Friday, January 29, 2010

Post-Divorce Creativity

So you’re going post-divorce unconventional. Now you have to figure out what, exactly, you’re going to do next. At this point, creativity is a useful construct. Csikszentmihalyi, in his book on the creative process, talks about these five tasks:

Preparation. Here one is consumed with a problem that is at once interesting and exciting. Clearly, the recovery from the loss of one’s marriage and former way of life is likely to consume us. Finding the interesting, exciting aspects is often a bit of a challenge. But really, if your own life’s progression isn’t interesting and exciting, what is? Equally clear to most is the fact that we cannot continue with our former plans and strategies in this new situation. There’s a conflict between what we’ve been doing and what must be done now. So herein lies the interesting, complex and exciting opportunity.

Incubation. This is the time where ideas are growing and changing and morphing into something you actually want to consider acting on at some point. Key here, for the divorce process, is the notion of at some point. People are always asking me how long things will take, whether it’s recovery from divorce, loss of a loved one, no longer feeling an urge to overeat after a successful diet, no longer wishing to smoke after quitting, etc. While I’d love to be able to consult my crystal ball, I’ve apparently misplaced it. Change takes a while to incubate. Just like the chick in the egg, it’ll come out when it’s ready.

Insight. Ah ha. Things come together and it all makes sense. This (fill in the blank) is what I want to do next!

Evaluation. Despite one’s initial ah ha, sometimes, after sitting a bit with the insight, we realize it’s not all that fantastic after all. It’s not necessarily back to the drawing board, but perhaps a tweak or reconsideration of another idea that had been incubating alongside this one might be useful. Not all chicks are created equal.

Elaboration. So you want to be a life coach (one of my post-divorce enterprises), great! How’s that gonna work along with everything else going on? Can I afford the time and money? Will it be worthwhile in the end? What’s it going to take? These are all questions worth considering, as is the case with most new enterprises. The elaboration period involves determining if the insight which you’ve just evaluated to be worth pursuing is really something you think you can see to fruition. Let me emphasize think you can. Anything new is going to have its risks and benefits.

If change was a no-brainer that would be easy. But you’ll have to do some serious thinking, considering, weighing options and then take a risk or two. And once your chick is hatched, you’ll have to let it venture out into the world.

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