Podcast: Creativity


Tova and therapist Lorena discuss creativity, one of the strengths that develops wisdom. Wisdom is a Positive Psychology virtue that makes life worth living.


Host: Tova Kreps, LCSW
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Guest: Lorena Cucalon, RMHC
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00:29                                     Welcome to wellspring on the air. I'm Tova, co founder and president of wellspring counseling. And today's program is another program on positive psychology about what is wellbeing. Because we don't want to just fix these negative problems in our lives. We want to be whole and healthy and the best we can be. And so today's program is about creativity. How do you like that creativity? One of the things that makes our lives better lives to live with me today in the studio, I have Lorraina kook alone. Hello. Hi Tovah. Thank you for having me here. And Lorraine is a therapist with us at wellspring, and this is one of her specialties, right? Yes. Because I think really character matters and wellbeing, it's about having character. It is. So today we're talking about the characteristic and the character of creativity. So let's just dive right in. So first of all, let's just define it.

01:20                                     Could you define that for us? Yeah. Is that creative person is someone who comes up with ideas that are original and useful is the ability to look at a problem. When you have a problem. And B can become resourceful and be able to solve it. It'll come up with good ideas to solve it. It entails two essential components. This person must produce an idea or something new that it's recognizable as already know. But originality doesn't mean that you are creative itself. It has to be of use to yourself and to other people. So you can be original. But to have the character quality of creativity, it actually has some benefit, a true usefulness, not just an original. Exactly. Visual kind of thing. All right, that's good. I know that authentic happiness, uh, Seligman who wrote the book authentic happiness, said, when you're faced with something you want, are you outstanding at finding novel yet appropriate behavior to reach that goal?

02:13                                     That's kind of a different way of looking at creativity, right? It is actually a creativity is morally valued. It implies that you have brought beauty to somebody or something and also elegance and functionality to your surrounding. And so it enhances the things around in pounds. It's useful. It brings something new to exactly to an issue. I know. Let's talk a little bit about the types of creativity along the lines of still defining it. You know, they, they talk about like, if you think of like a mini seed creativity, it's like it involves personally meaningful ideas and insights that are known only to yourself. So we can at the very narrow as we can talk about being creative, even in just these aha moments that we have that are, that are just insights that are a connection that's made that nobody else might've made. So that counts is creativity, right?

03:02                                     Yes. Daily creativity is from, you know, regular people, teachers, how highly creative they are. People who do research students at a science project. Yeah. So like a little seat. Creativity would be those daily things where you solve a problem in a creative way where you think outside the box people we're stuck, we can't do this. I don't know what to do. And you come in with that creative solution for just daily living, adapting to the problems that we face. Right. Right. And then the next one we might think of like of the professional creativity though. So that's takes place among professionals who are skilled and creative in their respective fields. It could be graphic arts or a lot, or even writing all these things. So these individuals are creative in their work itself, but do not achieve them eminence for their works. They just do it on a day to day basis because it's their workflow and what they're good at.

03:52                                     And then, um, the big C creativity, the ones we probably really think of, you know, like, um, Apple or something, right. The Vinci [inaudible], those people, they, they have creative works and ideas that are considered great in any particular field. They take their profession and they add discipline to it and they add this creativity that nobody else has done and create a magnificent works of art or science or literature that is truly, yeah, those brilliant minds really, they have brought beauty into this world and they keep us entertained. Actually they do. And, and you know, would they have done some research on creativity and what it is? And it does say that there are three basic things you need to be creative. The first is energy. So those people have all those levels. You have to put energy towards it. So creativity doesn't happen to you. It's something you put energy into, right?

04:45                                     Yes. You must take the time. If you want to be creative, nobody can tell you to be creative, but you must give yourself the time to think, to allow yourself to be there doing nothing. One of the things that they recommend is that a research proved that if you expose yourself to nature and just allow yourself to do nothing, it's really important. Right. And then out of that silence, really from the noisy world, you have the opportunity to create new and to put energy toward it. Uh, there also says you have to have some intelligence. There is a correlation with intelligence and creativity, although you're gonna have a very high IQ and not be creative, but to be extremely creative, you probably also have an a high IQ for those people who that LAR big seat. Right? Yeah. But also I have seen that there, I've had students, for example, that they were not really brilliant.

05:37                                     Yeah. Brilliant. But, uh, if you believe in their idea and you allow them to explore that idea, they will come up with things that you can never imagine. I was surprised to see this on the research because I do think that everybody has some capacity for creativity. And sometimes the people who might be more handicapped actually are very creative and solving the problems. They have a little bit more problems than other people in terms of negotiating the world. They find creative ways around it and the third one, energy intelligence and the third one was discipline and I think it's important to know that you're another creative idea, but you're not going to have the creative product without actually spending the time and energy and discipline working on it. Do you have to work on it? Do you have to face the disappointment of failing and added and then start all over again?

06:23                                     Cleaned that up, reshape the aide, the put it together in another way so you have to be flexible as well and to practice it and to maybe do a hundred products of it before the final one comes because when it's new and original, it usually takes some working out of the King, so it takes discipline to make that happen. One of the things that our research also shows is that if you are under pressure, time pressure or self criticism or scrutinize by somebody, you will not be able to be creative. It has to be something that you do not put pressure on yourself. There is no timeline to finish this. You know, prizes or idea. I do want to finish by November, but it's not a debt. And if I do not, can't have someone standing over you with a ruler. Say that now that that person could come to be.

07:08                                     Yes. And also there's another thing that I, I was reading about research that they did between two groups. They chose two groups. I university a, group a and group B and everybody knew each other. They were classmates. So they divided the two groups. They assign them something to be creative on, finished a project to a certain date. But in group B, they assigned somebody out of the school and put them there. So in group B, they were uncomfortable. They didn't know how to get into an agreement. But at the end they finished the project better and in more creative ways. And they say this is because when you're more creative it's because you have been exposed to different ideas and outsiders not in your comfort zone where you are used to listen to the same ID. Yes. It is very important that somebody who thinks differently than we do give us another input.

07:57                                     Well they have, they have that society Trek a little bit, but they've shown that the more diverse a group is the the better in a work environment, the better the problem solving actually is because of that diversity. It adds creative thoughts. Yes. That's good. All right. Take a second and tires back into, let's just talk about God as our creator and how are we like him and maybe not like him. Okay. What do you think? Well, I think we are very much like him, but it's so important to look at the way he did things because he saw when he was creating the world, everything was on organized right. And he said, okay, we're going to put the quarter into it and then at the end he saw it was good and then he'll continue with the next idea. And then the second day, the third day when he was about to finish, he looked and he was pleased with it.

08:48                                     He didn't do it for any other purpose that bring goodness to her lives. Beauty, and if you see every detail in the ocean, every animal, every texture, every food, every color, language, cultures, everything that you see, you have to have a passion to bore into that. We have to see it the same way. We do have a passion. Sometimes we did not know which is your passion and you just have to allow yourself to think about those little times of, okay, let's see what am I going to do with this honor, organized thing that I have right here in front of me. I see it that way. I do. I just think we can't talk about creativity without doing what you've just done, which is acknowledging God is our creator, the creator of the entire universe. He created all that beauty and all that order and over and over.

09:35                                     I actually did a word search and scripture for this song create and it all relates to God. It's really all about God. And there are a few human ones. They're like, you've created disaster. You created, I found these and I was like, Oh, you know, you've created your own trouble. And I'm like, okay, this is kind of discouraging. But it's true. But, but having said that, so we know God is our creator. I also really believe like you, that that we are like God in his image and that we are creative. When you look at the other creatures that God created, they don't really create new, a couple of the animals might have a few exceptions, but, but you know, we humans, we come in with the tower of Babel, we're going to build, you know, something new and different and we're, we don't get to create life like God does.

10:21                                     But we can manipulate all of life to create new things that are completely new and different and not just part of the actual order. You know, it's amazing what men have. Korean, yes. Imagine everything that you're doing right now. The car you drive, the clothes you're wearing, your eyeglasses, the compute or everything. It's an idea that somebody has, we are really functioning in the image of God when we are creative. Uh, Ephesians two 10 says, for we are his workmanship having been created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand so we may do them. So I think it's interesting to see that, um, God created us with Jesus. Nolan's predatory, analyzed for good works and some of those good works are actually creative works. They're, they're ministry works in the works of love, um, and discipleship and sharing the gospel, but they're also creative works that some of us are created.

