Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on August 15, 2018

How to Be a Maverick and Develop a Maverick Mindset

How to Be a Maverick and Develop a Maverick Mindset

Are you an innovator? Do you have revolutionary and radical ways of thinking? Do you have zero tolerance for ignorant people? If you answered yes to these three questions then you are most likely a Maverick.

Mavericks are essential to top performing organizations. They think differently, act differently, and often times piss people off. Think of some of the most successful people in the world, they are typically Mavericks. Think Richard Branson, Elon Musk, and Steve Jobs. However, we will look at three people you might not have thought about when you think of Mavericks. These three completely buck the status quo and disregard traditional ways of thinking.

Video Summary

So, let’s take a look at what a Maverick is, how you can embrace a Maverick mindset, and why you should protect the Mavericks in your organization.

Do What You Can’t!

    “The haters, the doubters are all drinking champagne on the top deck of the Titanic and we are the f***ing Iceberg” – Casey Neistat

    If you have ever been told you can’t do something, then you must do that thing. Casey Neistat is a fascinating person with a strong message. There is no question Neistat possesses a Maverick mindset.

    “Keep your head down, follow the rules, do as you’re told, play it safe, wait your turn, ask permission, learn to compromise… This is Terrible Advice!” [1]

    Neistat suggests we should do what we can’t. A simple rule here is to pay attention to people when they tell you that you can’t do something. The rule… do that thing.

    Mavericks do not play well with others, yet this is not a bad thing. Why should we play well with others? Should you compromise with a person who seeks to hold you back, NO!

    Neistat provides the perfect analogy for Maverick thinking in a short video. Here is a brief description of the video:

    Advertising

    • Life is like going the wrong way on a moving sidewalk.
    • Walk and you stay put.
    • Stand still and you go backwards.
    • To get ahead… you have to hustle!

    Got Beat? Good!

      “You want to improve your mental toughness? Try this: Be Tougher.” – Jocko Willink

      Former Navy Seal and author of Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy Seals Lead and Win is the perfect example of a Maverick. John Eagan nicely sums up an interview between Jocko and Echo Charles during a Q&A in 2015. [2]

      Echo Charles: “How do you deal with setbacks, failures, delays, defeats, or other disasters?”
      Jocko: “Good.”

      What a perfect response! Let’s take a deeper look at what Jocko meant by his simple response—Good.

      Advertising

      Oh, the mission got cancelled? Good. We can focus on the other one.
      Didn’t get promoted? Good. More time to get better.
      Didn’t get funded? Good. We own more of the company.
      Didn’t get the job you wanted? Good. You can get more experience and build a better resume.
      Got injured? Good. Needed a break from training.
      Got tapped out? Good. It’s better to tap out in training, then tap out on the street.
      Got beat? Good. You learned.
      Unexpected problems? Good. We have the opportunity to figure out a solution.

      “When things are going bad, there’s going to be some good that is going to come from it.”

      Protect Your Mavericks

        “What keeps you awake at night? Nothing… I keep other people awake at night.” – James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis, 26th United States Secretary of Defense

        As I mentioned before, Mavericks typically do not play well with others. They create conflict and generally make people feel uncomfortable. Yet, they play a critical role to success in an organization and senior leaders must protect them. [3] Bob and Gregg Vanourek provide the following advice,

        Advertising

        “Mavericks are essential to innovation. Senior executives play a critical role: leaders must protect the Mavericks in their organizations. They must step up and give Mavericks space to operate, providing organizational cover for Mavericks to work their magic and keep the flame of innovation alight.”

        United States Secretary of Defense James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis is a believer in this credo and is a Maverick himself. Look no further than the following three powerful quotes from the Mad Dog.

        1. “There are hunters and there are victims. By your discipline, cunning, obedience and alertness, you will decide if you are a hunter or a victim.”
        2. “You cannot allow any of your people to avoid the brutal facts. If they start living in a dream world, it’s going to be bad.”
        3. “Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.”

