I have no idea how creativity works, but I’m glad it does. This morning, I got triggered by the onslaught of daily challenges on Instagram. The grumpy contrarian in me was ready to do a complete takedown rant on how challenges are a waste of time: “Creativity is not just exercise! It’s nutrition! It’s fitness! It’s everything!” Drink your coffee and calm down. But as I explored these thoughts further, I started thinking about the different parts of my creative self and how they work together and against each other to get my work to work. Deep within the interaction of these different parts of ourselves lies the paradox at the core of creativity, the magic, the fun. Let’s enter it, shall we?

The Parts of My Paradoxical Self

  1. Grumpy Contrarian
  2. Curious Explorer
  3. Hopeful Encourager
  4. Daydream Believer
  5. Iterative Ideator

GRUMPY CONTRARIAN: This is the part of me that reacts and responds to inputs that annoy or frustrate me. It could be a tweet, book, film, song, but generally, it’s a sentence or even a meme. It’s short, and usually leads to some form of rant. The grumpy contrarian has been more dominant recently, as I have not been as focused on producing my own creative works. Interestingly enough, grumpy contrarian is a primary motivator for my own work, not my clients. There is a sense of hopelessness in the root of my emotional state when grumpy contrarian is out to play.

CURIOUS EXPLORER: This part of me loves to explore and wander all the nouns. I’ll wander the entire bookstore or library, waiting for the call of a new book. It’s new ideas, pursuits, projects. It is everything, and again, it is self-focused. But this one does tend to show up in my business more than grumpy contrarian. When curiosity drives the car, I’m more interactive, inquisitive, searching for the story. There is a sense of play and hopefulness in the root of my emotional state.

HOPEFUL ENCOURAGER: First, let me say, I lack self-compassion and firmly judge myself viciously. It’s something I’m working on daily. When it comes to everyone else though, I’m a hopeful encourager. I believe that we all have the capacity to fulfill our creative dreams. We have at our disposal everything we need, from equipment and collaborators to networks and platforms. Everything is possible, it’s just finding the way forward, which is also possible. At the root of my outward emotional state, it’s pretty obvious what it is: HOPE, possibilities, momentum, encouragement. Inwardly however, I do feel a sense of sorrow, “why can’t you believe this for yourself?”

DAYDREAM BELIEVER: I love to daydream and begin to explore new ideas in my mind. As I walk the dog in backyard waiting for him to do his business, I take a single idea and explore it. There is an excitement that builds in that moment, but it is usually transitory and temporary. Sometimes it’s enough to encourage actual work to commence, but other times, it’s just a moment, lost in the sea of many others. Emotionally, there is an excitement present, but generally, it’s more exploring the potential of an idea.

ITERATIVE IDEATOR: I love this part of my creative self and it is most evident in this show. The iterative ideator is about discovering a creative process that takes inputs and transforms them into outputs. Over and over again. There is so many learning opportunities that occur in the production of this weekly show. More than if I was doing something else. All emotions are present in this self. They could be boredom, excitement, dread. It all depends.

As you describe the different parts of yourself, take them time to also define what they mean and the emotions involved. It was surprisingly insightful for me.

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