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People With The Characteristics Of Both Genders Are More Creative

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People With The Characteristics Of Both Genders Are More Creative

Men are masculine, women are feminine.

This seems to be the norm that we live with, and because of this gender expectation, we subconsciously repress the personalities or qualities that don’t fit the mold. But let’s be honest, are you the typical man or woman? Guys, do you have sentimental and sensitive moments? Ladies, can you be aggressive and tough too?

Creativity and psychological androgyny are closely linked.

Hungarian psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi discovered through a study[1] that a creative and innovative mindset usually have both masculine and feminine traits, which he dubbed the quality psychological androgyny. Being psychologically androgynous does not equal to homosexuality, (while sexual preference is also not a criteria of psychological androgyny), it simply refers to a person’s ability to possess the strengths of both genders.

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Long before cognitive scientists linked creativity and psychological androgyny together, one of the greatest writers Virginia Woolf quoted early 19th-century English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge to articulate her point of view on this topic[2]:

The truth is a great mind must be androgynous.

Woolf thinks in order to reach the creative plateau, an individual must fuse masculinity and femininity all into one. So, why are people with qualities from both genders more creative?

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They are able to see things from double perspectives.

Regardless of a person’s gender, possessing the characteristics of both genders allows a wider and richer outlook on things. When a psychologically androgynous person has behavioral traits of the opposite gender, they are more likely to put things in perspectives and see things in the shoes of both men and women. In the study done by Csikszentmihalyi, he concluded,

A psychologically androgynous person in effect doubles his or her repertoire of responses and can interact with the world in terms of a much richer and varied spectrum of opportunities.[3]

With the interweaving of masculine and feminine characteristics, creatives are more likely to be stimulated by other experiences or perspectives to create unusual or exceptional pieces. Simply think about how literary greats like William Shakespeare and Marcel Proust write with such fluidity and delicate illustrations of emotions; or take Ursula K. Le Guin’s intuitive yet analytical fiction writing styles as an examples; you will soon understand — creative people have an androgynous mind.

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    They are hard and soft at the same time.

    Because of their ability to comprehend and digest things from different perspectives, creative individuals carry qualities of both genders with balance. They are able to be as dominating as the “masculine” stereotype, but also seams the vulnerable, “feminine” side into their personality.

    Famous actress Charlize Theron has starred in major films in almost every genre because of her masculine and feminine personality traits. She has played the crime drama film Monster as serial killer Aileen Wuornos, also acted in the motion-packed Mad Max: Fury Road, and in western comedy film A Million Ways to Die in the West. She has proven her ability to portray different characters from a fiercely masculine commander, to a rather subdued wife figure, and off-screen she is both a tough woman in Hollywood and sensitive towards women issues.

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      Psychological androgyny has more benefits.

      Apart from being linked to creativity, having an androgynous mind softens men’s hardness and boosts women’s confidence. When a man has the feminine sensitivity, alongside his brawny, dominating personality, he is more attractive to women, and is generally more capable to handle and balance work and romantic relationships. On the other hand, a woman who adopts a more aggressive approach with her submissive features, she looks wiser, bolder, and stronger.

      It is a merger but not replacement.

      Psychological androgyny does not mean completely acting like the opposing gender. You still retain your own personality, just fuse it with certain opposing qualities. For men, adding some sensitivity to your logical mind doesn’t downplay your authority; for women, being tough doesn’t automatically make you bossy. Don’t be afraid to step out of your gender expectations and be a better, more all-rounded person!

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      Reference

      More by this author

      Frank Yung

      Writer. Storyteller. Foodie.

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      Published on November 23, 2020

      How to Develop Big Picture Thinking And Think More Clearly

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      How to Develop Big Picture Thinking And Think More Clearly

      Your neighbors downstairs are playing loud music. Again. How do they not get tired of partying? And why do they choose songs with such a heavy downbeat that the glass in your cupboard is vibrating every two seconds? What can you do to get some peace that you deserve? What should you?

