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Why People Who Don’t Fear To Embarrass Themselves Are More Creative

Why People Who Don’t Fear To Embarrass Themselves Are More Creative

Want to be more creative?

Creativity is within your reach if you can cultivate the proper habits. You need to cultivate proper habits because connecting the dots and thinking creatively is a process for all of us. It’s a long-term process rather than a single event. Those people who are more inclined to expose themselves to new ideas, people who don’t mind embarrassing themselves, get to improve upon their creativity. Those people who wrestle with creative ideas for years get to refine their ideas and reap the fruits of their labors.

In an excellent post about creative thinking, writer James Clear exposes the myth that is the “eureka” moment, the so-called “light bulb” moment or the aha!” moment. He demonstrates that a single flash of genius isn’t really what it is made out to be by citing the most iconic eureka moment in the history of scientific storytelling: When Sir Isaac Newton saw an apple fall to the ground in 1666.

When you think of Isaac Newton, you probably imaging he was born a genius. But, he wasn’t. When Newton was young, he did so poorly in grade school that his teachers gave up on improving his grades. And yet he grew up to become the greatest English mathematician of his generation. How did he do it? He kept improving himself throughout his life despite any ridicule and disapproval he faced.

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Concerning Newton’s most famous work on gravitation, Clear writes:

“In 1666, one of the most influential scientists in history was strolling through a garden when he was struck with a flash of creative brilliance that would change the world.

While standing under the shade of an apple tree, Sir Isaac Newton saw an apple fall to the ground. ‘Why should that apple always descend perpendicularly to the ground,’ Newton wondered. ‘Why should it not go sideways, or upwards, but constantly to the earth’s center? Assuredly, the reason is, that the earth draws it. There must be a drawing power in matter.’

And thus, the concept of gravity was born.”

However, what people fail to realize, Clear continues, is that Newton worked on his ideas about gravity for nearly twenty years. It wasn’t until 1687 that he consolidated his brilliant thoughts and published his groundbreaking book, The Principia: Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy.

“The falling apple was merely the beginning of a train of thought that continued for decades,” Clear points out.

In other words, the real creative work, the connecting of the dots, the bridging of seemingly unrelated and obscure ideas happened between the years when he first got the flash of insight and when he published his iconic book. Creativity is a process, not a single event.

Exercise your creativity despite judgment for as long as it takes

Judgment of our creative work or thoughts should not be feared. That judgment is a useful feedback metric. Creators need it because, without it, there is no opportunity to improve and make our ideas better. Without it, there is no verification of work completed. So, don’t let fear of being ridiculed, embarrassed, or humiliated stop you in your tracks. Even Albert Einstein’s work was criticized and rejected.

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In the 1972 classic book Albert Einstein: Creator & Rebel, authors Banesh Hoffman (Einstein’s former scientific assistant) and Hellen Dukas (Einstein’s secretary for many years) reveal in the most intimately knowledgeable and touching way how the scientific community criticized, ridiculed, and rejected a patent clerk who published a revolutionary theory.

Though criticized and rejected, Einstein, the lowly theoretical physicist, wasn’t discouraged. He pressed on with his creative work and as time went on, more and more scientists saw the validity and incomparable brilliance of his work and thoughts.

Today, Einstein is recognized as the creator of relativity, godfather of quantum physics, and bender of time and space. He was awarded the 1921 Nobel Prize for Physics for his explanation of the photoelectric effect in 1905 and “for his services to Theoretical Physics.”

There will always be a critic who dislikes your work.

Every creative person worth his sorts will face critics. It’s almost inevitable. And if you truly care about your work or ideas, you will experience creative uncertainty, doubt and fear many times, especially when releasing something new you’ve created to the world. Only those who stand firm and don’t let fear of disapproval or embarrassment smother their creativity will rise and leave a mark in this world.

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“Being in the top 1% of intelligence has no correlation with being fantastically creative,” writes Clear. “Instead, you simply have to be smart (not a genius) and then work hard, practice deliberately and put in your reps.” The most creative people share a willingness to labor in their craft, ship their best work, and respond to critics and the audience in a smart way that enhances their next creative cycle.

Remember, the risk of your work being judged, of making a fool of yourself, pales in comparison to the terror of inaction and regret of missed opportunities due to fear of being embarrassed.

Be comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Think about what it would be like to be embarrassed for exercising your creativity. Would it really be as bad or humiliating as you think it would be? In most cases, you’ll find you’re worried about things that aren’t humiliating, disconcerting, or enduring. So, let go of your fears, embrace discomfort, and start creating.

Featured photo credit: CREATISTA via shutterstock.com

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More by this author

David K. William

David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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Last Updated on June 13, 2019

How to Quit Your Boring Life and Start Living an Interesting One

How to Quit Your Boring Life and Start Living an Interesting One

Think you have a boring life?

