Using Adversity to Fuel Your Creative Drive

Behind so many great artists and revolutionaries that changed some aspect of the world, or the way we look at it, there is often a point of adversity that they needed to overcome. Indeed, when it comes to looking at the most successful creatives who have defined culture throughout history, a fair dose of adversity (and even tragedy) almost seems like a prerequisite. While this doesn’t mean that you should go out and seek hard-times to fuel your creative juices, it does lead to a broader point about how adversity that you encounter in your life (as we all do) should be treated not like a weight, but as the very spark that launches you forward in creative endeavors.

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Traumatic events links to “orphanhood effect”

Traumatic events that cause a person’s entire life to suddenly change, as though through some seismic shift, have often been one of the core motivators of many revolutionary writers throughout history. In fact, this is such a common occurrence that historians have a name for it: the orphanhood effect. The orphanhood effect posits that traumatic events that happen early in life cause a person to experience a much different social upbringing than other people (not necessarily through orphanhood), which allows them to look past social conventions to create work that they might not otherwise be able to.

Mental disorders can link to higher creativity

Today, over 350 million people around the planet suffer from depression, and even more suffer from things like generalized anxiety disorder or bipolar disorder. Indeed, depression and similar disorders are the leading cause of illness on the planet, today. However, one slight positive that might come out of this for some people is the fact that there is a link between higher creativity and people who suffer from mental disorders. One posited theory for this is that creative ventures serve as a therapeutic basis for healing for people who suffer from emotional pain. On top of that, people who have emotionally affecting disorders have been shown to be more likely to pursue creative career paths.

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Physical barriers changes people’s outlooks

Whether it be due to a physical disability or a particular disease, people who suffer from a physical ailment that greatly impacts their life are shown to develop a different mindset into how the world works. For many of the greatest artists throughout history, such as Monet and Botticelli, their greatest period of work came after they had been diagnosed with a physical illness that literally left them bedridden. Indeed, studies have shown that many artists report having a renewal of creative ideas after experiencing a physical ailment.

Adversity can be a drive for success

Even if you aren’t doing fine art, or something that is supposed to change the cultural foundation of how we look at art, or music, or writing, you can still use the adversities in your life to help you succeed in creative fields. One continuous thing that adversity teaches people is how to have empathy, which is the most important ingredient in almost any artform. Even if you are working in a more corporate setting, where you must design a brilliant logo or billboard that reaches people, being able to connect with how people think is one of the most important tools to have.

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Creatives tend to engage in riskier behavior

Another reason that so many successful creatives tend to suffer from a great amount of adversity has to do with the chemistry of the brain itself. Studies have shown that individuals who are more creative, or have more traits that benefit creativity, are also more likely to engage in risky behavior that could endanger them or their health. One particular example of this is that creative individuals are at a much higher risk of being addicts.

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