A friend of mine is going through some adversity at the moment. When we met for coffee, I did my best to cheer her up. Trouble, I reminded her, can be the source of insight. As she’s a writer, I pretended my remark would bring a smile to her lips. An artist is supposed to suffer, right?
I didn’t pin much hope on my strategy. But, according to science, when it comes to the good effect of hard times, what I said was true. For many, adversity does offer enlightenment though to gain from it, a person must be willing to explore his or her “inner landscape of emotions, ideas, daydreams and fantasies.” (“From Contretemps to Creativity,” by Scott Barry Kaufman,” Scientific American Mind, March/April 2014 pg. 30)
Why is tragedy deemed to be instructive? Because it shatters our previous assumptions about the world and forces us to reexamine it and ourselves. (Ibid) pg. 31) Robbed of what we think we know, our brains must reconstruct new realities based upon new information. This shattering and reframing is the source of creativity. (See Blog 4/1/14)
Of course, good experiences have the same capability. Winning a lottery, if the prize in large enough, requires an individual to reevaluate what’s possible in his or her life. I admit, I’d prefer to win the lottery than suffer death in Venice, but whether the experience is good or bad isn’t the point. What’s key to surviving life’s vicissitudes is how we react to the new reality.
Armed with this information, I’ve decided how I’m going to face the next vicissitude in my life. I’ll pack a bag and head for Cannes, a sunny beach where the wealthy like to play. I can’t imagine a better place to reconstruct my life.
(Courtesy of gonzopublicrelations.blogspot.com)