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10 Reasons The Youngest Child Is Always The Most Creative Member

10 Reasons The Youngest Child Is Always The Most Creative Member

Have you ever heard of middle-child syndrome?

This is categorised as a largely negative psychological condition which typically impacts children who are born second in a sequence of three siblings. These individuals often bemoan their fate and the fact that that are largely ignored, while they may even grow to become resentful of parental attention afforded to the first-born child and youngest sibling.

While this is a well-known phenomenon, the psychological impact of being the youngest child is given far less consideration. In general terms, the youngest or last-born sibling tends to be viewed as less disadvantaged than the middle child, as they are relieved from some burdens of responsibility and are more likely to pursue non-conformist, creative goals. Successful creatives and unconventional individuals such as Charlie Chaplin, Johnny Depp, and Jim Carrey are all youngest siblings, and this reinforces the evidence behind the birth order theory.

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So why are the youngest siblings most likely to pursue unconventional and creative career paths? Let’s consider the following factors:

1. They Are Free From The Burden Of Responsibility

According to a recent report in the Metro, just 31% of all younger siblings consider themselves to be the most responsible child in their family. This contrasts with 54% of older children and suggests that the last born children are free from the considerable burden that responsibility brings at all stages of life. This enables them to pursue their passions into adulthood, rather than being required to assume responsible and well-paid careers, affording them the opportunity to indulge their creative bent.

2. They Have A Healthy Disregard For The Rules

The Metro survey also revealed that last born children tend to be more relaxed and easy-going than their older siblings, with 47% considering themselves to be flexible in the face of change. This supports the notion that they are free from the burden of responsibility, while it also suggests that they are spared the restrictive and scrutinised upbringing afforded to their brothers and sisters. The result of this is a demographic that considers rules and regulations to be flexible and has a healthy disregard for order, which encourages creativity in many of its positive, unstructured and fluid forms.

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3. They Are Actively Encouraged To Indulge Their Creative Passions

The Metro report also concluded that 17% of last born children feel favoured by their parents, in contrast with just 10% of older siblings. This suggests that younger siblings benefit from more confident and lenient parenting, as mothers and fathers become more comfortable in their roles and adopt a hands-off approach. This creates a nurturing and encouraging environment for last born children in which they are afforded the tools to follow their creative dreams rather than being moulded to assume more responsible and practical roles.

4. They Benefit From The Nurturing Presence Of Older Siblings

On a similar note, last born children can also benefit from the nurturing and protective presence of older siblings. This contributes to a close-knit support network for young infants that provides the ideal platform from which they can confidently pursue creative hobbies of their choosing. The relationship between older and younger individuals can also extend into adulthood and beyond sibling relationships, as responsible and more authoritative people help to channel raw creativity into practical innovation.

5. They Want To Change The World That First Born Children Rule

According to author Michael Grose, who penned the insightful Why Firstborns Rule the World and Last Borns Want to Change Itthe youngest member of a typical family is the least likely to earn a six figure salary. While some may consider this to be a negative point, this is simply due to their primary focus as individuals rather than a lack of motivation. In fact, last born children tend to be both ambitious and revolutionary in their nature, as they look to effect positive change and leave their mark on the world through non-authoritarian methods such as art or rebellion. This empowers them to be creative in the pursuit of their goals rather than formulaic.

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6. They Are Less Fashion-Conscious And Develop Their Own Trends

The concept of sharing ‘hand me down’ clothing and toys between siblings is woven into the fabric of society, especially in an age when the thrift market remains enduringly popular. This has the potential to save families huge amounts of money, although it usually means that the youngest siblings rarely receive garments and accessories that are purchased new. The result of this is that they lose touch with the prevailing fashion trends over time and instead look to develop their own sense of style. This creates an independent and creative mindset that is not bound by popular conceptions or style restrictions.

7. They Are More In Touch With Modern Technology And Creative Platforms

The youngest and last born children are more likely to grow up surrounded by the latest technological trends and platforms. Even allowing for the pace of innovation in the modern age, this affords younger children a greater opportunity to pursue and showcase their creative skills. If you look at the latest trends in television and advertising, for example, you will see that online video streaming grew at a rate of 60% at the end of 2014 and continues to outstrip traditional mediums. Given this and the fact that the video on demand (VOD) format offers greater flexibility and less regulatory barriers in terms of output, younger siblings are well placed to indulge their creativity and share this with the world.

8. They Seek Attention Through Non-confrontational Methods

According to a BBC survey from nine years ago, just over 50% of last born siblings found it easy to be humorous and make others laugh. Experts believe that this is a skill that develops organically throughout childhood, as younger siblings tend to be slightly more extroverted and motivated to compete for their parents’ attention. They look to do this through non-confrontational methods, however, with creative output an excellent way of expressing themselves and drawing the attention of those around them. This is a trend that continues into adulthood, with creative comedy writers such as Dawn French and Ricky Gervais all born as younger siblings.

