Negative Capability

"I believe strongly in what John Keats called negative capability: the trait or practice that allows a poet to remain in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact & reason. For Keats, William Shakespeare exemplified negative capability, and I do think it's extraordinary that for all the thousands of pages Shakespeare left behind, we really don't know much about Shakespeare's own personality or opinions." ~ James Arthur

"it struck me what quality went to form a Man of Achievement, especially in Literature, and which Shakespeare possessed so enormously - I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason." ~ John Keats

Negative Capability is the idea of embracing uncertainty and mystery. 

It involves being comfortable with not having all the answers and exploring the unknown. Great art often thrives in ambiguity, inviting interpretation. It's about being present in the creative process, letting emotions and experiences flow freely instead of forcing a specific outcome. 

This concept also involves stepping outside one's viewpoint, embodying others' feelings and experiences, and transforming them into creative expression.

By embracing uncertainty, artists can explore new ideas and create more profound and engaging work.

Stepping outside oneself allows for a deeper emotional connection with subjects. Being comfortable with the unknown enables artists to adapt to changing situations and grow throughout their careers. Negative capability is valuable for artists and anyone seeking to embrace lifelong learning, develop empathy, leadership processes, and innovation. 

It involves being open to new experiences and ideas, seeing the world from different perspectives, and thinking outside the box to find creative solutions with the possibility of making mistakes.

Negative capability is a spectrum that can be shown to varying degrees by resilient individuals. 

Examples of negative capability are not limited to the arts. Shakespeare's characters, such as Hamlet, who grapple with uncertainty and internal conflict, are a classic example. But this concept extends beyond literature. A leader in an organization adapting his/her strategy based on unforeseen circumstances or an entrepreneur embracing calculated risks demonstrates this concept. 

This openness to the creative process demonstrates negative capability in action, showing its relevance in various fields. 

On the other hand, the following example is NOT Negative Capability...

If a painter or writer or leader of an organization gets frustrated because things are not going as planned and abandons the work, that shows a lack of tolerance for the creative process's messiness.

Negative capability can offer potential benefits in guiding unexpected life changes and developing the resiliency to think and work outside the box.

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