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People With The Characteristics Of Both Genders Are More Creative

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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      Frank Yung

      Writer. Storyteller. Foodie.

      Your Future Self Will Thank You For Starting To Do This For Only 10 Minutes Every Day 10 Best Standing Desks That Are High in Quality and Cheap in Price Finally, a Way to Avoid Jet Lag: The Jet Lag Calculator The Best Places Around the World to Retire in 2017 Take 5 Minutes To Read And Improve Your Writing Skills Forever

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      Published on July 29, 2020

      How to Build Strategic Thinking Skills for Effective Leadership

      How to Build Strategic Thinking Skills for Effective Leadership

      Have you been thinking of how you can be a more strategic leader during these uncertain times? Has the pandemic thrown a wrench at all your carefully laid out plans and initiatives?

      You’re not alone. The truth is, we all want some stability in our careers and teams during this disruptive pandemic.

      However, this now requires a bit more effort than before and making the leap from merely surviving to thriving means buckling down to some serious strategic thinking and maintaining a determined mindset.

      Is There a Way to Thrive Despite These Disruptions?

      Essentially – yes, although you need to be willing to put in the work. Every leader wants to develop strategic thinking skills so that they can enhance overall team performance and boost their company’s success, but what exactly does it mean to be strategic in the context of the times we live in?

      If you happen to be in a leadership position in your organization right now, you are most probably navigating precarious waters given the disruptions caused by the pandemic. There’s a lot more pressure than before because your actions and decisions will have a much greater impact these days not just on you, but also to the people who are part of your team.

      Companies often bring me in to coach executives on strategic thinking and planning. And while pre-pandemic I would usually start by highlighting the advantages of strategic thinking, nowadays, I always begin these Zoom coaching sessions by driving home the point that this pandemic has now made strategic thinking not just an option but an absolute must.

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      Assessing and making plans through the lens of a good strategy might require significant work at first. Nevertheless, you can take comfort in the fact that the rewards will far outweigh the effort, as you’ll soon see after following the 8 strategic steps I have outlined below.

      8 Steps to Strategic Thinking

      As events unfold during these strange times, you’re bound to feel wrong-footed every now and then. Being a leader during this pandemic means preparing for more change not just for you, but for your whole team as well.

      As states and cities go through a cycle of lockdowns and reopening, employees will experience the full gamut of human emotions in dizzying speed, and you will often be called on to provide insight and stability to your team and workplace.

      Strategic thinking is all about anticipation and preparation. Rather than expending your energy merely helping your company put out fires and survive, you can put the time to better use by charting out a solid plan that can protect and help you and your company thrive.

      Take the following steps to build solid initiatives and roll out successful projects:

      Step 1: Step Back, Then Set the Scope

      One of the things that leaders get wrong during their first attempt at strategic thinking is expecting that it is just another item on a checklist. The truth is, you need to take a good, long look at the bigger picture before anything else. This means decisively prioritizing and stepping away from tasks that can be delegated to others. Free up your schedule so you can focus on this crucial task at hand.

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      Then, proceed with setting the scope and the strategic goals of the project or initiative you plan to build or execute. Ask yourself the bigger question of why you need to embark on a particular project and when would be the right time to do so.

      You need to set a timeline as well, anywhere from 6 months to 5 years. Keep in mind that your projections will deteriorate the further out you go as you make longer-term plans.

      For this reason, add extra resources, flexibility, and resilience if you have a longer timeline. You should also be making the goals less specific if you’re charting it out for the longer term.

      Step 2: Make a List of Experts

      Make and keep a list of credible people who can contribute solid insight and feedback to your initiative. This could range from key stakeholders to industry experts, mentors, and even colleagues who previously planned and rolled out similar projects.

      Reach out to the people on this list regularly while you work through the steps to bring diverse insight into your planning process. This way, you will be able to approach any problem from every angle.

      Bringing key stakeholders into this initial process will also display your willingness to listen and empathize with their issues. In return, this will build trust and potentially pave the way for smoother buy-in down the line.

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      Step 3: Anticipate the Future

      After identifying your goals and gathering feedback, it’s time to consider what the future would look like if everything goes as you intuitively anticipate. Then, lay out the kind and amount of resources (money, time, social capital) that might be needed to keep this anticipated future running.

      Step 4: Brainstorm on Potential Internal and External Problems

      Next, think of how the future would look if you encountered unexpected problems internal and external to the business activity that seriously jeopardize your expected vision of the future. Write out what kind of potential problems you might encounter, including low-probability ones.

      Assess the likelihood that you will run into each problem. To gauge, multiply the likelihood by the number of resources needed to address the problem. Try to convert the resources into money if possible so that you can have a single unit of measurement.

      Then, think of what steps you can take to address these internal and external problems before they even happen. Write out how much you expect these steps might cost. Lastly, add up all the extra resources that may be needed because of the different possible problems and all the steps you committed to taking to address them in advance.

      Step 5: Identify Potential Opportunities, Internal and External

      Imagine how your expected plan would look if unexpected opportunities came up. Most of these will be external but consider internal ones as well. Then, gauge the likelihood of each scenario and the number of resources you would need to take advantage of each opportunity. Convert the resources into money if possible.

      Then, think of what steps you can take in advance to take advantage of unexpected opportunities and write out how much you expect these steps might cost. Finally, add up all the extra resources that may be needed because of the different unexpected opportunities and all the steps you committed to taking to address them in advance.

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      Step 6: Check for Cognitive Biases

      Check for potential cognitive biases that are relevant to you personally or to the organization as a whole, and adjust the resources and plans to address such errors.[1] Make sure to at least check for loss aversion, status quo bias, confirmation bias, attentional bias, overconfidence, optimism bias, pessimism bias, and halo and horns effects.

      Step 7: Account for Unknown Unknowns (Black Swans)

      To have a more effective strategy, account for black swans as well. These are unknown unknowns -unpredictable events that have potentially severe consequences.

      To account for these black swans, add 40 percent to the resources you anticipate. Also, consider ways to make your plans more flexible and secure than you intuitively feel is needed.

      Step 8: Communicate and Take the Next Steps

      Communicate the plan to your stakeholders, and give them a heads up about the additional resources needed. Then, take the next steps to address the unanticipated problems and take advantage of the opportunities you identified by improving your plans, as well as allocating and reserving resources.

      Finally, take note that there will be cases when you’ll need to go back and forth these steps to make improvements, (a fix here, an improvement there) so be comfortable with revisiting your strategy and reaching out to your list of experts.

      Conclusion

      A great way to deal with feelings of uncertainty during this pandemic is to anticipate obstacles with a good plan – and a sure road to that is practicing strategic thinking.

      In the coming months and years, you’ll need to continue navigating uncharted territory so that you can lead your team to safe waters. Regularly doing these 8 steps to strategic thinking will ensure that you can prepare for and adapt  to the coming changes with increasing clarity, perspective, and efficiency.[2]

      More on Thinking Smarter

      Featured photo credit: JESHOOTS.COM via unsplash.com

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