Monday, September 21, 2009

Quest for the perfect domain

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, in his book Creativity, wrote that few people choose to occupy domains that are a perfect match for themselves (page 37). Currently, I struggle with the concept of a perfect domain. It’s easier for me to notice people who express themselves creatively to occupy fitting, creative-type domains, such as painters, sculptors or photographers. But I don’t believe that any of those obvious creative domains are for me.

I realized in college that the degree I decided to pursue wasn’t necessarily something I enjoyed, but something that I was good at. Writing and the English language came easy to me, “obviously I should pursue journalism,” I thought. Motivated by deadlines and the ability and interest to learn about a variety of topics, I did well until I was no longer directed to write. Journalism felt appropriately like work, and I became unmotivated and less and less creative. I was unable to solidify a writing/editing position once out of school and found myself accepting a more stable job that paid well.

Up until the past month and a half I’ve only dreamed myself to work and think about working in domains that feel like work. Now that I am free from an occupation where I was passionless, I am allowing myself to reassess my interests, desires and creativity, and hope that I may find myself in a domain that I truly want to be in. Perhaps then I will understand what a perfect domain is. Maybe I will even find myself considered among the “creative ones” who “choose certain domains because of a powerful calling to do so.”

I’ve found it hard to leave space for creativity in my life. Now that I’m unemployed, most of my time is dedicated to networking and applying for jobs. I’m working on making my life less structured and overwhelming. And I’m excited to have a class that focuses on being creative. When I do have down time I encourage myself to try new things by myself and with others.

In my quest, I’ve focused energy on doing and thinking about things and ideas that bring me joy and excitement. Some of the things I’ve done recently that I’ve found enjoyable include volunteering with seniors, growing vegetable plants and being somewhat crafty. I’m working on painting some canvases after seeing some in the MOMA in NYC that I would like to imitate similarly.

Some things I’ve thought about include starting my own winery, art gallery or some other business, starting to take more pictures and becoming an agent for my many art friends.

Since I’m in the MBC program at the University of St. Thomas, I’ve invested time learning about marketing communications from those who are in the field; learning how people got into what they are doing, what activities they do on a daily basis and what knowledge and skills they use in their job. I think by having a more well-rounded knowledge of this domain, I will figure out if and what part of it may be a good fit for me.

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