Cultural Creatives

Cultural Creatives is the term coined by Paul H. Ray, Ph.D., to describe the group of individuals who are the early adopts of progressive trends in a society. They are the ones who are creating and defining the future of life and living.  They are the experimenters, crafting new products, ideas, services, experiences and lifestyles. And they respond well to coaches who understand their way of thinking and creating and who respect their sometimes radical approaches to their way of living and priorities. In the 60’s and 70’s they were called “renaissance” people.

In 2000 Paul Ray and his wife, Sherry Ruth Anderson, Ph.D., a psychologist focusing on the qualities of inner experience, published The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People are Changing the World (Harmony, 2000).  Click here to read a review of this book.  To find out if you are a Cultural Creative, take the questionnaire in the book or visit their website.

One definition of a Cultural Creative is someone who is a designer of the future; the person is creating, collectively, a new culture. Look at the Victorian era. There was an era in which the cultural was a particular way. Look at the cultural of communism. There’s an assertion that there are people who create the next culture – they’re willing to redesign their life in order to afford them an opportunity to contribute, they’re more well connected with the word, they’re more well read, they’re optimistic, they’re internationally aware, and they’re spiritual in some way. They’re willing to be different, and what’s interesting, is that they don’t really know they exist – they just think they’re different. Many coaches are Cultural Creatives because they’re fairly progressive and working with folks who are creating better lives for themselves, and in effect, coaching other Cultural Creatives. A lot of Cultural Creatives thought they were different, they were odd, and were somewhat alone.

Some identifiers of cultural creatives are they:

  • love nature and are deeply concerned about its destruction.
  • place a great deal of importance on developing and maintaining relationships.
  • place much value on helping others and evoking their gifts.
  • care intensely about psycho-spiritual growth and development.
  • are concerned about the Religious Right in politics.
  • are deeply concerned about violence and physical/emotional abuse around the world.
  • want government to spend more money on children’s education and well-being, on rebuilding neighborhoods and communities and on creating an ecologically sustainable future.
  • tend to be optimistic about the future and distrust the cynical and pessimistic view that is given by the media.
  • want to be actively involved in creating a new and better way of life.
  • often have finances and spending under control and are not concerned about overspending. But some struggle to turn their talents into income.

What makes Cultural Creatives different than most other people their key value of authenticity and their ability to apply reframings in their lives. Reframing lets us look at our old problems from a new angle of vision. And it gives a new way of explaining them, and a new way to state our moral concerns.  The Cultural Creatives are the ones who have been really paying attention, applying reframings in their own lives.  Reframing means you start to question the unspoken assumptions of the social codes all around you. If you are exposed to half a dozen big reframes, two things happen: the content changes your whole world view, and you get comfortable with the process of questioning the unspoken assumptions of the old culture. That’s where the Cultural Creatives came from. And that’s where a lot of our new direction is coming from. All those people who have questioned the unspoken assumptions had to rely on their own direct experience. How else could you take off the old culture’s eyeglasses? This has an incredible potential for opening up creativity in our lives. It gives us some comfort in going into the unknown. And that is where our whole society is going anyway at this time in history. This is a part of the personal life changes that so many Cultural Creatives have gone through. So often they had to live more authentic lives after opening up questions they really cared about, and having to live through the experiences they’ve had. The Black Freedom Movement called it “walking your talk” and this need for authenticity was picked up by every social and consciousness movement since then. This emphasis on authenticity is at the center of who the Cultural Creatives are today, and is one of the key values they’ve brought into American life.

Coaching Cultural Creatives

As a coach I help Cultural Creatives discover their creativity and individuality.   By helping them recognize their uniqueness, it encourages them to do more of that. This evolves into their describing and living success according to their own definition.  Many are directing it toward a life focused on personal fulfillment, social conscience, and creating a better future for everyone on the planet.  Also, when I’m coaching them, I like to learn from them, getting to know them and understand what drives them.  Part of my role is to not only help people to strengthen their cultural creativity, it’s to help them realize who they are.  In summary, when coaching a Cultural Creative client I:

  • Help them to see that they are Cultural Creatives.
  • Discover and value their individuality
  • Seek to learn from them.
  • Help them transcend commonly defined elements of life.
  • Encourage sharing of intuitions and inklings.
  • Empower them with a larger identity.
  • Recognize their important role in life.
  • See where “new ways of being and doing” exist.
  • Offer support structures.
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