11:13                                     For some of us, our ministry is to create a piece of art or is to create a piece of engineering and not necessarily what happens just in church ministry. It's all those other things. So I have one last thought on the biblical side before we take a quick break here. But I was thinking about how, um, faith is actually a little like creativity because to be creative you have to see what doesn't exist yet. And that's faith. Faith is the belief in what's unseen. And so I think it's similar to creativity and that creativity is the vision of what you can't see. Yeah, indeed. Because when you see an architect, for example, you give him a dad of the house that you want to build up and they put it into paper and they will work out in with you until they finalize the paper.

11:58                                     Then they go to the land that which is deserted and there's nothing, and they say, here's the bathroom, here is the building, is, here's those wallet. We gonna take how this window we're gonna take. And there's nothing there. So they already envision that. And after that they're gonna put it into something beautiful that you're going to be leaving now. And we can creatively envision what guns told us. It's killing it for us. Our home in heaven, he's already working architect for him. So. Alright, on that note, let's take a quick break. This is wellspring on the air with Tova and Lorena, and we're talking about creativity, one of the wellness topics of positive psychology, one of the character traits that helps us become wise and have happy life. So we'll be right back. Wellspring now offers professional Christian counseling at six locations in Dade County. Therapists are now taking clients at two new locations, one at crossbridge, Miami Springs, and Kiva skein for more information, (786) 573-7010 or wellspring miami.org for more information.

13:02                                     Welcome back. This is Tova and Lorena with wellspring on the air. And today we're talking about creativity, one of the character traits of positive psychology that helps us become wise, the virtue of wisdom. If you missed the beginning of this show, then you can find us on your favorite podcasts or listen to one of our other recordings and otherwise just join in. So far we've talked about what creativity is and we're gonna move in now to a little bit of how do we develop that, what, what's conducive for good creativity? And we'll move from there. So, uh, Lorraina let's talk about what helps us be creative. I know I've gotta let us, you've gotta last. Let's see what we've got here. Okay. Especially from where I read is that, uh, to become creative, your senses must be without judgment. Without self criticism and you have to be exposed, exposed to nature IDs, read different things, listening to the noises and the music that is surrounding you and going await of the difference in opinions I should say of people.

14:05                                     So you can come up with your own idea. Well that's interesting because I think that there are two sides to that. I mean, first of all, you gave two points there. One in the sense that we are without judgment. So that open-mindedness, which we'll talk about on another day, but the openmindedness to ideas or to whatever instead of dismissing, Oh I can't do that or that can't be done or whatever. To be creative, you have to be open to those without judging. So absolutely no judgment is key. Um, but then you talked about being exposed and so one of the things is to get away from lots of voices so that you can be creative. I am, and I think that there's a, there's research that says that actually boredom is what we need. We actually need to be bored before we can be creative. So in that sense it's like a less sensory, but I also think it's interesting that there's some research that says that the more we're exposed to, and that could be voices, so if the creativity happens to be in a work project, the more diverse voices we have, the more creative we'll be because the more our world expands according to Fredrickson, the more our world expands, the more flexible we become and the more innovative and thus the more creative.

15:15                                     That's because there are two types of creativity. One is when you are already no wait an idea where you don't have to be exposed to anything. You have to be in touch with nature and just yourself, your senses, what you perceive. And the other one is that you're not original but you are adaptive. You adapt what there's already there but you creating something from there or you are making it better in a different, in the creative, in a creative way. So I had another one I'll, I will go back and forth. I had another one here which was that, just to be real practical, there was one study showed that participants who listen to happy music or viewed funny clips or more likely to be innovative in their problem solving. So that really relates to a broader picture, which is positive emotions. We really do need to be in a positive emotional state generally to be very creative.