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9. They Are The Least Likely To Unlearn Creativity

According to renowned teacher Jonathan Halls, every single individual is born with a creative streak. While this can be developed and honed in the right environment, it can also be partially prevented in children who are subjected to negative thinking or an overly strict upbringing. We also lose touch with our creativity as we grow older, as the pressures of adulthood, work, and relationships demand a more practical mindset. Last born siblings are the most likely to retain their creative bent, however, thanks to a less pressurised upbringing and the more manageable expectations of parents.

10. They Have More Time To Pursue Creative Hobbies During Their Teens

Although last born siblings compete for attention during childhood, this behaviour tends to subside as their older brothers and sisters leave home. This may create a period of time during their teens when they are the sole focus of their parents’ attention, creating a more reflective and thoughtful epoch of their lives. It will also help them to channel their creative instinct, since they spend more time by themselves and benefit from the opportunity to take on a wider range of artistic and design-influenced projects.

Featured photo credit: eyeImage via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on August 12, 2020

When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

Learning how to trust your gut, otherwise known as your intuition, can keep you safe. Your gut can guide you and help you build your confidence and resilience. My own gut instinct has saved me on more than one occasion. It has also guided me into making sound career choices and other exciting, big decisions. I’m also aware of the times when I’ve gone against my instincts and really regretted it later, wondering why I didn’t tune in to that valuable internal voice that we all have within us.

In this article, we’re going to explore why and how you should listen to your gut, as well as some concrete tips on how to make sure you’re making the most out of your gut instincts.

How to Listen to Your Gut

The key when making any big decision is to always take a minute to listen well to yourself and your inner compass. If you hear your actual voice saying yes while inside you’re silently screaming no, my advice is to ask for some time to think, or simply take a breath and pause before the yes or no escapes your mouth.

Use that moment to breathe, check in with yourself, and give the answer that feels congruent with who you are and what you want, not the one that always involves following the herd. Trusting your gut means having the courage to not simply go with the majority. It can be about holding your own. Here’s how to hone that skill for yourself and reap the rewards.

1. Tune Into Your Body

Your body gives you clues when you’re faced with a big decision. There are many visible and obvious symptoms that we feel in uncomfortable situations. Our body’s reaction is often something that we might try to hide, for example, blushing, being lost for words, or shaking. There are things we might do to try and hide that physical reaction, whether it’s wearing makeup, having a glass of wine or coffee to perk us up a bit, or learning to control our nerves.

However, paying attention to your body when you experience these feelings of anxiety can teach you so much and help you to make sound choices. Some people will experience an actual “gut” feeling of stomach ache or indigestion in an uncomfortable situation.

Ask yourself what’s really going on here, and explore what is happening behind your body’s response to the situation. What can your reaction or instinct teach you? Understanding that can be a clue and can help you either learn something about yourself, the situation, or other people. The answers are often within us.

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Sometimes we’ll get this “something’s not right here” feeling and cannot quite put our finger on it or explain it. That can still be incredibly useful and really guide us away from danger, even if we don’t know the reason.

In his book, Blink, Malcolm Gladwell also argues this, making the point that sometimes our subconscious is better at processing the answer we need, and that we don’t necessarily need to take time to collect hours and hours of information to come to a reliable conclusion[1].

2. Ensure Your Head Is Clear Before Making a Decision

Energy, sleep, and good nutrition are so vital to nourishing our minds, as well as our bodies. There are times when your instinct could lead you astray, and one of these is when you are hungry, “hangry” (angry because you’re hungry!), tired, or anxious. If this is the case–and it may sound obvious–do consider sleeping or eating on it before making an important choice.

There is, in fact, a connection between our gut and our brain[2], which is where terms like “butterflies in the stomach” and “gut-wrenching” originate from. Stress and emotions can cause physical feelings, and ignoring them might do more harm than good.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Say What You Think and Feel

Listening to your gut and really paying attention to it might involve standing up and being counted, calling something out, or taking a stand. As someone who works for myself, I’ve become used to following the less-travelled road, and that’s given me the chance to strike out on my own in other ways, too.

As they tell you in the planes, “put your own oxygen mask on first,” and part of that self-reliance is knowing what you really want and like and what is safe and good for you, including what resonates with your personal and business values. Making good decisions with this in mind means making choices that do not go against your own beliefs, even when it may mean taking a stand. This is part of trusting yourself and trusting your instincts.

