Discover more from Daydreamers: Head in the Clouds
Why Creativity Is An Act Of Rebellion Against Modern Life
Creativity is the ultimate 🖕🏽 to our obsession with productivity
Head in the Clouds is a publication + educational resource from Daydreamers. At Daydreamers, we’ve turned Creative Health into a way of being - for everyone. We built the Daydreamers Universe to rebel against the stressors of modern life, and harness our human superpower - creativity - for well-being, power + fulfillment.
A note from the team at DD HQ:
After writing a free newsletter about the science of Creative Health for 2 years, we’ve transitioned our content into the private Daydreamers Ecosystem. This is an excerpt of the type of content we share on the Daydreamers platform.
From time to time, we still share free resources at the intersection of creativity and science, so if you resonate with our mission sign up to stay in the loop.
Otherwise, join the 20,000+ others and be part of our Creative Health Revolution at daydreamers.co 🛸
DD HQ here. Be honest with us: When was the last time you felt…satisfied?
It could be about anything; like, the dinner you cooked last night or the presentation you just gave at work last week. Heck, it could even be with the status of your inbox right now.
If you’re like us, you might notice that ‘satisfied’ doesn’t really exist in your mental vocabulary. For some reason, there’s always an inkling of improvement.
Whether it’s adding more salt or scrapping your entire presentation, thinking about the endless ways you can make something better isn’t just a you problem; it’s an us problem.
In a culture that prioritizes constant, never-ending achievement we all have a continuous ache for more. For better. In fact, for being The Best at All Times. We’ve been taught that nothing, not even ‘reaching our fullest potential’ is good enough.
At Daydreamers, we often talk about the symptoms of our obsession with achievement from a scientific perspective. We dive into the research behind our burnout crisis, or the reasons why so many of us struggle with perfectionism.
But, we’ve never really gotten into the nitty-gritty behind how we all got here from a cultural POV. To a place where ‘free’ time feels luxurious and selfish. Where mini-c creativity becomes a frivolous act.
From our perspective, this long-standing (centuries long, in fact) cultural obsession with never-ending achievement is the root of what’s making us sick, exhausted, disconnected and distant from our naturally creative brains.
So, this week, we’re going in on the grandparents of hustle culture - Achievement Culture - and more importantly, why right now mini-c creativity is the most powerful act of rebellion we can engage in.
Called to join our movement of non-linear thinkers, proud ‘slackers’ and creators? The time was…yesterday. Join us here, now:
Expanding your POV: Our hatred of ‘free’ time has existed…forever
Before we get into it, tell us when you think this quote was written:
“It will be said that while a little leisure is pleasant, [men] would not know how to fill their days if they only had four hours of work out of the twenty-four. This is true in the modern world…it would not have been true at any earlier period. There was formerly a capacity for light-heartedness and play which has been to some extent inhibited by the cult of efficiency. The modern [man] thinks that everything ought to be done for the sake of something else, and never for its own sake.”
Besides the old-school language, you probably wouldn’t have guessed that scholars were writing about the exact conundrum we’re facing today…one hundred years ago, would you?
We didn’t think so either, but one of our favorite thinkers of all time - Bertrand Russell - sticks it to The Man better than we’ve seen anyone do since 1932.
In his piece In Praise Of Idleness, he writes about the same societal issues we’re facing in our modern world: a constant need for improvement; an inability to do nothing; an unwillingness to rest, to be bored, to create for leisure.
Bertrand’s calling came long before the Internet started rotting our brains, and capturing us with the infinite scroll. So, if we humans have been inducted into the ‘cult of efficiency’ long before Tiktok arrived on the scene, then what gives?
Among many reasons we’ll dive into over the next few weeks, Celeste Headlee explores the foundations of Achievement Culture perfectly in her book, Do Nothing (and on our OG Daydreamers podcast!). She explains how our the insatiable need for growth-at-all-costs was spawned by none other than the Industrial Revolution.
Take this POV: “When people began to labor in factories, there was no end to the work. You weren’t making one carriage wheel to replace a broken one - you were churning out dozens of carriage wheels…you continued until you ran out of resources, your arms couldn’t lift any longer or someone came to replace you.”
When we figured out how to create, infinitely, our perception of everything changed. Literally. We no longer slept at dark, and instead, invented clocks and lights to keep the output churning.
