Notes from The Creative Brain

Key to Creative Living: Reclaiming our passion

A major key - perhaps the key - to living creatively is passion. By passion I mean a highly compelling, energetic attention to something. Turned-on people of all kinds are passionate. So are people who've just fallen in love. So are collectors, sports nuts, horse-crazy kids, boys who've just discovered baseball cards or video games, computer hackers.

Little children are passionate about almost everything they see. Their passion embraces life itself with all its experiences of seeing, feeling, smelling, hearing and tasting. Children resensitise us repeatedly to the wonder of the world around us.

The natural passion for life in all its unexpectedness that characterises children also features strongly in the personalities of people who have chosen to retain or reclaim their own creativity. They are constantly exercising their curiosity, trying new things, and delighting in the experiment for its own sake - even if the results themselves don't please. They are open to the moment for whatever it may bring. They approach life with expectancy, enthusiasm and energy.

How do we reclaim our passion if it has been allowed to dim in our lives? One way - an important way - is to increase the amount of genuine pleasure we allow into our lives. There are many things that make life more pleasurable - listening to good music, exercising, eating what nourishes your body - but I want to concentrate on four things:

  1. We can learn - or re-learn from children.

  2. We can affirm ourselves and others, and accept affirmation.

  3. We can take stock of our lives - ask if the way we are living truly satisfies us, and if not, what must be changed so it does.

  4. We can provide ourselves with proof that reclaiming our passion is worthwhile and possible.

Children are our best teachers

Children have a lot of special talents to offer. Their pursuit of novelty and wonder is both a cause and an effect - a gift of the life fully lived and one of the things that makes life worth living. Anyone who knows children can tell you that they do the following:

Creative space for the child

Nurturing and encouraging the child within. We should help children maximise the number of mental options they have for responding to a given set of circumstances as well as allowing them to follow their natural inclinations toward dominance in one or more quadrants.

Instead of the three R's, look at the four P's:

  1. Permission
  2. Praise
  3. Play
  4. Personal uniqueness


Includes free rein to do mainly what comes naturally. You can try it all, follow your own favourite way, and take your time.


Permission and praise are very closely linked.


Play is the essential business of children. It's the means by which they learn how to live in their world. It's also a lifelong source of joy. Much of the unhappiness and lack of imagination people experience in their lives springs from having forgotten how to play. Spend time playing with your children - they need as much quality time as your partner.

Personal Uniqueness

Children don't have to do what their parents did, or to follow their parent's dreams. Respect the dreams and goals of your children.

"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist after he grows up". Picasso

"Man's most serious activity is play". George Santayana.

Last updated: 5th October 1996