        Carnivores Eat Herbivores

        So, how can you adopt a Maverick mindset? It’s actually pretty simple. Become a Carnivore. Let’s end with these five simple tips to becoming a Maverick.

        1. Do what you can’t. If someone says you can’t do something, do that exact thing.
        2. Be tougher. If you get beat or fail at something, remember Jocko’s advice. Good.
        3. Become a hunter. Confront the brutal facts of the world and decide to be a hunter.
        4. Don’t be afraid to give people a piece of your mind. Don’t allow yourself or others to be bullied, in essence, bully the bully!
        5. Use sage advice from Cornell Professor and author of Systems Thinking Made Simple: New Hope for Solving Wicked Problems Derek Cabrera and ask, “What pisses you off the most?” Your answer will be what you are most passionate about, go after it!

        Finally, remember there is no easy path to success. To become a Maverick, you have to work hard. There is no magic formula or magic pill. People are not born to be a Maverick, they must embrace it and work for it.

        “There’s no talent here, this is hard work. This is an obsession. Talent does not exist. We are all equals as human beings. You could be anyone if you put in the time. You will reach the top, and that’s that. I am not talented. I am obsessed.” – Conor McGregor

        Reference

        More by this author

        Dr. Jamie Schwandt

        Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt & Red Team Critical Thinker

        How to Upgrade Your Critical Thinking Skills and Make Smart Choices How to Reprogram Your Brain Like a Computer And Hack Your Habits 5 Proven Memorization Techniques to Make the Most of Your Memory 10 Hacks to Increase Your Brain IQ, Focus and Creativity 9 Game Changing Tips on How to Write Goals (and Reach Them!)

        Trending in Smartcut

        1 How to Prevent Inaction from Leading to Regret 2 10 Most Successful Entrepreneurs and What We Can Learn from Them 3 What Does Success Look Like? Revealed by 12 Highly Successful People 4 The Ultimate Night Routine Guide: Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive 5 How to Switch Careers and Get Closer to Your Dream Job

        Read Next

        Advertising
        Advertising
        Advertising

        Last Updated on May 21, 2019

        How to Be More Creative and Come up with Incredible Ideas

        How to Be More Creative and Come up with Incredible Ideas

        Regardless of how creative you already consider yourself to be, there’s a good chance you would like to level up your creative abilities.

        You might want to write a better song, think of better solutions to problems at work or around the home or maybe paint a picture.

        In any case, the good news is that creativity is not born: it’s made, and each one of us has the potential to be more creative and come up with incredible ideas.

        “Creativity is any act, idea, or product that changes an existing domain, or that transforms an existing domain into a new one.” — Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

        The definition of creativity is broad, and reminds us that creativity is not limited to artists or musicians. It does however require that we have some kind of impact on the domain in which we create.

        Creativity also emphasizes values.

        “The process of having original ideas that have value” — Ken Robinson

        This makes up for what Csikszentmihalyi misses out. For instance, we can make a change in the world without adding significant value. Any destructive act, like smashing a window, creates change, but it doesn’t necessarily create valuable change.

        In short, there isn’t one single definition of creativity It’s up to us to find a definition that feels true and useful. When you know what your standard is, It’s much easier to embrace creativity and start to cultivate it.

        And in this article, you will learn how to be more creative and take a good look at what goes into the creative skill:

        1. Cultivate Focus

        In order to create, there needs to be a focus on creating something, whether it’s a song, a theory, a product, or a sculpture.

        You could also call this “drive” – it’s the initial spark that drives the solution to a problem, or the will to get on your laptop and start typing.

        However, it’s worth noting there are different stages to the creative process: the divergent stage and the convergent stage.

        In the divergent stage, we want a broad focus – we want to be willing to let in lots of different inputs, ideas and insights. This is the time for brainstorming all possible ideas and solutions.

        In the convergent stage, we start to narrow our focus, like a camera lens. At this stage, we start to drill down to a handful of ideas or solutions, discriminating throughout the process.

        How to cultivate focus?