This does not always mean taking the “safe” option, although keeping ourselves safe is an important part of the process. This is how we learn and grow, by following our own inner compass. When you do take risks, go outside of your comfort zone, or choose the less popular option, spending some time researching the facts can stand us in good stead, too.

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4. Do Your Research If Something Feels Off

As well as listening to our instincts, we can also back up the evidence for our chosen course of action before taking the leap. I had a gut feeling about the need for a learning and development network when I noticed my clients getting stuck with the same problems. I set up and now run such a network, but instead of simply going for it, without evidence, I followed up on my instinct with research.

Having confidence in your gut instinct through these kinds of tests can help to minimize your risks, as well as spur you on. It will encourage you to trust your gut again in the future and trust that you are an expert with foresight and experience. You are!

5. Challenge Your Assumptions

When you look at the assumptions your making, this could be the clue to mistakes you are making.

In order to check that our instincts are wise, we need to ask ourselves what blanks we might be filling in, either consciously or unconsciously. This is true not just when it comes to our own decision-making. It’s also true when we are listening to someone explain a problem or situation, and we’re about to jump in and give some advice. If we can learn to be aware of our own assumptions, we can become better listeners and better decision makers, too.

A useful tool to become more aware of your assumptions before making a final decision is simply to ask yourself, “What assumptions am I making about this situation or person?”

6. Educate Yourself on Unconscious Bias

Unconscious bias is something we all have, and it can trip us up big time!

There is a vital caveat to bear in mind when wondering about whether you can trust your gut and the feelings your body gives you, and that’s having an awareness of your unconscious bias. Understanding your own bias–which is hard to do because it literally does happen in our subconscious–can help you to make stronger, better, decisions instead of re-confirming your view of the world over and over again.

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Bias exists, and it’s part of the human condition. All of us have it, and it colors our decisions and can impact on our performance without us realizing.

Unconscious bias happens at a subconscious level in our brains. Our subconscious brain processes information so much faster than our conscious brain. Quick decisions we make in our subconscious are based on both our societal conditioning and how our families raised us.

Our brains process hundreds of thousands of pieces of information daily. We unconsciously categorize and format that information into patterns that feel familiar to us. Aspects such as gender, disability, class, sexuality, body shape and size, ethnicity, and what someone does for a job can all quickly influence decisions we make about people and the relationships we choose to form. Our unconscious bias can be very subtle and go unnoticed..

We naturally tend to gravitate towards people similar to ourselves, favoring people who we see as belonging to the same “group” as us. Being able to make a quick decision about whether someone is part of your group and distinguish friend from foe was what helped early humans to survive. Conversely, we don’t automatically favor people who we don’t immediately relate to or easily connect with.

The downside of that human instinct to seek out similar people is the potential for prejudice, which seems to be hard-wired into human cognition, no matter how open-minded we believe ourselves to be. And these stereotypes we create can be wrong. If we only spend our time with and employ people similar to ourselves, it can create prejudices, as well as stifle fresh thinking and innovation.

We may feel more natural or comfortable working with other people who share our own background and/or opinions than collaborating with people who don’t look, talk, or think like us. However, diversity is not just morally right; having a mix of different people and perspectives that can be genuinely heard is also a valuable way to counter groupthink. Diversity stretches us to think more critically and creatively.

7. Trust Yourself

It is possible to learn how to truly trust yourself[3]. Like any talent or skill, practicing trusting your gut is the best way to get really good at it. When people talk about having great intuition or being good decision-makers, it’s because they’ve worked at honing those skills, made mistakes, learned from them, and tried again.

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Looking back at decisions you’ve made, what you did, what the outcome was, and what you’ve learned can help you become a stronger decision maker and develop solid self-trust and resilience. Making a mistake does not mean you are not great at decision-making; it’s a chance to grow and learn, and the only mistake is to ignore the lesson in that experience.

If you are in the habit of asking others for their input, then the trick here is to choose your inner circle wisely. Having a sounding board of people who have your best interests at heart is a valuable asset, and, combined with your own excellent instincts, can make you a champion decision maker.

The Bottom Line

The above tips are all actionable and easy to start immediately. It’s simply about switching your thinking around, slowing down, and taking great care of this amazing machine that is your body and mind!

Learning how to trust your gut is one of the most fundamental ways to make decisions that will help you lead the life you want and need. Tune into what your body is telling you and start making good decisions today.

More Tips on How to Trust Your Gut

Featured photo credit: Acy Varlan via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Science of People: Learn to Trust Your Gut Instincts: The Science Behind Thin-slicing
[2] Harvard Health Publishing: The gut-brain connection
[3] Psych Central: 3 Ways to Develop Self-Trust

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