      Human mind tends to go in circles whenever faced with a problem without a clear solution. It becomes easy to forget the big picture and get lost in anger and self-pity, wasting our precious time, energy and enthusiasm.

      Would it not be nice if we always remembered to put things in perspective?

      Would it not be more efficient to face all kinds of problems, from tiny annoyances to life-changing emergencies, with a calm demeanor, sharp focus and fearless determination to promptly take the most efficient action possible?

      Alas, humans are not like that. All too often we let anxiety or greed get the best of us and make a rushed or shortsighted decision that we quickly come to regret. Other times, we spend weeks or months at an impasse, rehashing the exact same arguments, unable to accept the compromise required to move forward with any of the available options.

      Buddhists talk about getting lost in the “small self.” In this state of mind, we literally forget the big picture and focus on the small one. We start taking our daily problems too personally and, paradoxically, becomes less capable of solving them in an efficient manner. And this is the opposite of big picture thinking.

      Let me share with you a story related to big picture thinking…

      In 1812, the French army of Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Russia.[1] After a decisive Battle of Borodino, the capture of Moscow and therefore Napoleon’s victory in the war seemed inevitable.

      Unexpectedly, the Russian Commander-in-Chief Mikhail Kutuzov made a highly controversial decision of retreating and allowing the French to capture Moscow. Much of the population had been evacuated taking supplies with them. The city itself was set on fire and large parts of it burned into the ground.

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      After waiting in vain for Russia to capitulate, Napoleon had to retreat in the middle of a bitterly cold winter. He won the battle but lost the war. The campaign ended in a disaster and the near destruction of the French army.

      What can we learn from this historical lesson?

      1. Focus on the Consequences

      Napoleon focused on the important part: capturing Moscow. Nobody could accuse him of thinking small. Yet he overlooked that the Russian army could still fight even after giving up the country’s most important city.

      So was Moscow not an important target after all?

      Success expert Brian Tracy has a litmus test: things are important to the extent that they have important consequences. Things are unimportant to the extent that they have no important consequences.[2]

      When faced with a choice, ask yourself, what would be the consequences of each option?

      • Want to spend an hour studying or watching the new series on Netflix? What would be the consequences of each option? Netflix can sometimes be a better choice, but it helps to put things in perspective.
      • Want to maintain your apartment by yourself or to pay a cleaning service? Would would be the consequences of each option?
      • Want to meet up for coffee with this acquaintance of yours or catch up on your work instead? What would be the consequences of each option?

      The choice can be different for different people. An aspiring filmmaker may have a legitimate reason for choosing Netflix. Personally, cleaning your own apartment can be relaxing and nourishing even if the economics of hiring a cleaner looks compelling because you are earning a high hourly rate.

      This is where you will need a basic idea of who you are — what are your goals, values and aspirations.

      2. Flip Defeat Into Victory

      Kutuzov managed to turn Russia’s defeat into a historic victory by recasting the problem in a wider context: losing Moscow need not mean losing the war.

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      Despite the symbolic meaning attached to the Kremlin, the churches, the priceless treasures that had been stored in the city for centuries, the outcome of the campaign was ultimately determined by the strength of the remaining armies.

      If you can adopt this result-oriented perspective, many of your personal defeats may be flipped into victories as well. Few events in a human life are absolutely good or absolutely bad, and it usually takes many years to recognize in retrospect, what role a particular encounter did play in your story.

      Therefore we have every reason to look for the good in the things that happen to us.

      This is a very practical attitude, far from baseless “positive thinking.” After all, if something unfortunate has happened to you and you find good sides in this circumstance, you will then be better positioned to take advantage of those good sides.

      Say your noisy neighbors are affecting your productivity. What if it is a blessing in disguise? How can you turn this defeat into a victory?