The definition of boring is dull or not interesting. Maybe you’ve been doing the same thing and living the same life for too long, or maybe your daily routine is limiting your growth and happiness. Whatever your reason is, the following list of 20 things can definitely make any day more interesting. Some of them are silly, while some are more meaningful, so hopefully just reading the list makes your life less boring and sparks your creativity.

Let’s dive in the list to quit your boring life and start living an interesting (and meaning) one!

1. Channel Your 7-Year-Old Self

What would he or she want to do right now? Color? Paint? Run around outside? Play dress up? Eat with your hands? Play that instrument hiding in the back of your closet that you haven’t touched in years?

Just because you’re a grown up doesn’t mean any of this stuff will be less enjoyable than you remember it. Give yourself permission to play.

2. Go Play with Kids

Speaking of little kids, if you have your own or access to any (in a non-creepy way, like they’re your niece or your best friend’s kid, you get the idea) go play with them!

They didn’t create an entire show called Kids Say The Darndest Things because kids aren’t hilarious. They also keep things so simple, and we can really stand to be reminded of this and stop allowing ourselves to get bogged down in boring details.

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3. Order a Hot Dog

While you’re eating it, Google: “What’s in a hot dog?” You decide whether or not you want to finish it.

4. For the Ladies: Wear Your Sexiest Lingerie Under Your Work Clothes

Your “little secret” will leave you feeling anything but boring all day!

5. Play Cell Phone Roulette

You’ll need at least one buddy for this. Scroll through the contacts in your phone, stop on a random one and call the person.

You could spark an incredible catch up session or be incredibly awkward. Neither are boring.

6. Fill out a Pack of Thank-You Cards

Give them to random people who probably don’t get thanked too often for doing what they do ever day.

Ideas: police officers, librarians, servers, baristas, cab drivers, sanitation workers, teachers, people behind any check out counter, receptionists, your friends, the guy at the falafel stand, etc.

7. Sign up for a Class in Something You’ve “Always Wanted to Do”, or Something That Makes You Really Uncomfortable

Ideas: pole dancing, salsa lessons, improv, pottery, cooking, knitting (yup, there are classes for this, too!), karate, boxing, something techy like the workshops they run in Apple stores, get Rosetta Stone and learn that language you’ve always wanted to speak, etc.

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What’s good about joining an interest class is that you will also meet new people!

8. Interview Your Grandparents About Their Lives

You can bet they’ve had some crazy experiences you probably never knew about.

9. Get up on Stage at an Open Mic Night

Whether you’re funny or not, get up on stage and just talk funny. And if you’re not, memorize a few of your favorite jokes and tell those!

10. Do Something for Someone Else That You Wish Someone Would Do for You

We all have a few ideas on this list. I promise you will feel amazing after and anything but bored.

11. Start a DIY Project in Your Home

It doesn’t have to be super complicated. If you need ideas, there’re plenty on Pinterest. Or you can also check out these 30 Awesome DIY Projects that You’ve Never Heard of.

12. Plan a Weekend Trip or an All-Out Vacation

This will give you something to look forward to.

Even if you don’t have the time or money to go on a vacation, plan for a staycation, which is same fun and relaxing!

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13. People Watch

Find a bench in a crowded area (centers of transportation like airports, bus stops and train stations are great for this!) and just observe.

People are infinitely interesting.

14. Eat Something You’ve Never Eaten Before

Bonus points if it’s a random fruit or veggie.

15. Dance

You can get your friends together for a night on the town or just pull up a video on YouTube and bust a move from your own living room.

If you’re feeling extra brave, you can even dance in public and get other people involved.

16. Go to YOUTUBE and Search “Funny Pets” or “Funny Babies”

This is also a great quickie ab workout as you will be laughing hysterically.

17. Pick up a Book and Start Reading

Check out the NY Times Best Sellers lists and grab a new book you can get lost in.

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18. Step Away from the Computer and Go Get Some Time with People You Care About in Real Life

Facebook stalking doesn’t count as real social interaction. You can even share this post with your friends and vote on which one you’d like to do together!

19. Check out a Museum You’ve Never Been to Before

OK, depending on your interests, this one might actually be boring. If you love learning, art or different cultures though, this one is for you!

20. Write a List of Things You Desire and Truly Want

This is a great way to help you figure out the real reason why you’re feeling bored about your life. Maybe you haven’t really done things that you truly enjoy? Maybe what you’ve wanted to do all the time has been left behind?

Think about the list of things you really want to do, and ask yourself why you aren’t doing these things (yet). Then start taking your first step to make what you want happen.

Now go make your life interesting and live your dream life!

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Featured photo credit: Kev Costello via unsplash.com

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