Why You Must Reach For The Magical Elusive Third Level Of Creativity

image: Scott Ableman

There’s being creative, and there’s being creative. Then there’s being CREATIVE.

Let me explain.

We all create non-stop, the way we think, and see, and act, and behave is a constant creative outpouring and expression of ourselves. No-one else quite does things the way we do.

Just try to stop your mind from being creative. Try to not think about a pink dinosaur riding a bicycle. You can’t. Your creativity is always there.

Let’s call this Level One Creativity. As we’ve seen it’s pretty much switched on the whole time.

Then there’s the next stage, where we create artwork that we enjoy, and we are familiar with creating. Whether we are creating to sell, to share with an audience of five people, five million people, or purely for our own personal fulfillment, this is a form of creating that we have done many times before, and have reached a certain competence and efficiency in.

It keeps your creativity flowing along like a gentle stream, and is very important in maintaining momentum, and not getting stuck. It’s a good thing.


Level Two Creativity is a little predictable. And safe. And, dare we say it, can get a little dull at times.

Are you really an evolving artist if you’re creating virtual carbon copies of the same poems/ photos/ earrings/ songs/ carvings over and over? Is that really creating?

Which brings us to the Third Level Of Creativity.

This is a whole other kind of creating. It’s the path untravelled, the untamed, unexplored outback, the places where your art has never gone before, the places where maybe no-one’s art has ever gone before.

Level Three is the realms of experimentation and daring, challenging the limits of what you believe you can create. It’s being brave enough to follow your wildest ideas and your deepest inspiration.

And it’s the kind of creating that burns a hole in your soul, calling you to set it free. You can only ignore it for so long.

The risks are greater then Level Two, of course. Back there, you know exactly what the outcome each time will be, because of the hundred and one times you’ve created something similar before.

At Level Three you will make more mistakes, things won’t work out like you hope, you will “fail”, often.

But when you triumph, it’s just the greatest feeling. Like a invincible superhero. An invincible superhero in love!

Only you know what lies at the the Third Level. I can’t tell you, no-one can.

But I can tell you that unless you attempt to reach it, unless you stretch beyond the edges of what you think your art can be, even if only once in a little while, you’ll never feel fulfilled as an artist.

When are YOU going to reach for your Third Level Of Creativity?

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2 thoughts on “Why You Must Reach For The Magical Elusive Third Level Of Creativity”

  1. It is not easy to step out of my so called comfort zone. Even when the mind and body will tell me – its bored – a particular activity or work feels alomost soul-less and I might stop from doing something new because my mind is or wants to make a connection in terms of how is this relevant interms of my current or long term creative goals – I think that where I can get stuck – because there has to be purpose behind all. and of course as a perfectionist I do find failing a hard thing to deal with and so put off stepping out of my comfort zone.
    Hey, it would be interesting to hear about ‘level three’ stories and moments creative artists!!!


    1. Having everything we do be part of a grand plan sounds in theory like a good, efficient idea. And maybe in business it is. But we’re artists, we need play time! We need the freedom to make a mess and make mistakes, because from these come the kind happy accidents and giant steps and creative breakthroughs that could never come any other way.

      On second thoughts, about business, I read that Google has a policy where they give their employees free time (but still paid) within work hours every week to create their own projects, the only caveat being they share the results with everyone. Google Labs sprang from this, their public testing ground for all new stuff, and I believe projects that are now huge, like GMail, their email system, came out of one of their employee’s personal projects. What an amazing and unconventional idea! We can apply a similar idea to our own creative lives, give ourselves a certain amount of complete free of play time. Amazing things will inevitably come from it…

      Thanks for your thoughts Nita. 🙂


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