The Two Modes of Creativity (and Why You Need Them Both)

On May 13, 2014, Posted by , In Uncategorized, With Comments Off on The Two Modes of Creativity (and Why You Need Them Both)

apollo-and-dionysusThere are two different kinds of creativity and each is necessary in order to bring about a finished work. Nietzsche proposed these two modes in “The Birth of Tragedy.” On the one hand we have “Dionysian” creativity – the mad burst of inspiration, the light bulb that flashes above your head, and passion in all its messiness. On the other hand we have “Apollonian” – producing, refinement, editing, paring down and rationality. Most people are more comfortable in one mode than the other. Neither is necessarily better – they are two legs that must work together to get you where you want to go.


Take this short quiz to find out which way you lean:

1) True/False: “I tend to have many uncompleted creative projects lying around.”
2) True/False: “I tend to work in manic spurts.”
3) True/False: “I’ve had three great ideas for projects this week!”
4) True/False: “My work space is disorganized.”
5) True/False: “I love trying new things!”

If you answered more of the questions “True” then you lean towards the Dionysian mode – you have great ideas but may lack the rigor and organization to see a project to completion. If you answered more of the questions “False” then you lean more Apollonian. You might benefit from loosening up your creative process, taking more risks and connecting with your wild side.

In Springboard, most of the people we see are more Dionysian – they have the great ideas and are looking for someone to provide structure so they can bring them to the world. They often resist that structure because they worry it will squash everything they associate with being creative – freedom, inspiration, and play. But the truth is that without some structure their ideas may never become tangible.

Long live Apollo! Long live Dionysus! We need them both!

Either way you lean I think “12 Tips Towards Sustainable Productivity” will be helpful for you – sign up for our email list to receive it for free.

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