Two Roads

I’m on a long, and winding road.

And, I’m afraid it’s not entirely pleasant. In fact, sometimes it’s down right frustratingly long and winding. I chide myself for taking the road at all, less traveled or otherwise.

Really, I have only myself to blame.

Well, partly.

It comes down to passion. Passion in a sense of being in love with what drives you. In the field of creativity there are two kinds of passions, as highlighted by Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire in their book Wired to Create. 

A quick summary of the book: It’s an examination of the messy, often chaotic, often contradictory mind of a creative person. The book doesn’t offer much new to feast on here — creativity is borne of imaginative play, solitude, sensitivity and the ability to think differently. Well, duh. What sets this book apart from others of this very same topic is that it tries hard to infuse its narrative with the latest in social and cognitive sciences. So, while the chapter headings and major aspects of the creative mind are time-worn, contemporary research helps matters immensely.

Okay back to passion, mentioned earlier.

In 2015, psychologist Robert Vallerand and his team of researchers parsed a creative passion into distinct harmonious and obsessive kinds.

Harmoniously passionate creatives “feel in control of their passions.”

Obsessively passionate creatives “tend to feel as though they are not in control of their passions.”

Being harmonious, here, means not following your passions, but rather you are “one with” your passions. It’s a connection to an authentic self. It’s part of who you are.

The obsessive are not in it for the love of it, but rather a great sense of anxiety and pressure overwhelms and dictates; the obsessive are motivated by external rewards, not their inner joy.

Sadly, I came the realization earlier this year I have, for some time, been mired in the obsessive category. There are numerous reasons why, and that’s not for me to say now. What I can say is that I realized this, and I am taking steps to remedy it, to renew my love of writing.

The harmoniously passionate road — is the most direct path. …in contrast, the obsessively passionate road — is far more winding.

The authors, Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire, detail research into the nature of creativity and also provide tips to fuel the process.

Source: Review: ‘Wired to Create’ Shows the Science of a Messy Process – The New York Times