Being You

Could Judgment Be Limiting YOUR Creativity?

June 03, 2011

Judgment is one of the greatest limitations to creativity, including creating your life, according to best selling author Gary Douglas, founder of Access Consciousness, a 20 year old self-awareness method offered in 25 countries world-wide.

Whether you desire to be more creative you might consider changing the process of automatically judging that so many of us fall into.

If you’re not a writer or artist, you may be wondering what creativity has to do with your life. Isn’t your life your own greatest creation, whatever your line of work? Would you like to make it a more beautiful creation? Then what’s now known about creativity and the importance of getting out of judgment could be very valuable to you!

Douglas has been pointing out for years that judgment stops all creativity, because nothing that doesn’t match the judgment can enter your awareness. Judgments don’t only include the most obvious such as, “What an ugly dress!” Judgments can also be more subtle. In fact, every time we make a conclusion or arrive at what we think is an answer, a judgment is also required.

Douglas has been teaching this to his seminar participants worldwide for 20 or more years. As often occurs, science is now catching up with what Douglas has discovered years earlier using his natural curiosity and his reliance on questions instead of answers.

Charles Limb, a medical doctor who specializes in hearing problems and is a saxophone player, is studying jazz improvisation as a demonstration of creativity.

Using the latest medical technology, he has tracked how the brain changes when musicians engage in this creative act. In short, the areas of the brain (specifically the pre-frontal cortex) engaged in judgment shut down, while areas of self-expression (isn’t that creativity?) turn on.

Limb used functional MRI imaging to discover that the lateral pre-frontal cortex is inhibited during creative improvisation. This is the area involved with “conscious self-monitoring, self-inhibition, and evaluation of the rightness and wrongness of the actions you’re about to implement.” Isn’t that an accurate description of judgment?

Improvising musicians increase the medial prefrontal cortex which is involved in “self-expression and autobiographical narrative.” Couldn’t that be another word for creativity?”

In other words, the most creative musicians know how to turn the judging parts of their brain off and the creative parts on. Amateur musicians, presumably less successful, have not developed this capacity as fully. This study was reported in the May, 2011 issue of Scientific American.

So how do you get out of judgment, anyway? One way Douglas recommends is to remind yourself vigorously and repeatedly that every point of view you have is not significant or true, but no more important than “just an interesting point of view.”

In case you are still interested in hanging onto those judgments you’re firmly convinced are true, consider what else Douglas has learned. “You cannot judge anything without having been it or done it at one time or another,” he says.

Otherwise you would have no grounds to judge it or any opinion about it. So when you find yourself being repulsed by something, you might just humble yourself by reminding yourself that sometime, somewhere, you did that or were that, too. Perhaps then you would get motivated to destroy and uncreate those judgments you were so firmly convinced were right.

If you’re having trouble identifying when you are judging, here’s another clue. What if nothing is right or wrong, good or bad, positive or negative? Is judgment required to make something right or wrong, good or bad? If you’re like most of us, then this could give you plenty of judgments to work on eliminating.

These simple tools come from Access Consciousness, which offers pragmatic building blocks for creating whatever you would like in your life. The Access suggested way out of judgment includes those tools described above:
1. Remind yourself that even your strongest opinions are just interesting points of view.
2. Remind yourself everything you find yourself judging is something you did or were at some time or another
3. When you find yourself saying or thinking anything is right, wrong, good, bad, positive or negative—refer to the above.

Simple? Now start putting it into practice. It will give you more freedom than you can imagine. It could be the hardest thing you’ve ever done and you might just find that it is worth it.

How much creativity, for your artwork or your life, could you free up by eliminating those judgments? How much more creative could you become then?



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Stephen Outram

Jun 4, 2011

When I play my guitar and stop thinking, the music is so much better. Sometimes I surprise myself by peeling off this neat riff without having to think about it or figure it out beforehand. I like those kind of surprises 🙂

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Aug 24, 2011

Somehow it feels to me that there is judgment in the text about people who are not creative or that “being creative is positive, being not creative is negative or somehow wrong” and being more creative is better than being less creative. Is that so? I can understand how judgment prevents people from being creative. But I also feel pressure to “be more creative”, as not being creative seems to be somehow “inferior” or a lack or deficiency of some kind. ? I would be cool to be able to switch into being creative at will though.

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Josh Kreydatus

Dec 27, 2012

I’m very interested in this, the idea that judgment inhibits creative development.

Before I became a Composition student in college, the music I wrote was not born out of a formal education, influenced by music theory and such. Most of what I’ve composed so far is the product of whim and and a ‘hardwired’ sense of musical direction and arrangement. Now, as a Composition student with a formal background in music, I believe I think too critically about how my music should sound because I’ve studied music in school. I feel that the music I used to write years and years ago, before college, was some of my best work ! Now, nothing. Today I had a startling revelation: maybe I am consciously or subconsciously judging everything I try to compose, which is ultimately stifling my creative potential. I began to speak out loud to myself, “judgment is inhibiting my creative process”, “judgment is the reason why some of my best ideas do not come forth”, and so on. After I said these words to myself, I felt an instant elation, like my body became light and airy, like a most wonderful feeling of finally figuring out a problem that I’ve had trouble deciphering for ages. I then began to test it out by singing to myself, without thinking about how it should sound, just singing any random notes that came to mind. What I discovered during my ‘judgment free’ singing exercise was I began to create melodies that inspired me! I even came up with something that would fit well to a piece I’ve been meaning to complete. This is astounding to me. I seriously believe now that ‘critical ‘ judgment, whatever that means, can and will inhibit the creative process. I hope I am right, because I now I feel I can move forward again.

Thanks for reading. Comments are welcome.

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