Thoughts on Creative Thinking

Square pegs in round holes

I don’t know who decided that all the holes should be round or that the ones that didn’t fit in to them are square but the metaphor is apt to the feeling one encounters as a creative thinker.

For anyone that thinks creatively – fitting in can be a problem. The creative thinkers – the artists, the writers, the inventors and some entrepreneurs actually function at a higher level if they follow their personal inclinations and instincts. Yet as humans the tendency is to want to fit into the pack.

It isn’t just that their thinking sets them apart but also because the large chunks of time that they devote to their own projects can literally keep them out of circulation. Creative minds tend to be highly focused autonomous thinkers.

When they resurface happy and satisfied at the end of a project it may very well be to find there is no one waiting to greet them.  Slotting back into society can be difficult.

Some never bother and simply take up the reins to the next project.

Some worry and become depressed.

Some begin to doubt not just their own abilities but themselves.

I have a friend who is one of the most wonderful artists I know. She should be amazingly successful. Yet she isn’t and doesn’t and suffers greatly from self doubt.

I know another who seems to produce nothing in the way of extra ordinary yet because of her marketing skills and self belief is highly successful.
Creative thinkers are their own worst enemies at times. I know I am. As I spoke about in yesterdays post self judgement is a difficult thing to overcome and it is an absolute stop light on workflow to the artistic mind.

We only have our own talents to believe in. Self belief is tenuous,  fragile and just like the fairies (in Peter Pan) as soon as you utter the words “I don’t believe” it has disastrous consequences to the flow (and fairies!).

I remember reading a book by Wayne Dwyer years ago entitled “You will see it when you believe it” which of course is the opposite of the old saying “You will believe it when you see it”. It was a good reminder (which I subsequently forgot a day or so  after reading it) that we will receive nothing if we don’t believe in ourselves.

In the case of my two artistic friends. One believes the other doesn’t. That is the only difference I can see – oh and hard work and great marketing skills – obviously.

It is not always easy to believe in ourselves but there is a way out. You don’t have to believe in yourself – in fact you shouldn’t – self belief can often strengthen the ego which of course is prone to failure.

You have to believe in something higher. Anyone who has ever enjoyed being in the “zone” the “creative flow” or whatever else you want to call it knows it is not them  ie Kate’s talent or Mark’s talent but rather the Universe/God/Spirit/ (add whatever you believe in) working through them.

So believe in that very real source instead of your own self belief. And keep believing.

To lack faith in yourself is to strengthen the ego.

Don’t strengthen your ego – strengthen your connection to the True Source. The True Source is always present, always available and all you have to do is plug in and believe.

Don’t try and fit in. And we are back to square pegs again.

Follow your nose and instincts – if that means standing out then wonderful – that is your point of difference. Marketing is big on “point of difference” it is your selling point – be different be the most different you can be by all means. But be yourself. Which runs counter intuitively to what the natural human inclination tends to be in striving to fit in.

In Japan there is a saying “The nail that sticks out must be hammered down hard”. Yet even the Japanese these days have seen the need for change and are instead promoting and supporting individual creativity in early learning so that (hopefully) children develop naturally into autonomous thinkers which can benefit their country in unique ways and be successful in their own right.

And everyone wants to be successful – so much so that we suffer dreadfully when after all the hard work and self belief it doesn’t seem to appear.

Yet success is a funny thing – it changes shape and looks differently according to the individual.

Success is certainly not always what it appears to the outsider.

This blog for instance. I am not overwhelmed in likes and visitors every day however for me that is not what this blog is about. This blog is a success to me. I show up every day and write – whether it is poetry or a photography story or some piece of personal philosophy that I share such as this.

Consistency is success for me and it is something that I have lacked for a long time.

Normally I would find it hard to commit and stay consistent on a project for this long. I am very much a cycle or phase driven personality.

This blog is my daily success story because I have to show up and be consistent whether the post the day before got 20 likes or 2 –  I still have to show up and write and it is the same with the Instagram and Twitter accounts which support this blog.

It isn’t about the likes – it is about consistently showing up and learning to believe in and love your own process. In this way I am training my brain to be disciplined and focused – to write what I feel to compelled to write regardless of the audience feedback.

Inspiration is only a tiny part  of being a writer (or anything really)  being consistent and showing up entails the larger portion of the journey to success – as any motivational tome informs us.


Success is different things to different people – don’t let others be the judge of yours and perhaps don’t even let yourself be – don’t judge – just do and see what happens.

Don’t strengthen the ego – strengthen your connection to the source of all inspiration instead.

Being different is your gift not your curse

Work hard, even after inspiration fades – because consistency is the greater part of success.

Don’t kill fairies (or your own creativity) by whispering “I don’t believe”

Always believe!

2 thoughts on “Thoughts on Creative Thinking

  1. I love this! You hooked me with who decided that the norm is the round holes and the square pegs are the ones that don’t fit. Who did decide that? Be ourselves……great post.

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