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The 15 Creative Mindsets

The 15 Creative Mindsets. Christine Nishiyama, Might Could Studios.

Note: This is an ongoing series exploring my working-theory of Artistic Intelligence. You can read the first essays in this series here and here. My current definition of Artistic Intelligence (AQ) is the ability to guide our thinking to change our behavior, so we can make our own art.


Last week I broke AQ down into three separate skills—Awareness, Identification, and Management—and wrote some about becoming aware of our mindset when making art.

But once we’re aware that something is funky (or going well!), how do we put a label on that something? Before we can make changes to our behavior, we have to see clearly what’s going on up in our brain and be able to identity the mindset we’re in.

To do thaaaat, we have to know what kind of mindsets are common when making art! I’ve come up with what I believe are the 15 creative mindsets, divided into helpful and unhelpful pairs.

At any given time while making art, we are occupying one of these mindsets. The key skill (that will come later when I dive into Management) is being able to move from an unhelpful mindset to a helpful mindset. But first, we’ve gotta know what we’re workin’ with, so we can identity where we are.

So here’s a little introduction to my 15 creative mindsets.

The 15 Creative Mindsets. Christine Nishiyama, Might Could Studios.
  1. Resilience / Fragility
  2. Bravery / Fear
  3. Flexibility / Rigidity
  4. Self-Confidence / Self-Doubt
  5. Patience / Impatience
  6. Mindfulness / Judgment
  7. Acceptance / Perfectionism
  8. Self-Compassion / Shame
  9. Process / Outcome
  10. Comfortable with failure / Afraid of failure
  11. Internal Self-Worth / External Validation
  12. Positive Self-Talk / Negative Self-Talk
  13. Beginner’s Mind / Expert
  14. Embracing Uncertainty / Clinging to Rules
  15. Letting Go / Overthinking

Next week, I’ll be going deeper into each of these pairs, exploring how we can identify them—especially when we’re in the midst of one.

I’ve been wanting to work on these ideas for a long time and I’m so happy to finally be getting down to business. Thanks for following along in this series! :D


Which mindset are you most interested in?

Which one are you most excited to hear more about? Which pair do you think you may need to focus on changing? Which pair do you think you’re already able to harness to make art?

Join the group discussion in Might Could Studiomates or comment below to share your thoughts with us!

2 Responses

  1. Hey Christine,
    The last two are the ones I probably need to work on. I’ve been working through most of the other ones along my journey. My real test of fear/failure will be when I start going to art shows (maybe November). Looking forward to the series!

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2 Responses

  1. Hey Christine,
    The last two are the ones I probably need to work on. I’ve been working through most of the other ones along my journey. My real test of fear/failure will be when I start going to art shows (maybe November). Looking forward to the series!

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *