Becoming a Life Change: Artist: 7 Creative Skills That Can Transform Your Life
Reviewed By: Anne Holmes
In this book, the authors address seven key competencies which they\’ve identified as being shared by the most creative minds in history, including legendary artists like Leonardo da Vinci, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Andrew Wyeth and Paul Cezanne.
After conducting years of extensive research on the creative processes of artists, the authors, personal development coaches Fred Mandell and Kathleen Jordan came to a surprising conclusion: the creative methods painters use to create their masterpieces are the very same processes ordinary, everyday people need to use to make successful shifts in their personal lives.
It\’s unlikely that too many of us have thought of ourselves as having the creative genius of these fabled artists, yet the authors make a strong case for their contention that the seven skills they\’ve identified as being present in each of these artists are the same skills or processes that ordinary everyday people need to call upon in order to make successful changes in their own lives.
As a result of their observations, Mandell and Jordan began conducting workshops nationwide, using their research to help ordinary people make successful shifts in their lives.
And now they have turned their training into this book, which is complete with self-assessment quizzes and exercises you can do to help you identify and maximize your strengths and build the skills you will need to navigate life change.
What are these skills that will also allow you to achieve your goals? Mandell and Jordan say they are:
- Preparation – deliberately engaging in activities that help break us from our usual patterns of thought and feeling and prepare us for creative insight
- Seeing – having the ability to discern new connections, gain fresh perspective, and stay alive to new possibilities
- Using context – understanding how the varied environments in which we work and live influence our thoughts and behaviors and using that knowledge to make changes in our lives
- Embracing Uncertainty – acting on the opportunities, sometimes hidden, presented by change and uncertainty
- Taking Risks – acting without certainly of outcome
- Collaborating – joining talents, efforts and ideas with others
- Applying Discipline – acting consistently whether or not one feels motivated
As Mandell and Jordan note toward the end of the book: “Ultimately, the great masters and the life change artists who inhabit these pages are not only artists – they are consummate teachers. From them we have learned that the basic questions never go away:
- Why am I here?
- How can I be authentic?
- How do I live my passion?
- How do I best express what is inside me?…
According to the authors, the artists teach us that the way of the change artist begins with a commitment not to settle of “good enough,” but to push on toward powerful new possibilities, despite the inherent risks of failure, doubt and frustration, with the goal of staying true to your purpose. It takes courage to begin, they say, but “the way is open to all of us and the journey is ours to take.”
I found the material in the appendices especially useful, especially the Creativity Calculator and the list of preparation activities which make us physiologically receptive to creative insights. These triggers rang true to me, especially the water-related and athletic triggers, which have previously worked well for me.