Recently I was reading an article in Psychology Today by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi about the paradoxical characteristics of creative people. I actually haven't made it past the first one because it set me thinking. Here's the first characteristic:
"This (that creative people have a lot of energy) does not mean that creative people are hyperactive, always "on." In fact, they rest often and sleep a lot. The important thing is that they control their energy; it's not ruled by the calendar, the dock, an external schedule. When necessary, they can focus it like a laser beam; when not, creative types immediately recharge their batteries. They consider the rhythm of activity followed by idleness or reflection very important for the success of their work. This is not a
bio-rhythm inherited with their genes; it was learned by trial and error as a strategy for achieving their goals."
I was so taken aback by the world 'control.' From my personal experience and observations, I would agree that creative people have a lot of energy and that energy intensifies when the creative juices are stirred. The image I have is that we all have a light shining inside ourselves and the more open we are, the brighter that light can shine. When we are engaged in creativity, that light is beaming out of us and into our project.
My sense is that yes, we are able to focus that light, that energy, like a laser beam but that isn't about control, it's about desire. We want to be expressing, exploring, creating and so that focus develops.
What I've seen in the people I work with and in my own life is that the key is actually about riding our energetic waves, learning our own rhythms and working with them. Perhaps what he means is more about being in control of our process rather than our energy. I definitely find I need to be in charge of following my own energy as opposed to being hemmed in by the structure of an 8-4 work day.
What do you think? As a creative person, do you control your energy? How does being in charge of your own schedule impact your creativity?