The 10 Paradoxes of Creative People

Pre-eminent psychologist Mihaly Cziszentmihalyi writes about the ten paradoxes of creative people. Here’s an iq options abbreviated version:

1. Creative people have a great deal of physical energy, but they’re also often quiet and at rest. … One manifestation of energy is sexuality. Creative people are paradoxical in this respect also.

They seem to have quite a strong dose of eros, or generalized libidinal energy, which some express directly into sexuality. At the same time, a certain spartan celibacy is also a part of their makeup; continence tends to accompany superior achievement.

Without eros, it would be difficult to take life on with vigor; without restraint, the energy could easily dissipate.

2. Creative people tend to be smart yet naive at the same time. … Another way of expressing this dialectic is the contrasting poles of wisdom and childishness.

As Howard Gardner remarked in his study of the major creative geniuses of this century, a certain immaturity, both emotional and mental, can go hand in hand with deepest insights. Mozart comes immediately to mind.

3. Creative people combine playfulness and discipline, or responsibility and irresponsibility. …

Jacob Rabinow, an electrical engineer, uses an interesting mental technique to slow himself down when work on an invention requires more endurance than intuition:

“When I have a job that takes a lot of effort, slowly, I pretend I’m in jail. If I’m in jail, time is of no consequence. In other words, if it takes a week to cut this, it’ll take a week. What else have I got to do? I’m going to be here for twenty years.

See? This is a kind of mental trick. Otherwise you say, ‘My God, it’s not working,’ and then you make mistakes. My way, you say time is of absolutely no consequence.”

4. Creative people alternate between imagination and fantasy, and a rooted sense of reality.

5. Creative people tend to be both extroverted and introverted. …

In current psychological research, extroversion and introversion are considered the most stable personality traits … Creative individuals, on the other hand, seem to exhibit both traits simultaneously.

6. Creative people are humble and proud at the same time.

7. Creative people, to an extent, escape rigid gender role stereotyping.

8. Creative people are both rebellious and conservative. …

The artist Eva Zeisel, who says that the folk tradition in which she works is “her home,” nevertheless produces ceramics that were recognized by the Museum of Modern Art as masterpieces of contemporary design.

9. Most creative people are very passionate about their work, yet they can be extremely objective about it as well.

10. Creative people’s openness and sensitivity often exposes them to suffering and pain, yet also to a great deal of enjoyment. …

Deep interest and involvement in obscure subjects often goes unrewarded, or even brings on ridicule.

Divergent thinking is often perceived as deviant by the majority, and so the creative person may feel isolated and misunderstood.


From Creativity: The Work and Lives of 91 Eminent People, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, published by HarperCollins, 1996.

9 Small Ways to Feed Your Spirit

Most people I know want to have a stronger spiritual life. Physical therapy and treatment can help, but somehow it seems difficult to achieve, because there are so many things that distract us. Then you find yourself in the bathroom brushing your teeth, dead tired, and the thought flits through your mind, “drat, another day when I didn’t meditate”.

If we want to have a stronger spiritual life, we need to feed it. Makes sense, right? For many, 20-60 minute daily meditations just seems like preparing a huge feast. If that’s so difficult, why not start with a few easy snacks?

So here are 9 small ways to feed your spirit on a daily basis:

  • Pay attention to your breathing during one small daily activity – shaving, perhaps, or preparing your lunch
  • Make a mental or written list of three things for which you are grateful. If you can’t think of anything, start with the essentials – shoes, a roof over your head, living in a city with a low crime rate …
  • Think of someone who is not well and send her or him thoughts of happiness and well-being
  • Just for a minute or two, pay loving attention to a houseplant
  • Play with your pet, feeling the life force that connects you with him or her
  • Call a friend and tell a joke that you know will make her or him laugh
  • Write out a one-line prayer on a little piece of paper and stick it in your wallet
  • Send a quick email to someone, just telling them how much you appreciate them
  • Dedicate a little object to your spirit and carry it around with you wherever you go, knowing that every time you touch it, you connect with spirit.

