August 14, 2022

The Legend Of The Absent-minded Creative

A creative's superpower is their ability to daydream. Unfortunately, that's also their life's bane. It’s one of those lazy rainy

A creative's super-power is their ability to daydream. Unfortunately, that's also their life's bane.

It’s one of those lazy rainy days when I have to have a caffeine kick.

I place the giant mug of concoction into the microwave, and press the button. A mechanical whirring sound interrupts the silence...any minute now. My mind flies away, thinking about the book I'm working on. I forget to notice how long I’ve been idling.

A foul smell grips the room. I wake up from my daydream.

It's been way too late, the milk has spilt inside the microwave. I clean the insides and sheepishly make myself a new one. If you're a creative, this isn't the first time something like this has happened to you.

As an introverted creative, my mind is often elsewhere. And recent research suggests that might actually be a good thing.

Why Creatives Can Be So Absent-Minded

In case you're unaware, an introvert is someone who loves quiet, less stimulating environments. Many of these kinds tend to be deep thinkers & creatives, and feel at home in their inner worlds, daydreaming & reflecting.

A study found that introverts have larger, thicker gray matter in their prefrontal cortex, which is the part of the brain associated with decision-making and abstract thought. This simply means introverts use their mental resources for abstract thoughts, while extroverts tend to 'live in the moment' more.

Image Credit: Coffee Loader by Shannon Flowerday
This deep thinking is a gift. But it also means we sometimes feel lost in the labarinth of life, and get air-headed. After all, the brain can only juggle so many things!

Being absent-minded isn’t exclusively meant for introverted creatives - you'd see really chirpy extroverted creatives lose out on life, zone out and being forgetful. I believe the causes would be different - introverts are absent-minded cause they are kind of 'lost', while extroverts have already moved on to newer things.

Hence, it's only us intuitive introverts who suffer from this day-dreaming stuff the most.

"Writers are forgetful, but they remember everything. They forget appointments & anniversaries but remember what you wore, how you smelled on your first date. They remember every story you've told them, but forget what you've just said. They don't remember to water the plants or take out the trash, but they don't forget how to make you laugh. Writers are forgetful because they are busy remembering the important things..."

(Source: ofheightsandhollows)

The Bitter Antidote To Day-dreaming:

Image Credit: Jonathan Holt for HelloSign

The secret many introverted creatives won't tell you about air-headedness is that it feels amazing. It's a vortex that you can suck yourself into while life's mundane bores you. At Mello Musings, we call this solitary bitter-sweet reflective state as 'mellow mayusi'.

But if this reflective state is getting in the way of your life, there's a way for you to be impeccable with details (that I detest, but practise). And that is with app reminders, to-do lists & alarms.

These li'l buggers can interrupt your life, and you'll detest them for that, but they'll also ensure you don't sleep on the couch cause you forgot to buy the milk you had set out to buy.

The Good Of Daydreaming:

Source: Qieer Wang

Researchers found that children who daydream, or seem distracted or absent-minded may just be smarter than those who aren’t. The working memory of these kids have greater capacity, giving them a stronger ability to juggle several tasks at once.

"All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once they grow up." —Pablo Picasso

Not all introverts are geniuses, and not every creative is an introvert. But Reclaiming our introverted core is pivotal to our work as artists and is the main source of living creatively.

So the next time you zone out or get lost in your head, remember that you’re in great company!

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