Why being a 'hot mess' is good for your creative brain
Collecting more dots in life helps us find meaning.
DD HQ here. Have you ever felt like a ‘hot mess’?
Okay trust, even if you haven’t heard the term - we’ve all been there.
For our friends who aren’t Internet sleuths, think of it this way: Being a hot mess means that everything seems chaotic. Our emotional, inner world feels like a storm. Even more, you have absolutely no idea what you want to do with the rest of your life (no matter what age you may be).
But, what if we told you a secret?
The windier and more confusing your life path looks from the outside, the more fulfilled you may be on the inside.
We know - it sounds like a radical perspective, especially in a world that’s driven by linear decision-making. But, it’s rooted in science, history - and even logic.
Before we explain why, let’s recap why we might feel like a ‘hot mess’ in the first place. Here’s something that shouldn’t come as a surprise: Society today prioritizes straight lines. Think about it; there are right answers and wrong answers. A clearly laid out “successful” career path.
And, anything that colors outside those lines is considered messy.
That’s because we’ve been trained to become robotic thinkers since we were young children through standardized testing, learning pedagogy, and even cultural reinforcements. We’ve been taught to temper our ‘out of the box’ thinking by prioritizing what’s right. But, we know based on the research that ‘messy’ toddlers learn more and experience more autonomy + freedom.
Even though the world doesn’t see it that way (yet), collecting more dots, more life experiences and ultimately, having a windier life path is better for our well-being. So, why don’t we value it more?
We love this POV from Leonard Mlodinow, a physicist, author, professor, computer game designer, and professional screenwriter, the ultimate dot collector. Here’s what he specifically says about our life trajectory:
“When we’re in college, we think about our future as a direct line from now to then, from here to there. You might get an internship at a financial services firm, then become an assistant, and gradually move up until someday you’re the boss. That’s a fine life’s path.
But if you look at the careers of many successful people, you’ll find their root is far more sinuous. And if you look at happy people, you’ll find even fewer who traveled a straight line.”
This happens for a simple reason: creativity, fulfillment, meaning and happiness, come from being open to new experiences. Experimentation. Non-linear trajectories.
We’ve seen this in action @ Daydreamers. Specifically, the second phase of our Burnout Pathway at Daydreamers is focused on feeling more purposeful and energized by practicing experimentation.
We know that the more spontaneous experiences we have - the more dots we collect - the more happy and fulfilled we become. This is because it activates something called ‘divergent thinking,’ which is a cognitive process that helps us think outside the box. It also releases dopamine and other neurotransmitters that help us feel more motivated, connected + inspired.
So, next time you’re feeling like a hot mess - reframe it as being a beautiful one. We’re being serious - the beautiful mess effect is something psychologists refer to when we think others messes aren’t as bad as our own. In reality, other people see our vulnerability as sweet, or as a mark of character 🙃
Bottom line: you’re less of a mess than you imagine you are, and from our perspective, it’s actually a good - even beautiful - thing. Here’s to making the world a less linear, more messy place to be 🛸
Katina + Dupi
and the entire team @ DD HQ
embrace your hot mess, creative brain + learn to connect the dots with us RN. spots to DD Early Access are open again (finally).
An idea to noodle on 💭
Being a ‘hot mess’ means you’re collecting a lot of dots.
THINK ON THIS: Loosen up a bit - it’s good for you. Look at this research on freestyle rappers, the ultimate iteration pros. Scientists found that when they were in the flow, they relaxed the decision-making parts of their brain and increased association-making. P.S. it also happens in the shower 🙃
…MAYBE NOT THAT: Everyone feels just as chaotic as you do. And even more, no one is judging you for it. The beautiful mess effect is a psychological theory that shows others see our vulnerability and metaphorical ‘messes’ as a cool, sweet thing.
Inside our brains at DD HQ 🧠
Our world prioritizes ‘logical thinking’ - here’s how it gets in the way of your creative brain. We love this perspective - creativity is a muscle. Remember when we talked about awe + wonder? This Nat Geo drop is visualizing the vastness of the ocean on hoodies and we’re obsessed. Fascinating perspective on our personality evolution over time [i.e. being a ‘hot mess’ isn’t necessarily forever].
Ideas from the DD Crew 🛸
School is officially in session 💭
@ DD HQ we’re always in experimentation mode. We just launched a cool, new project called Office Hours with Daydreamers where our Early Access crew gets to brainstorm, connect + get extra support from our co-founders.
If you want a preview, skip the line + join a call with Katina to learn more ab DD. Grab your spot here.