What to do Next

The Next Steps
If all goes well during your intake evaluation, you’re ready to start with the therapy process. Set an appointment to begin therapy, and try to book a set of appointments. Because some physical therapists can be very busy, it is always recommended that you book in advance so you can be sure to meet your scheduled needs (weekly, biweekly, monthly).

Throughout this process, you’ll want to check in with your primary care provider. They should know all information regarding your treatment, your appointments, and your schedule of planned actions. From there, they may also be able to recommend supplemental assistance to help with your condition until the first signs of improvement are seen. If necessary, sign paperwork to have your physical therapy records sent to your doctor’s office so they have access to any and all information they need to ensure that your medical and overall health needs are being met.

Here’s a video that can help you understand more about the next steps with physical therapy

This concludes my series on how to find a physical therapist, and what to expect on your visits. I am telling you from experience, finding a good physical therapist and sticking with it, if you have pain, is one of the best decisions you’ll ever make.

It’s not an easy road, but it’s a very rewarding one. If you have any questions, send me an email and I will be happy to answer them.


Your First Physical Therapy Visit

Your First Visit Considerations

After finding a physical therapist that both takes your insurance, and is licensed, you’ll go in for an intake evaluation. This is a necessary step to choosing the right physical therapist because it gives you a chance to see what it will be like to work with this particular provider, as well as give you a chance to see what they will offer you.

This evaluation will begin with a sit-down between you and the physical therapy provider. During this sit-down the physical therapist will discuss the medical condition for which you sought care. They’ll want to look into the condition, as well as any potential issues that may arise through continued daily activities, as well as through therapy. Next, they’ll set up a plan of action and care. This plan should include details on your specific problem(s), the measures they’d like to use to address these methods, and an estimated length of time that treatment should take in order for results to be seen. If you don’t agree with, or don’t like something that is said or done during this initial evaluation, don’t feel like you need to go forward. You have the option to choose another physical therapist, so do so! Above all, you have to be comfortable with your physical therapist, the office they practice in, and their billing process. If you are unsure about any part of this process, discuss it with the physical therapist. It is also generally helpful to direct questions and uncertainties to your primary care providers because they are more objective, and they can tell you what is normal and what isn’t.

I cannot emphasize enough that if you’re not comfortable with the physical therapist, or any part of the process, move on and find a new provider. There are plenty of providers out there that will be a better match for you, so be sure that you take the time to find someone you truly feel comfortable with, trust, and would like to work with.

How to Find A Physical Therapist

This is a series of blog posts about finding a physical therapist. Stay tuned to this site for the next posts in this series

Choosing a Physical Therapist

Just because you were recommended to a physical therapist doesn’t mean that you don’t have a choice in which one you see. In fact, you should play a roll in choosing your physical therapist. After all, you’re the one that is going to have to work with them for an extended period of time. The real question here is, how to go about choosing a physical therapist. What should you look for? What is most important?

Primary Considerations

46 of the 50 states allow you direct access to a physical therapist. This means that you don’t necessarily have to go through a physician to get a referral to see one. While this is great, and it widens access to physical therapy, some insurance companies still insist on your visiting a physician to get confirmation of the necessity of the visit. Additionally, you’ll need to find a physical therapist that accepts your insurance, or that is among the “preferred” providers. Be sure to do a little research to find out what requirements your insurance has on physical therapy prior to delving into the actually physical therapy providers available in your area.

Physical Therapist Working with PatientOnce you’ve looked into your insurance requirements, the next step is to look into the physical therapists in your area. Make sure that your physical therapist of choice is licensed. If you’re seeking reduced cost care through a physical therapy assistant, or a physical therapist in-training, be sure that they are supervised by a licensed physical therapist. This is meant to protect your health and well-being, so don’t scrimp in this area!

It’s also beneficial to choose a physical therapist who specializes in your specific need. For example, if you’re seeking help for a running injury, seek a physical therapist who specializes in sports medicine. This will help them to best target your needs and address them. Read reviews on specific providers and find out what current and previous patients have to say. You want to see results, so be sure that others are mentioning positive experienced and resolved issues.