly changing world. Since conditions are always changing in the environment, being happy about or finding pleasure in the creative response (like human beings get pleasure out of eating and sex because it helps the species to survive and last) highlights those individuals most likely to survive. In other words, being creative or finding creative responses to a harsh environment is a survival strategy. He concludes So the best program is one that makes the organism feel good whenever something new is discovered, regardless of its present usefulness. And this is what seems to have happened with our [human] race through evolution. (6) He goes on to state that human beings have two equally powerful but contradictory biological imperatives: 1. A conservative desire (the desire to curl up on the couch and “veg”), and 2. The desire to create He suggests that the second of these is what leads to the evolution of culture and civilization: “Unless enough people are motivated by the enjoyment that comes from confronting challenges, by discovering new ways of being and doing, there is no evolution of culture, no progress in thought or feeling.” [What do you think would constitute progress in culture, thought, or feeling? How would you define that progress?] Csikszentmihalyi found that in studying those who were doing things they enjoyed, but were not rewarded by fame or money, what kept them motivated was the quality of experience they felt when they were involved with the activity. It involved painful, risky, difficult activities that stretched the person’s capacity and involved an element of novelty and discovery. (9) He goes on to explain “This optimal experience is what I have called flow, because many of the respondents described the feeling when things were going well as an almost automatic, effortless, yet highly-focused state of consciousness,” (9). The Nine Elements of Flow 1. Clear goals every step of the way 2. There is immediate feedback to one’s actions 3. There is a balance between challenges and skills. 4. Action and awareness are merged. 5. Distractions are excluded from consciousness. 6. There is no worry of failure. 7. Self-consciousness disappears. 8. The sense of time becomes distorted. 9. The activity becomes automatic (something that is an end itself and enjoyable for its own sake). So how does one go about enhancing his or her creativity? The obstacles to creativity, Csikszentmihalyi, says are 1. Being too exhausted. 2. Being too distracted. 3. Being too “lazy.” 4. Not knowing what to do with our energy or where to channel it. Enhancing Personal Creativity 1. Cultivating Curiosity and Interest a. Try to be surprised by something every day. b. Try to surprise at least one person every day. c. Write down each day what surprised you. d. When something strikes a spark of interest, follow it. 2. Cultivating Flow a. Wake up in the morning with a specific goal. b. Find enjoyment in doing things well. c. To keep enjoyment, increase complexity. 3. Habits of Strength · Eliminate distractions (Einstein worse same clothes everyday) · You decide where you focus your attention. · Meditation as a form of control. a. Take charge of your schedule. b. Make time for reflection and relaxation. c. Shape your space. d. Find out what you like and what you hate about life. “Creative individuals are in very close touch with their emotions.” Sensitive to pain, boredom, interest NOT on autopilot. How do you get in touch with your emotions? i. Keep a careful record each day of what you did and how you feel about it. ii. Start doing more of what you love, less of what you hate. 4. Internal Traits You can adopt traits you don’t have, but want more of. a. Develop what you lack (more outgoing, etc) b. Alternate between openness and closure, creative and critical thinking c. Aim for complexity. 5. The application of creative energy a. Find a way to express what moves you. (Often creative expression is a way to release emotions from poverty, illness, pain, parental neglect, etc) b. Problem-solving i. Clarify- look at problems from as many viewpoints as possible. Reverse formulation (Byron Katie) ii. Ideate- Figure out the implications of the problem. iii. Develop- Experiment with multiple solutions. iv. Implement the solution. Chapter 10, Flow: Make a quick annotation for yourself in the fields below (not to submit) as you read the Chapter to get the essential points of “The Making of Meaning.” 1. What Meaning Means 2. Cultivating Purpose 3. Forging Resolve 4. Recovering Harmony 5. The Unification of Meaning in Life Themes (230-5, 235-240) “The most promising faith for the future might be based on the realization that the entire universe is a system related by common laws and that it makes no sense to impose our dreams and desires on nature without taking them into account. Recognizing the limitations of human will, accepting a cooperative rather than a ruling role in the universe, we should feel the relief of the exile who is finally returning home. The problem of meaning will then be resolved as the individual’s purpose merges with the universal flow,” (240). What is your life theme? Copyrighted Material – subject to fair use exceptionlecture notes Mihaly Csikszentmihaly, Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention Chapter 14, Flow, Chapter 10 In Creativity, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi suggests that creativity is a genetic mutation. He writes “By random