        Advertising

        Take a 20 Minute Walk

        Walking away and getting your heart rate up is the best free tool you have in regaining your focus.

        I know it might seem counterintuitive to take a break right when you’re at your busiest, and especially when you’re drowning in your massive to do list, but the effects it will have on your clarity and ability to focus are undeniable.

        Walking is physiologically proven to release stress, and clear your mind. In fact, most of my most brilliant ideas (and some pretty terrible ones too) have occurred on my daily walks.

        If you give this technique a try, what you’ll find is that you’re much more productive than you were before you took a breather.

        Over time, if you do these walks daily, you’ll quickly find that your to-do list starts to feel a lot less significant, and a lot more doable. It’s all about keeping razor focused, and that’s what short daily walks will gift you.

        2. Build a Structure

        When I wake up in the morning, I start the day with a structure in mind. I know that 15 minutes will be dedicated to meditation, 30 minutes to coffee and reading, 20 minutes to yoga and so on.

        The structure of this morning routine might be boring, but the act of each task in itself has the potential to be, on some level, “creative.”

        The point of structure is that it gives you the space to make time for something you want to do. It helps you carve out the time to do your creative work. Once you begin that thing in itself, you are free to go about it however you’d like.

        Without structure, we can lose focus and can feel overwhelmed with possibility. If you’ve ever looked at a blank page and felt too overwhelmed with possibility to make a mark on it, you’ll know what I mean. How much easier it gets when you are given some guidelines or a deadline?

        The trick is finding the right amount of structure for you and your creative needs. Too little structure and we feel overwhelmed. Too much structure, and we risk feeling limited and stifled.

        Again, it’s worth thinking about creating in those two stages: divergent (less structure) and convergent (more structure.)

        How to build a structure?

        Create a Morning Routine

        Your morning routine doesn’t have to be rigid or so arduous you dread waking up. In fact, it should feel like the opposite. When you get a routine that works for you, you’ll look forward to starting the day.

        We all have different needs and preferences which can shape our ideal routine. In the book, Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey, you can be inspired over 160 different creators’ daily routines, from Charles Darwin to Pablo Picasso.

        Experiment with any that take your fancy, and see how you feel with a bit more structure to start your day.

        You can also take a look at this article about morning routine for inspirations: The Ultimate Morning Routine to Make You Happy And Productive All Day

        Advertising

        3. Find Motivation

        There is a theory that suggests: people will be most creative when they feel motivated primarily by the interest, satisfaction, and challenge of the work itself — not by external pressures. This is also known as intrinsic motivation; a drive that comes from within.

        Think of a time when you did some of your best work — chances are you were totally absorbed in what you were doing, to the exclusion of everything else. You were completely focused on the work itself, barely noticing time flying by.

        Now think of a time when you felt under pressure to perform. Maybe it was an exam, or a commission for an important client, or maybe your boss had told you “there’s a lot riding on this.”

        Notice the difference? In the first memory, you were driven by intrinsic motivation, which made it relatively easy, even enjoyable, to be highly creative.

        In the second memory however, extrinsic motivation was breathing down your neck, distracting you by whispering about the rewards for success and the horrible consequences of failure: likely making it harder to focus on the task at hand.

        For this reason, intrinsic motivation, if you can find it, is what separates the good from great creative work.

        This isn’t to say only internal motivators help. I personally get motivated by luring myself to work with a good cappuccino at my favourite cafe. That will get me ready to write or edit or whatever I’ve been avoiding.

        How to find motivation?

        Connect to Your “Why”

        Your “Why” is your fuel: the thing that drives you forward, that gives you a reason to do what you’re doing.

        ‘He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.’ — Friedrich Nietzche

        When you have a reason to do something, a purpose or a goal that matters to you, you can connect your daily actions to it. Then, each act becomes infused with meaning and you find that intrinsic motivation comes naturally.

        The trick is to remember your “why” and connect with it on a regular basis.