Let’s be clear - we’re not hating on technological progress here at DD, but if we fast forward to right now, it’s not just about carriage wheels; nothing is enough. Content creators put out five videos a day. Our unread emails creep into the thousands. Even our personal reading lists run pages long.
Nothing. Ever. Ends.
But, as much as we’ve let Achievement Culture seep into everything, we’re also in a time of transformation. A cultural reckoning, some may say. All of us are asking: What if I have nothing more to give?
Now, sitting back and allowing ourselves to ‘do nothing’ as Bertrand Russell would say is a start. But, it’s bigger than that - we have to reclaim all aspects of our creative brains.
And at Daydreamers, we have an idea about how we can start.
Why this matters: Mini-c creativity is an act of rebellion
One of our members recently told us: “I haven’t created in a while and I was beating myself up over it. Then, I remembered that the entire point of Daydreamers isn’t to produce something. It’s to learn how to live a creatively fulfilling life. There’s no right or wrong way to do it.”
How beautiful is that 😭 This sentiment couldn’t capture of our mission at Daydreamers more perfectly. We’re creating to be more human, not a machine that checks items off a To Do list.
And from our standpoint, there’s never been a more important time to prioritize our Creative Health - because every single one of these elements is a direct push-back against the status quo.
Nearly everything we do at DD is at the root of creative rebellion:
Reframing boredom and ‘doing nothing’ as the starting point of creative thought, not something to be guilty about
Creatively expressing yourself without it needing to ‘make sense’ or be displayed to anyone
Getting into the flow because we enjoy it, not because it makes us more productive
Reconnecting with the natural beauty, awe and wonder already around us
Practicing openness to new ideas and experiences, instead of being narrow-minded and prejudiced to ourselves + others
Enhancing mental flexibility, which is the starting point to unwinding perfectionism
It sounds simple, but creativity has always been the boundary pusher - the one part of our human DNA that people in power have despised.
That’s because the more that we have the capacity to think critically, to be open to people and ideas that are different than our own, to appreciate the natural beauty around us and most importantly, allow ourselves to have fun - the less we need to achieve.
The less we need to run on the constant, never-ending hamster wheel.
And, the more that the world becomes a better, more caring and more creative place.
So, let’s reclaim our creative, curious minds, together. Mini-c creating is our collective act of resistance - are you ready to join in?
Katina + Dupi
and the entire team @ DD HQ
Experiment with the concept:
Achievement culture has existed for centuries - but we have the power to stop it
THE WHY: Achievement Culture isn’t new. And, it’s not just something we can get rid of by spending more time offline; it’s rooted in the way that we work, live and determine our worth. But, it’s also something we can reverse by doing what feels most normal to us humans: resting, creating and simply being.
THE HOW: View your creative health as an act of resistance. Creative health is at the root of every way we can push back against never-ending achievement: doing nothing, enjoying ourselves, noticing beauty, using our imagination, and being open to people, ideas + experiences different than our own. Talk about changing the world one mini-c creation at a time?!
Where DD HQ’s heads are at:
WHAT WE’RE EXCITED ABOUT: Vote for us to speak about Unpacking Creative Health at SXSW next year. Your vote means…everything. Do it here.
WE’VE BEEN READING: Do Nothing by Celeste Headlee. If your creative brain is craving a mix of culture, history and philosophical pondering about how Achievement Culture came to be - this is a favorite in the DD Library.
TOPICS WE’VE BEEN TALKING AB IN THE PRIVATE DD CLUB:
Why reaching our ‘full’ potential is kind of a scam 👀
This article about perfectionism (s/o to Kathryn, DD Early Access Member)
If ‘productivity’ helps or hinders our inspiration
Why we all should have “seasons” of creativity
Sound interesting? Join the conversation here.
Up ahead: How we’re unpacking Achievement Culture
08.18: Ambition vs Accomplishment: Not all ‘achievement’ is bad
08.25: Distractions + doing nothing: The power of slacking more often
09.01: Rewilding our brain: Why we’re all wired to be explorers
Did this newsletter expand your brain? It’s our mission to give every single adult access to their natural creativity, and turn it into an active part of daily life.
If this free resource changed your POV, share it with friends, too. When you reach 10 shares, you’ll get a special discount + chat with our co-founders to join Daydreamers Early Access.