mutations, some individuals must have developed a nervous system in which the discovery of novelty stimulates the pleasure centers in the brain.” (Creativity, “About the Book,” 6). He feels that this genetic mutation was developed to help human beings to adapt to a constantly changing world. Since conditions are always changing in the environment, being happy about or finding pleasure in the creative response (like human beings get pleasure out of eating and sex because it helps the species to survive and last) highlights those individuals most likely to survive. In other words, being creative or finding creative responses to a harsh environment is a survival strategy. He concludes So the best program is one that makes the organism feel good whenever something new is discovered, regardless of its present usefulness. And this is what seems to have happened with our [human] race through evolution. (6) He goes on to state that human beings have two equally powerful but contradictory biological imperatives: 1. A conservative desire (the desire to curl up on the couch and “veg”), and 2. The desire to create He suggests that the second of these is what leads to the evolution of culture and civilization: “Unless enough people are motivated by the enjoyment that comes from confronting challenges, by discovering new ways of being and doing, there is no evolution of culture, no progress in thought or feeling.” [What do you think would constitute progress in culture, thought, or feeling? How would you define that progress?] Csikszentmihalyi found that in studying those who were doing things they enjoyed, but were not rewarded by fame or money, what kept them motivated was the quality of experience they felt when they were involved with the activity. It involved painful, risky, difficult activities that stretched the person’s capacity and involved an element of novelty and discovery. (9) He goes on to explain “This optimal experience is what I have called flow, because many of the respondents described the feeling when things were going well as an almost automatic, effortless, yet highly-focused state of consciousness,” (9). The Nine Elements of Flow 1. Clear goals every step of the way 2. There is immediate feedback to one’s actions 3. There is a balance between challenges and skills. 4. Action and awareness are merged. 5. Distractions are excluded from consciousness. 6. There is no worry of failure. 7. Self-consciousness disappears. 8. The sense of time becomes distorted. 9. The activity becomes autotelic (something that is an end itself and enjoyable for its own sake). So how does one go about enhancing his or her creativity? The obstacles to creativity, Csikszentmihalyi, says are 1. Being too exhausted. 2. Being too distracted. 3. Being too “lazy.” 4. Not knowing what to do with our energy or where to channel it. Enhancing Personal Creativity 1. Cultivating Curiosity and Interest a. Try to be surprised by something every day. b. Try to surprise at least one person every day. c. Write down each day what surprised you. d. When something strikes a spark of interest, follow it. 2. Cultivating Flow a. Wake up in the morning with a specific goal. b. Find enjoyment in doing things well. c. To keep enjoyment, increase complexity. 3. Habits of Strength · Eliminate distractions (Einstein worse same clothes everyday) · You decide where you focus your attention. · Meditation as a form of control. a. Take charge of your schedule. b. Make time for reflection and relaxation. c. Shape your space. d. Find out what you like and what you hate about life. “Creative individuals are in very close touch with their emotions.” Sensitive to pain, boredom, interest NOT on autopilot. How do you get in touch with your emotions? i. Keep a careful record each day of what you did and how you feel about it. ii. Start doing more of what you love, less of what you hate. 4. Internal Traits You can adopt traits you don’t have, but want more of. a. Develop what you lack (more outgoing, etc) b. Alternate between openness and closure, creative and critical thinking c. Aim for complexity. 5. The application of creative energy a. Find a way to express what moves you. (Often creative expression is a way to release emotions from poverty, illness, pain, parental neglect, etc) b. Problem-solving i. Clarify- look at problems from as many viewpoints as possible. Reverse formulation (Byron Katie) ii. Ideate- Figure out the implications of the problem. iii. Develop- Experiment with multiple solutions. iv. Implement the solution. Chapter 10, Flow: Make a quick annotation for yourself in the fields below (not to submit) as you read the Chapter to get the essential points of “The Making of Meaning.” 1. What Meaning Means 2. Cultivating Purpose 3. Forging Resolve 4. Recovering Harmony 5. The Unification of Meaning in Life Themes (230-5, 235-240) “The most promising faith for the future might be based on the realization that the entire universe is a system related by common laws and that it makes no sense to impose our dreams and desires on nature without taking them into account. Recognizing the limitations of human will, accepting a cooperative rather than a ruling role in the universe, we should feel the relief of the exile who is finally returning home. The problem of meaning will then be resolved as the individual’s purpose merges with the universal flow,” (240). What is your life theme?

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