        Think about how you want to feel on a daily basis. What would you like to accomplish in the next year? What would you like for yourself in the next five years? How about in your lifetime?

        Ultimately, the tasks you face on a daily basis, or at least some of them, will connect to a greater purpose if you follow this path and you will find you feel more motivated to create and less resistance.

        If you aren’t sure where to start looking for motivation, this will help: How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up

        4. Be an Expert in a Chosen Domain

        Research has shown that just as expertise in one domain does not predict expertise in other unrelated domains; creativity in one domain does not predict creativity in other unrelated domains.[1]

        Advertising

        So just because you can paint a pretty picture, doesn’t mean you can creatively solve a mathematical problem.

        If you’ve taken one of those tests like the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking, which will ask you to think of a bazillion uses for a pencil, and scored well, unfortunately this is only an indicator of divergent thinking skills. It is not a predictor for creativity all round.

        The good news is, you can train your creativity in your chosen domain. Much like a muscle, you can isolate exercises to strengthen it.

        Of course you can still do a total body workout – or atotal creativity workout – but it means your creativity-training exercises need to come from a wide variety of domains; not just thinking up uses for a pencil.

        How to become an expert?

        Make a Mastery Training Plan

        Following our physical workout analogy, it’s worth applying the habits of great athletes to your chosen creative domain. For example:

        1. Decide what area/s you want to work on

        Much like a tennis player who decides they need to improve their serving technique, you can decide what area within your creative domain you want to improve at. Get specific.

        2. Decide how much time you can dedicate

        Most of us don’t have all day to train like a pro tennis player might, but you can likely squeeze 20 to 30 minutes in a day, if you want to. Whatever the time you can allow is, decide to dedicate yourself to it.

        3. Review your progress

        Finally, in order to check your progress, you can take regular reviews. Decide what your metrics are, and take time each week to check in with yourself.

        How many days did you practice? How did you compare to the previous week? This kind of review can help you stay on track, and actually creates more intrinsic motivation as you see yourself develop.

        5. Create a Conducive Environment

        A psychologist in 1943 proposed that behaviour is:[2]

        “a function of both the person as well as the physical environment they are in.”

        I would suggest that the act of creating is a behaviour and that, even though it begins as an internal process, it’s very much affected by and even dependent on the environment we are in.

        Advertising

        I started noticing how environment affects me when I worked in an office. Over time, I realized that the more people who were in or who were talking, the more distracted I was. If I got to the office early before my coworkers arrived, I was twice as effective.

        I was even more effective if I was at home. Now that I work from home, I know I’m even more effective when in certain coffee shops. Ideally, places that have high ceilings, gentle lighting, some barely noticeable background music – and excellent coffee.

        It’s these little variations in our environment that can really shape our creative output.

        If you’re an introvert, you probably do your best work alone. If you’re an extrovert, you probably do your best work in the company of others.

        This isn’t to say you should find one way of doing things and stick to it: in fact, varying your environment from time to time is a great way to stoke the creative fire too, which we’ll touch on more later.

        How to create a conducive environment?

        Add or Subtract Stimuli

        Novelty in our environment has been shown to stimulate the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that increases our desire to seek out reward.[3]

        If you’re looking for creative motivation, adding some novelty into your environment can be just what you need.

        On the other hand, some people are highly sensitive and when it comes to having too much stimulation in their environment, they find it difficult to focus.

        Experiment with working in different environments. Note how you feel. Note whether you do better creative work or have more interesting ideas when you’re alone or with others.

        Try listening to music, people chatting or try being in complete silence. Try a dimly lit room, try working in bright sunlight.

        In each case, note how you feel before, during and afterwards and rate the quality of your work.

        The Bottom Line

        Creativity is not one particular skill or talent one can have. It comes in as many broad and unique flavors as there are people on this earth.

        To be more creative, take little steps each day. Acknowledge where and when you feel most inspired, motivated and original and spend more energy in those areas.

        More Articles About Creativity

        Featured photo credit: Sticker Mule via unsplash.com

        Reference

        Read Next