      • Perhaps you are too serious about life and could learn how to have more fun. Join your neighbors or go out for a walk instead of working;
      • Perhaps you only wanted to be productive while instead procrastinated on social media. Now that your procrastination has been interrupted, stop and acknowledge this much greater obstacle to your productivity;
      • Perhaps you are too sensitive to interference. Take this opportunity to practice ignoring the noise and doing your best anyway;
      • Perhaps you have a victim mentality and the feeling of unfairness drains you more than any actual nuisance your neighbors might have caused. Try accepting this lapse in your productivity the way you would accept bad weather.

      Get used to finding opportunities in your problems. This is the quintessential big picture thinking.

      3. Ask for Advice

      Both Napoleon and Kutuzov had trusted advisers to discuss their affairs with. In general, getting a different perspective — or several — can only help inform your understanding and lead to better decisions. Just ensure that the people giving you advice are competent in the particular area where experience is needed.

      Paying money for advice can also be a wise investment. Lawyers, tax accountants, medical doctors spend years learning how to assist people like yourself in living more successful, more fulfilling lives.

      A quick legal consultation can save you a fortune down the line or even keep you out of big trouble. A medical check-up can uncover potential issues and help keep you healthy and active for years to come.

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      Even big, complex dilemmas at your job or in your romantic relationship can be tackled more effectively by partnering up with a coach or a therapist or, of course, with the help of a wise friend.

      4. Beware of Biased Advice

      Many imperfect decisions occur in response to an imperfect piece of advice that you choose to act on. This advice often comes from a biased party.

      For example, we are often encouraged to buy something that we supposedly need:

      • Protect your skin from harmful UV rays by using a special lotion.
      • Fortify your health by taking multivitamins.
      • Connect with your friends by sending them elaborate gifts.
      • Brighten your weekend by consuming a delicious pastry.
      • Become more productive by getting a faster computer.

      However, most purchases are unnecessary.

      Some, such as the sunscreen, do have legitimate benefits when used properly.[3] Others, such as multivitamins, only make a difference for a small group of people.[4]

      Advertisers of those benefits inevitably want to narrow your focus in order to overstate the importance of their product. They frequently present it as the only solution to your problem, whether real or imaginary.

      After all,

      • Skin can also be protected from the sun by wearing appropriate clothing.
      • Health can be better fortified by consuming a balanced diet and getting regular exercise.
      • Spending time or talking on the phone with your friends is the foremost way of connecting with them, and it is virtually free.
      • Your weekend can be brightened by doing something that you love.
      • You can become more productive by focusing on the tasks that have the most important consequences. A faster computer can, in fact, decrease productivity by making it easier to multitask and by enabling your favorite distractions.

      There are other sources of imperfect advice. Politicians also frequently want us to focus on a particular “big picture,” to the exclusion of the alternatives.

      Even loving parents can be guilty of the same. They can advise their children to pick a career path that is safe and respectable, based on their “big picture” that in life one has to make a living. A child may disagree, however, based on another “big picture” that one’s life has to have meaning and fulfillment.

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      Bottom Line

      It is human nature to make rushed, emotional decisions based on incomplete information, then regret those decisions later on.

      You can protect yourself from poor judgment by striving to attain the big picture when careful consideration is called for.

      Focus on the consequences of your decision before considering how you feel about it.

      Play with the cards you’ve been dealt, but look for opportunities in each situation and you will find them.

      Ask knowledgeable mentors for advice, but beware of biased people who have an opinion, but do not necessarily have your best interest in mind.

      Yet remember, true big picture thinking comes from hard-won experience. Legendary military commanders Napoleon Bonaparte and Mikhail Kutuzov were both injured on the battlefield.

      Clear thinking comes from putting your big picture to the test of reality.

      More Tips on Thinking Clearly

      Featured photo credit: Haneen Krimly via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Wikipedia: French invasion of Russia
      [2] Brian Tracy: No Excuses!: The Power of Self-Discipline
      [3] American Academy of Dermatology: Say Yes to Sun Protection
      [4] Harvard Medical School: Do multivitamins make you healthier?

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