Research the path of someone in your area of Mastery.
Outline key learnings about their Mastery journey from your research into the
three “Keys to Mastery” steps of the creative task, the creative mind and the
creative breakthrough (Mastery, p. 175 – 201). (Pages below)
Provide a reflection on which of the “Emotional Pitfalls” (p. 202 – 204) your
Master may have faced.
Reflect upon which of the nine people profiled in the “Strategies for the Creative-
Active Phase” (p. 205 – 246) your Master’s journey is most closely related to.
APA formatting is required for this research paper. Use at least four research resources
(with at least two of the sources sourced through the Full Sail University library research
databases such as EBSCOhost and LexisNexis Academic)
Must read these pages first in order to complete assignment:
KEYS TO MASTERY
…Several things dovetailed in my mind, & at once it struck me, what quality went to form a Man of Achievement especially in Literature & which Shakespeare possessed so enormously—I mean Negative Capability, that is when man is capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact & reason….
If we think deeply about our childhood, not just about our memories of it but how it actually felt, we realize how differently we experienced the world back then. Our minds were completely open, and we entertained all kinds of surprising, original ideas. Things that we now take for granted, things as simple as the night sky or our reflection in a mirror, often caused us to wonder. Our heads teemed with questions about the world around us. Not yet having commanded language, we thought in ways that were preverbal—in images and sensations. When we attended the circus, a sporting event, or a movie, our eyes and ears took in the spectacle with utmost intensity. Colors seemed more vibrant and alive. We had a powerful desire to turn everything around us into a game, to play with circumstances.
Let us call this quality the Original Mind. This mind looked at the world more directly—not through words and received ideas. It was flexible and receptive to new information. Retaining a memory of this Original Mind, we cannot help but feel nostalgia for the intensity with which we used to experience the world. As the years pass, this intensity inevitably diminishes. We come to see the world through a screen of words and opinions; our prior experiences, layered over the present, color what we see. We no longer look at things as they are, noticing their details, or wonder why they exist. Our minds gradually tighten up. We become defensive about the world we now take for granted, and we become upset if our beliefs or assumptions are attacked.
We can call this way of thinking the Conventional Mind. Under pressure to make a living and conform to society, we force our minds into tighter and tighter grooves. We may seek to retain the spirit of childhood here and there, playing games or participating in forms of entertainment that release us from the Conventional Mind. Sometimes when we visit a different country where we cannot rely upon everything being familiar, we become childlike again, struck by the oddness and newness of what we are seeing. But because our minds are not completely engaged in these activities, because they last only a short while, they are not rewarding in a deep sense. They are not creative.
Masters and those who display a high level of creative energy are simply people who manage to retain a sizeable portion of their childhood spirit despite the pressures and demands of adulthood. This spirit manifests itself in their work and in their ways of thinking. Children are naturally creative. They actively transform everything around them, play with ideas and circumstances, and surprise us with the novel things they say or do. But the natural creativity of children is limited; it never leads to discoveries, inventions, or substantial works of art.
Masters not only retain the spirit of the Original Mind, but they add to it their years of apprenticeship and an ability to focus deeply on problems or ideas. This leads to high-level creativity. Although they have profound knowledge of a subject, their minds remain open to alternative ways of seeing and approaching problems. They are able to ask the kinds of simple questions that most people pass over, but they have the rigor and discipline to follow their investigations all the way to the end. They retain a childlike excitement about their field and a playful approach, all of which makes the hours of hard work alive and pleasurable. Like children, they are capable of thinking beyond words—visually, spatially, intuitively—and have greater access to preverbal and unconscious forms of mental activity, all of which can account for their surprising ideas and creations.
Some people maintain their childlike spirit and spontaneity, but their creative energy is dissipated in a thousand directions, and they never have the patience and discipline to endure an extended apprenticeship. Others have the discipline to accumulate vast amounts of knowledge and become experts in their field, but they have no flexibility of spirit, so their ideas never stray beyond the conventional and they never become truly creative. Masters manage to blend the two—discipline and a childlike spirit—together into what we shall call the Dimensional Mind. Such a mind is not constricted by limited experience or habits. It can branch out into all directions and make deep contact with reality. It can explore more dimensions of the world. The Conventional Mind is passive—it consumes information and regurgitates it in familiar forms. The Dimensional Mind is active, transforming everything it digests into something new and original, creating instead of consuming.
It is hard to say exactly why Masters are able to retain their childlike spirit while accumulating facts and knowledge, when such a feat has been difficult if not impossible for so many. Perhaps they found it harder to let go of childhood, or perhaps at some point they intuited the powers they could have by keeping their childhood spirit alive and bringing it to bear in their work. In any event, achieving the Dimensional Mind is never easy. Often, the childlike spirit of Masters lies dormant in the Apprenticeship Phase as they patiently absorb all of the details of their field. This spirit then comes back to them as they attain the freedom and opportunity to actively use the knowledge they have gained. Often it is a struggle, and Masters go through a crisis as they deal with the demands of others to conform and be more conventional. Under such pressure, they may try to repress their creative spirit, but often it comes back later with double intensity.
Understand: we all possess an inborn creative force that wants to become active. This is the gift of our Original Mind, which reveals such potential. The human mind is naturally creative, constantly looking to make associations and connections between things and ideas. It wants to explore, to discover new aspects of the world, and to invent. To express this creative force is our greatest desire, and the stifling of it the source of our misery. What kills the creative force is not age or a lack of talent, but our own spirit, our own attitude. We become too comfortable with the knowledge we have gained in our apprenticeships. We grow afraid of entertaining new ideas and the effort that this requires. To think more flexibly entails a risk—we could fail and be ridiculed. We prefer to live with familiar ideas and habits of thinking, but we pay a steep price for this: our minds go dead from the lack of challenge and novelty; we reach a limit in our field and lose control over our fate because we become replaceable.
What this means, however, is that we equally possess the potential to spark this innate creative force back to life, no matter how old we are. Experiencing a return of this creative force has an immensely therapeutic effect on our spirits and on our career. By understanding how the Dimensional Mind operates and what helps it flourish, we can consciously revive our mental elasticity and reverse the deadening process. The powers that the Dimensional Mind
Greene, Robert. Mastery. Penguin Books, 11/2012. VitalBook file.