16:03                                     Yes. Actually, yeah, dr Fredrickson, she said that in her book broaden and build, she says that creativity is smart, smart, like it to happen when you're, you experienced new ideas and you are in a good mood. Yeah. So we need demos. You have this space and, and and freedom to do it in some ways for too busy and to be able to ask, especially I would thinking about kids because um, usually the parents model or tell them what to do and to not allow them to, to be just them bored, like you were saying before, they take them to one class, to the other soccer team. Everybody's telling them what to do and sell them it when they're facing with the time to do nothing, they go to the iPad or the cell phone because they are really, they really don't know. Limited increase. So a little note to the parents, stateless shoes off, take them to the beach.

16:54                                     I love them to play a few minutes by themselves. Play by themselves is huge. And just objects and things. So you know, sticks and stones card. Let them chose eight. If they tell you I'm born, I need to do something. Okay, go on and find something to do in your room or go on, explore these or that and listen to the RDA, the R D as the stories. Uh, do not tell them, Oh no, that's not because he's the danger. Oh no, I don't have time. Give yourself 10 minutes of the time so they can explore that idea and they feel encouraged to share with you any creativity they want to. I have grandkids now, they're two and four and I I really love, um, just they get to play the game and I just follow along and I become whatever character they make me and they dress me in however they want and, and they, and I just go along and get along and you know, let, let them have that free play.

17:47                                     Time is great as great. It's, it's really true. Let's see, what else? I found there was some correlation with being pro social. So in other words, if you're doing something for others, you're actually more likely to be creative and feel rewarded in that and enjoy that process as opposed to creativity just for yourself. Yes. Actually when you are 18 now usually it, I found something in one of the research that says that a wealth and claimed may follow, but they did not. The person who started that idea never does it for that purpose. They do it just because of the sake that it brings pleasure and wellbeing and fulfillment and it's, it's a byproduct. Yeah. It's not the goal. No, it's not that. And in terms of it being the goal, that's what they say, that to be more creative, you have to be intrinsically motivated.

18:33                                     You actually are not motivated by external rewards because honestly no one's going to pay you for all those hours where you stay up at night. I mean, I actually lean really strongly on this cream Tivity side by my own personality and I will just spend hours and hours and hours just writing things, drawing it out, getting up in the middle of the night and writing it down and thinking about it. And my family just laughs at me, you know? But sooner or later, either whether it's something that the house are projects or even like our bounce camp for wellspring, it was actually a work of creativity, but no one could have ever paid me for the hours I spent of making that come together. Yeah. It really was. This'll work and this is exciting and let's try for social. Yeah. And, uh, so I do think that that we have to be motivated by our own excitement over what could be, it's a greater goal is a greater purpose that it's not the pencil only on herself because if not it would not drive you to it.

19:29                                     So it's very satisfying to, to dream about what could be and then to see what you can do to make it happen. I can have creative, that's the mind of a child. They don't have any limits, any boundaries, thinking about imagination and if you allow them to be exposed to those ideas. And one of the things that I always tell teachers were parents just draw and color them. No mines, just no lines. Let them let their hands there or you know, any textures, anything. And let them think that it's the beauty that they have created. And not just with callers but with their feet, you know, and everything they can try, they can bake, they can make, they can pretend that it is extremely important to develop first confidence that they can put something together that it's, you know, good and it brings you a smile.

20:15                                     It brings you, they will keep on bringing you something because they think it's, it's a beauty. It's bringing you a smile on your face though. And schools are very negative towards not all I know is there's some amazing teachers out there but, but we are over valuing getting things quote right and the memory moments and the grades, it implies that there's a wrong and so there's always we're being judged and graded on wrong and so there's anxiety about get it right and in creativity you have to risk getting it wrong. Lots of times in order to be creative you have to not care if it's right or wrong. No boundaries for your mind if you want it to be creative. Well let's just talk about some real specific things we can do in the moment when we are actually trying to solve a specific problem.

