Personality, Skills and Creative Self-Expression

Posted on 2018-11-05 By Joanna


An excerpt from “The Secrets of Creativity”

I must emphasize again, and I will keep doing it until you are completely tired of it, that the skills and abilities derived from your personality traits are not set in stone. Most likely, neither all your personality traits are, although some of them might seem rather permanent. We learn new skills and we improve on the existing ones with time and experience. The whole point, however, is that it is much quicker and possibly easier to improve and develop what we already have, rather than starting from the scratch. On the other hand, it really is up to each individual, their preferences, likes and dislikes, goals. Whatever our attitude to this development and utilization of our personality traits is, our skills and abilities which are in a big part dependent on our traits, are our primary means of self-expression.

Our primary skills are then developed into skills proper. For instance, the ability to withstand stress and pressure, derived from the personality trait related to resilience, can make someone an excellent manager. Or, the combination of sensitivity and great focus can make someone a very good painter. Such combinations are endless. However, the ability to work independently will not automatically make someone a successful business owner, as there are million different skills to be learned if we want to move from the point A to the point B.

Our skills proper, as I'd like to call them, are our physical, concrete or material means of self-expression. These skills help us to actualize our ideas, to materialize them in the world (e.g. painting, writing, speaking, playing musical instrument, etc.). Without them, we wouldn't be able to convey our ideas to the world and we would be stuck with our creative energy floating in our mind in forms of ideas, feelings, images or visions. The creative energy needs definition, shape and form if we want to express it. Perhaps that's why we commonly associate self-expression with expressing one's personality – since first, there are our personality traits which then give rise to our primary skills, and only then our primary skills enable us to gain our skills proper which enable us to express our personality and get our creative energy from the point A (our mind, the unconscious, personality, etc.), to the point B (the world itself or the society etc.).

The successful creative self-expression will at large depend on how much in sync our personality, primary skills and skills proper are. In other words, if our natural tendency is to be in a centre of attention by e.g. singing in a band, but we force ourselves to develop skills of being an accountant, we will be pulled in two opposite directions and therefore, nothing will get properly expressed. Such a waste of creativity.

Of course, our natural inclinations, or what might seem as natural, might not always seem beneficial. It is, therefore, important to be completely honest with ourselves and get to the root of ourselves. For instance, it might seem natural for me to shy away from challenges, but after removing all the bullshit and self-doubt, I might find that my natural tendency is to seek risk. Regardless, putting aside what our natural tendencies might or might not be, it is also important to develop our skills proper which will enable our creative energy to manifest itself in the world through our self-expressive means. In order to determine our mediums for creativity, one needs to consider: our personality, tendencies and preferences; our current skills, what makes us 'tick', what makes our life worth living, and what simply enables us to enjoy ourselves. The answer to these questions might not become apparent until we experiment and try various activities.

The whole point is to find the activity (medium) that will enable us to properly express whatever we want to express. It might not be enough to just pick up some random activity simply because it might not be suitable. For example, someone might have invested a lot of time and energy into learning how to write creatively, only to feel frustrated at not getting their point across. After experimentation, they might realize that the actual mediums enabling them to express themselves is music. If you are not comfortable with what you are currently doing, there is always time for making changes and learning something new. In fact, having a few mediums for self-expression rather than just one, might provide us with a bigger chance of getting our point across.

The simplest way to determine our mediums is to try new activities and notice whether we simply enjoy performing them or not. Life is not about forcing ourselves to do something we don't want to do. Some people might enforce upon you the idea that life is difficult, requires lots of effort and is only filled with suffering, but that is not true at all once you find your own edge. Life is quite easy once we stop fighting it. Similarly, learning a new skill and then playing with it is equally easy, as long as it's something you want to do. Surely, learning often requires our effort and perseverance, sometimes even pushing ourselves to our limits. And so, our creative process might appear to be costing us a lot of energy and determination. However, if it's something that you truly want to do, wouldn't your effort, often experienced as dread or even pain, turn into pure enjoyment?

On a more 'global' level, approaching various life events outside of our creative activities will bring us the same rewards – enjoyment, sense of purpose and meaning, perhaps a sense of belonging, and what else. Now, don't get me wrong. Putting effort and perseverance is right and beneficial. We often need a kick in order to start or complete something. But it doesn't mean that our whole life must feel this way. Don't resist your passions or natural inclinations and they will lead you into a beautiful place of fulfilment and purpose.

An excerpt from “The Secrets of Creativity”

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