Everyone has an imagination, developed or not. Everyone is capable of being creative. Everyone.

Creative energy is associated with words like these:

  • Artistry,
  • Imagination,
  • Ingenuity,
  • Innovation
  • Inspiration,
  • Intuition
  • Invention,
  • Originality,
  • Resourcefulness.

Today, mere survival, though essential, is not enough!

Psychologically, the ability to be creative is essential to us. Consider a broad dimension of everyday life that everyone experiences, our daily emphasis on self-protection and growth. Or in other words, contracting and expanding. We can be as creative in self-protection (contraction) as in growth (expansion).

The very cells of our bodies know when protection becomes our mind’s focus. Rather than remaining open and securely expanding, those intelligent cell membranes close and contract in order to protect themselves from the mind’s perceived threat. (Dr Bruce Lipton)

Even for the trillions of cells that make up our intelligent body, it is a bipolar decision: either protection or growth. By analogy, our creative energies can be focused either on protecting ourselves (vulnerability, defending), or on expanding (growing, flourishing). Our choice.

We have learned that a sense of survival is required before growing can be undertaken (see Maslow’s hierarchy of needs). But even though our survival is necessary it is not sufficient for growth and expansion. We must be able to confidently focus on expanding/flourishing rather than on protection/vulnerability. Where is your focus?

We must intend to create, or we just survive. Intention makes a major difference in our all-important perspective. Vulnerability is a victim’s perspective (accepting the way things are, rather than creating their own preference). Focusing on flourishing eliminates victim mentality.

The characteristics of flourishing tend to be innovative, non-repetitive, highly flexible, and dynamically stable. Research suggests that fewer than 20% of USA adults flourish (where flourishing is associated with attitudes that are open and invite all possibilities, rather than the rigidity of limits (derived from fear).

What distinguishes flourishing individuals from vulnerable individuals? Flourishing individuals maintain positive attitudes (feeling upbeat, grateful, appreciative, liking). Vulnerable individuals maintain negative attitudes (feeling hypercritical, irritable, condescending, disliking).

Positivity of attitude widens our scope of attention (perspective), broadens behavioral repertoires, increases intuition, increases creative performance. The texture of a person’s feelings can be represented by a positivity ratio, the ratio of pleasant to unpleasant sentiments. A positivity emphasis equips us with an adaptive bias to approach and explore novel objects, people or situations. This emphasis must be appropriate and genuine, and meaningfully grounded in the reality of current circumstances.

To overcome the ever-present toxicity effect of a stronger negativity emphasis on fearful restrictions, positive sentiments must outnumber the negative by many times the number of negative effects. The dividing line between flourishing and vulnerability is a multiple of the negatives, because the impact of negative feelings is stronger.

Positivity broadens thought-action styles (expansion) like adaptation flexibility, while negativity narrows these same styles (contraction). It can be said that considering all possibilities underlies the link between positivity and flourishing.