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The Dichotomy About Creativity: Things No One Tells You

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Creativity is a wonderful, complex thing. It drives innovation and problem-solving. However, creativity is not without its contradictions. Often, the creative process can be tiresome, distracting, and messy, leading to frustration and challenges. On the other hand, creativity also possesses the power to energize, build traction, and bring clarity. In this blog post, we will explore the dualistic nature of creativity and how embracing both its chaotic and inspiring aspects can lead to groundbreaking results.

The Bad:

Creativity is Tiresome & Distracting

  • Creative Fatigue: The process of generating ideas and translating them into reality can be mentally taxing. Creative people often encounter blocks, requiring them to persistently dig deeper to find inspiration.
  • Time-Consuming: Engaging in creativity might demand long hours, leading to exhaustion as individuals strive for perfection in their work.
  • Distractions Abound: Creativity often leads to divergent thinking, which may result in a constant influx of new ideas, diverting focus from the original task. Personally, I’ve looked up many a time realizing I’ve started four new projects in the midst of trying to accomplish something.

Creativity is Messy

The creative journey involves experimentation, meaning a plethora of ideas may not materialize as expected, adding to the messiness of the process. Creativity thrives on breaking norms and pushing boundaries, making the outcome uncertain, and contributing to the chaotic nature of the journey. There’s a reason for the stereotypical emotional creative; openness to experience has been correlated to neuroticism(sensitivity to negative emotion). Artists and innovators often grapple with inner conflicts and emotional highs and lows during their creative pursuit.

The Good:

Creativity Energizes

Creative endeavors are typically driven by passion, making it easier to overcome challenges and stay motivated. When creativity flows effortlessly, individuals experience a state of heightened focus, productivity, and enjoyment, making it an incredibly energizing experience, researchers call this ‘flow state’. Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi wrote a book on using this experience: Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience:

“We have called this state the flow experience, because this is the term many of the people we interviewed has used in the descriptions of how it felt to be in top form… It is the opposite of psychic entropy-in fact, it is sometimes called negentropy- and those who attain it develop a stronger, more confident self.”

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

Successfully bringing a creative vision to life can provide an unparalleled sense of fulfillment and joy.

Creativity Gives Traction

Creativity encourages continuous learning and growth as individuals seek novel solutions and techniques to achieve their goals. Creatives often collaborate, exchange ideas, and build connections with like-minded individuals, expanding their reach and influence. Accomplishments and recognition in creative fields can motivate individuals to further improve and innovate. I know in my life, I’ve gained traction in other areas simply after creating something, be it writing, painting, or designing a small vignette in my home.

Creativity Clears

Creativity serves as an outlet for emotional release, allowing individuals to process their feelings and experiences through their art or work. I had a professor that used to say the act of creativity is the act of catharsis.

Creative endeavors often involve finding solutions to complex problems, bringing clarity to intricate issues. Engaging in creative pursuits can provide individuals with a clear sense of purpose and direction in life.


Creativity, with all its paradoxical qualities, remains an essential part of human progress and expression. While it can be tiresome, distracting, and messy, embracing these aspects can lead to unparalleled growth and innovation. Furthermore, its power to energize, build traction, and bring clarity should not be underestimated. As we navigate the world of creativity, let us remember that it is in embracing the chaos, that we can attempt to create order in its midst. Thanks for reading.

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