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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.

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      Published on October 22, 2020

      What Is Analysis Paralysis (And How to Overcome It)

      What Is Analysis Paralysis (And How to Overcome It)

      Have you ever taken so long trying to solve a problem that you just ended up going around in circles? How about trying to make a major decision and just freezing up when the time to decide came?

      You might have found yourself gathering too much information, hoping it will help you make the best decision—even if it takes you too long to do so. This probably led to many missed opportunities, especially in situations where you needed to act on time.

      Nobody wants to make the wrong decision. However, delayed decision making can have a hugely negative impact on all aspects of your life—from your personal relationships to your career. Delaying important decisions can be the worst decision of all.

      At one point or another, people get stuck at a decision impasse they can’t seem to overcome. This is due to a mental blindspot called information bias, informally known as analysis paralysis.

      Analysis Paralysis and Stalled Decisions

      Information bias, or analysis paralysis, is our tendency to seek more information than is needed to make decisions and take action.[1] It is one of many cognitive biases that cause us to make mistakes during the decision-making process.

      A related cognitive bias is the status quo bias, which is our tendency to prefer that things stay the same and fear any changes.[2] Together with analysis paralysis, these two dangerous judgment errors pose a threat to our successful navigation through our rapidly-shifting world.

      Consider what happened to Lily, a consulting client of mine who’s a mid-level manager in the UX department of a large tech company. Lily had been there for 5 years and was thinking about switching to a startup after a couple tried to recruit her.

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      However, she had been taking a lot of time making a decision. In fact, before she contacted me, she had already gathered information and talked to a lot of people for 7 months. Realistically, more information won’t sway her decision, but she kept trying to gather more information.

      And then, there was the technology company that came to me after their growth started to decline. The company had initially experienced rapid growth with a couple of innovative products. However, its growth started to decrease—unfortunate, but not unexpected.

      Essentially, the company’s growth followed the typical S-curve growth model, which starts as a slow and effortful start-up stage. This is followed by a rapid growth stage, then a slowdown in growth, often following market saturation or competitive pressure or other factors. This is the point where the company’s existing products reach maturity.

      However, even before a slowdown hits, forward-thinking companies would innovate and change things up proactively. This is so they could have new products ready to go that would maintain rapid growth.

      Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case with this particular tech company. Not only did they not address the potential decline but once the company’s growth stalled, the leaders dug their heels in and stayed the course. They kept on analyzing the market to find the cause of the problem.

      Worse, a couple of executives in the company proposed launching new products, but most of the leadership was cautious. They kept on asking for guarantees that the products would be a success, demanding more information even when additional information wasn’t relevant.

      Both Lily and the tech company remained paralyzed by too much information when they should already have taken action. While this situation isn’t unexpected, it is totally avoidable.

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      As I told both parties when they consulted me, all they needed to do was to face analysis paralysis head-on and make a decision. But they had to follow the best decision-making process available first, didn’t they?

      8-Step Decision-Making Process to Avoid Analysis Paralysis

      I told Lily and the leaders at the tech company that we should never go with our gut if we want to avoid disasters in our personal and professional lives.[3] Instead, I advised them, as I advise you now, to follow data-driven, research-based approaches, such as the one I’ll outline below.

      From hiring a new employee, launching a new product, selecting a Zoom guest speaker for your annual video conference to deciding whether to apply for a higher-level position within your company, the following steps will help you fight analysis paralysis and make the best decisions possible.

      1. Identify the Need to Launch a Decision-Making Process

      This is particularly important when there’s no explicit crisis that cries out for a change or decision to be made. Such recognition is also applicable when your natural intuitions are keeping you from acknowledging the need for a tough decision.

      Remember that the best decision-makers take the initiative to recognize the need for decisions before they become an emergency. They also don’t let gut reactions cloud their decision-making capacity.

      2. Gather Relevant Information From a Wide Variety of Informed Perspectives

      Listen especially to opinions you disagree with. Contradicting perspectives empower you to distance yourself from the comfortable reliance on your gut instincts, which can sometimes be harmful to decision-making. Opposing ideas also help you recognize any potential bias blind spots, and this allows you to come up with solutions that you may not have otherwise.

      3. Paint a Clear Vision of Your Desired Outcome

      Using the data gleaned from step 2, decide which goals you want to reach. Paint a clear vision of the desired outcome of your decision-making process. You should also recognize that what seems to be a one-time decision may turn out to be a symptom of an underlying issue with current processes and practices. Make addressing these root problems part of the outcome you want to achieve.

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      4. Make a Decision-Making Process Criteria

      Make a decision-making process criteria to weigh the various options of how you’d like to get to your desired outcome. As much as possible, develop these criteria before you start to consider choices. Our intuitions bias our decision-making criteria to encourage certain outcomes that fit our instincts. As a result, you get overall worse decisions if you don’t develop criteria before starting to look at options.

      5. Generate Several Viable Options

      We tend to fall into the trap of generating insufficient options to make the best decisions, and this can lead to analysis paralysis. To prevent this, you should generate many more options than you usually would. Generate several viable options that can help you achieve your decision-making process goals. Go for 5 attractive options as the minimum.

      Keep in mind that this is a brainstorming step, so don’t judge options no matter how far fetched they might seem. In my consulting and coaching experience, the optimal choice often involves elements drawn from out-of-the-box options.

      6. Weigh These Options and Pick the Best One

      When weighing your options, beware of going with your initial preferences. Try to see your preferred choice in a harsh light. Also, do your best to separate each option from the person who proposed it. This minimizes the impact of personalities, relationships, and internal politics on the decision itself.

      7. Implement the Option You Chose

      For implementing the decision, you need to minimize risks and maximize rewards, since your goal is to get a decision outcome that’s as good as possible.

      First, imagine that the decision completely failed. Then, brainstorm about all the problems that led to this failure. Next, consider how you might solve these problems, and integrate the solutions into your implementation plan.

      Next, imagine that the decision absolutely succeeded. Brainstorm all the reasons for success and consider how you can bring these reasons into life. Then, integrate what you learned into implementing the decisions.

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      Finally, develop clear metrics of success that you can measure throughout the implementation process. This will enable you to check if you’re meeting the goals you identified in step 3. It will also help guide your goal-setting process—something to keep in mind when you use this decision-making technique again in the future.

      8. Set a Reminder to Use the Process for Future Decisions

      Regularly check if it’s time to employ the decision-making process once again. As discussed in the first step, there may be times when there’s no explicit crisis that cries out for a change, even though underlying issues might already be signaling that it’s time for a tough decision.

      Setting a reminder—perhaps a visual one such as a note on your desk, or even just a scheduled alert on your phone—will ensure that you can catch decision-making cues before they’re due.

      While Lily and the tech company initially had to fight off a lot of discomforts when using the process, they were ultimately rewarded with sound decisions they were immensely satisfied with.

      This battle-tested method will do the same for you. It will certainly propel your decision-making and, at the same time, help you thwart analysis paralysis and avoid decision disasters.

      Conclusion

      Nobody wants to make the wrong decision, but you also don’t want to take too long and miss opportunities. By using a data-driven and research-based approach to decision making, you can nip analysis paralysis in the bud and make the best decisions.

      More Tips to Overcome Analysis Paralysis

      Featured photo credit: Muhmed El-Bank via unsplash.com

      Reference

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