Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Fueling our middle-aged man creativity

Forbes, Times, and many other media sources recently reported about new research suggesting - in a nutshell – how there’s evidence that people who score higher on measures of neuroticism also score higher in creativity.

Before I go any further with my two cents on this, some working definitions of both, for both your and my benefit, would be helpful.

One definition I found for neuroticism is the following:

“Neuroticism is a long-term tendency to be in a negative emotional state. People with neuroticism tend to have more depressed moods - they suffer from feelings of guilt, envy, anger and anxiety, more frequently and more severely than other individuals. Neuroticism is the state of being neurotic.”

Here’s one I found for creativity:

“Creativity is defined as the tendency to generate or recognize ideas, alternatives, or possibilities that may be useful in solving problems, communicating with others, and entertaining ourselves and others.

The Forbes article I read began by stating how some of the great thinkers of past and present – Isaac Newton, Michelangelo, Woody Allen – have also been the most neurotic.

In my quick skim of the full text of this research study, researchers offer an explanation of the neuroticism/creativity link that people who are neurotic are more creative because they tend to dwell on problems to a greater degree than others.

This is important, they say, because a key feature of creative thought is the ability to generate solutions to problems in a non-traditional way.  Researchers give examples of the brooding, tortured, genius and depressive states of mind that facilitate analysis of complex problems.

Here’s website link to both a summary and full text of this research if you’d like to read more:

What does this mean for all the middle-aged men of the world?

Well we pride ourselves as having much sage wisdom from the roads traveled in the long lives we’ve lived and, more often than not, we point to our creativity for the great things we say and do.

So now we know that a morning cup of neuroticism will go a long way in fueling our middle-aged man creativity.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

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