21:02                                     So I have, you mentioned one already. I'll bring it back in. That is go for a walk. [inaudible] research says that we have more creativity when we're walking and when we're sitting. Yes it is for sure. Your brain started developing ideas. I'm a runner and I'm going to tell him my experiments is when I have big problems to solve. Usually I used to have a lot of problems being a single mother and so I decided to run every time that do, you know, I came up with a big problem that I have to face. I will go out for a run one hour, come back, relax, and I will write down every idea, you know, that possibly came to my mind to solve that. Like you were saying, some have ideas or none and I mean, you know, I couldn't do it or I couldn't do them all, but one at least will work and it will give me their resource to phase it.

21:49                                     And to put it pretty soon we need to move our bodies bilateral stimulation. So another one is to get some distance from our problems. So see it from far away, literally physically leave it and get farther away. But some, even imagining the problem farther away they've shown can make a difference in coming up with a new creative solution. Similarly is starting over completely. So when we're stuck on something, sometimes we need to take everything we've written or everything we've produced so far. Take it off the table and start from scratch again. You know that that's something you have to be surrounded by a good place, good mood. Uh, you have to disconnect yourself from all negativity and you have to place yourself in a happy place before you even start creating an idea. Because if you're not in that mood, you going to be confused and you're going to be trying to solve whatever negativity you have in your mind or in your surroundings.

22:42                                     And you can not come up with, you know, your creation, your originality or adaptation of whatever you have in. So one of the other practical things, just to make sure we're in an atmosphere, we know we need to solve a problem. We need to maybe go in a room that doesn't have a lot of clutter books pile or things that make us distracted, but where we can, or a room that has inspirational things on the wall or around us. So finding the atmosphere outside. You know, I met this young girl, she lost her father while she was in college and it's some somebody that is very close to me and she, she used to call me and said, you know, I'm writing quotes on Siki notes and I have my desks. She sent me a picture. She, she has her, she's an architect, so she had her desk on her wall in the front.

23:25                                     She had a lot of sticky notes with quotes and Bible verses and that things, not only Bible verses had quotes to encourage yourself to finish this and her friends used to come and see there and read them and said, do you know why? That's why you continue doing this? Because yeah, they have to encourage myself like I like the, like Sam says, you know, you have to encourage so you can continue producing and moving forward with creativity. One more practical thing is to to use art positive emotion. Now, we talked earlier about the importance of having positive emotions in order to be creative, but it is also true that our negative emotions can actually help us be creative if we, because what you're doing is you're taking that negative emotional and you're channeling that energy into a solution. Yeah. So when you're really upset, it may push you to a creative solution you would have never tried before.

24:15                                     It makes you break your fear and it makes you cross your boundaries, the ones that you have in place. So, and a moment of need, a moment of this patient anger makes you break your own boundaries and your own fear and makes you go farther and you do something. Yes. All right. We've got to wrap ourselves up here a little bit. So I just want to say, you know, this is one of that creativity is one of the character traits that we see in positive psychology. It leads to the development of the virtue of wisdom and it's something we all have and something we can develop. And in terms of positive psychology, the reason creativity is on that list as what makes life more worth living, which is what positive psychology is. Um, first of all, it, it expresses our authentic self. It gives us purpose and meaning because it's our true self.

25:03                                     Our creativity is really an expression of ourselves. It also gives us positive focus at at harnesses our energy into solutions. Creativity gives us flow when we are actually working in our giftedness to solve problems. We get in this zone where your time is lost. You don't even know where you are. You just like in a zone because you're putting the challenges matched to your giftedness. Creativity also builds confidence because when we succeed we get more confidence. So that part of wellness, it gives us joy. The product itself can give us joy, especially if if our joy was brought to others. And lastly, it makes us satisfied. We, because we are in our gift in this because we are in the image of God and we have pride in our work. We've created beauty. It's a very satisfying character. Yay. Already this will feeling to see your idea.

25:55                                     You know, build up and serving others and serving yourself. You feel pleasured to it and I think it's the same way that. Got it. I go back to that, that he at the end of each day said, you know, it is good. It is good, it is good. And on that note, it is good to be creative and let's do that. I hope you've enjoyed the show. If you missed the beginning of it, you can find us in your favorite podcast station wellspring on the air, and this is Tova and Loraina with wellspring on the air because hearts and minds matter

Alexandra Delgado