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20 Things Only Highly Creative People Would Understand

20 Things Only Highly Creative People Would Understand

There’s no argument anymore. Neuroscience confirms that highly creative people think and act differently than the average person. Their brains are literally hardwired in a unique way. But that gift can often strain relationships. I’ve seen it firsthand while working with New York Times bestselling authors and Grammy-winning musicians.

If you love a highly creative person, you probably experience moments when it seems like they live in a completely different world than you. Truth is, they do. But trying to change them isn’t nearly as effective as trying to understand them.

It all begins by seeing the world through their lens and remembering these 20 things:

1. They have a mind that never slows down.

The creative mind is a non-stop machine fueled by intense curiosity. There is no pause button and no way to power it down. This can be exhausting at times but it is also the source of some crazy fun activities and conversations.

2. They challenge the status quo.

Two questions drive every creative person more than any others: What if? and Why not? They question what everyone else takes at face value. While uncomfortable for those around them, it’s this ability that enables creatives to redefine what’s possible.

3. They embrace their genius even if others don’t.

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    Creative individuals would rather be authentic than popular. Staying true to who they are, without compromise, is how they define success even if means being misunderstood or marginalized.

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    4. They have difficulty staying on task.

    Highly creative people are energized by taking big mental leaps and starting new things. Existing projects can turn into boring slogs when the promise of something new and exciting grabs their attention.

    5. They create in cycles.

    Creativity has a rhythm that flows between periods of high, sometimes manic, activity and slow times that can feel like slumps. Each period is necessary and can’t be skipped just like the natural seasons are interdependent and necessary.

    6. They need time to feed their souls.

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      No one can drive cross-country on a single take of gas. In the same way, creative people need to frequently renew their source of inspiration and drive. Often, this requires solitude for periods of time.

      7. They need space to create.

      Having the right environment is essential to peak creativity. It may be a studio, a coffee shop, or a quiet corner of the house. Wherever it is, allow them to set the boundaries and respect them.

      8. They focus intensely.

      Highly creative people tune the entire world out when they’re focused on work. They cannot multi-task effectively and it can take twenty minutes to re-focus after being interrupted, even if the interruption was only twenty seconds.

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      9. They feel deeply.

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        Creativity is about human expression and communicating deeply. It’s impossible to give what you don’t have, and you can only take someone as far as you have gone yourself. A writer once told me that an artist must scream at the page if they want a whisper to be heard. In the same way, a creative person must feel deep if they are to communicate deeply.

        10. They live on the edge of joy and depression.

        Because they feel deeply, highly creative people often can quickly shift from joy to sadness or even depression. Their sensitive heart, while the source of their brilliance, is also the source of their suffering.

        11. They think and speak in stories.

        Facts will never move the human heart like storytelling can. Highly creative people, especially artists, know this and weave stories into everything they do. It takes longer for them to explain something, explaining isn’t the point. The experience is.

        12. They battle Resistance every day.

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          Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art, writes:

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          “Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.”

          Highly creative people wake up every morning, fully aware of the need to grow and push themselves. But there is always the fear, Resistance as Pressfield calls it, that they don’t have what it takes. No matter how successful the person, that fear never goes away. They simply learn to deal with it, or not.

          13. They take their work personally.

          Creative work is a raw expression of the person who created it. Often, they aren’t able to separate themselves from it, so every critique is seen either as a validation or condemnation of their self-worth.

          14. They have a hard time believing in themselves.

          Even the seemingly self-confident creative person often wonders, Am I good enough? They constantly compare their work with others and fail to see their own brilliance, which may be obvious to everyone else.

          15. They are deeply intuitive.

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            Science still fails to explain the How and Why of creativity. Yet, creative individuals know instinctively how to flow in it time and again. They will tell you that it can’t be understood, only experienced firsthand.

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            16. They often use procrastination as a tool.

            Creatives are notorious procrastinators because many do their best work under pressure. They will subconsciously, and sometimes purposefully, delay their work until the last minute simply to experience the rush of the challenge.

            17. They are addicted to creative flow.

            Recent discoveries in neuroscience reveal that “the flow state” might be the most addictive experience on earth. The mental and emotional payoff is why highly creative people will suffer through the highs and lows of creativity. It’s the staying power. In a real sense, they are addicted to the thrill of creating.

            18. They have difficulty finishing projects.

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              The initial stage of the creative process is fast moving and charged with excitement. Often, they will abandon projects that are too familiar in order to experience the initial flow that comes at the beginning.

              19. They connect dots better than others.

              True creativity, Steve Jobs once said, is little more than connecting the dots. It’s seeing patterns before they become obvious to everyone else.

              20. They will never grow up.

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                Creatives long to see through the eyes of a child and never lose a sense of wonder. For them, life is about mystery, adventure, and growing young. Everything else is simply existing, and not true living.

                photo credit: Pinterest

                Featured photo credit: galaxy skin paint flickr/Hayley Riggins via rebloggy.com

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                Last Updated on May 22, 2020

                What Makes a Good Leader: 9 Critical Leadership Qualities

                What Makes a Good Leader: 9 Critical Leadership Qualities

                The word “leader” makes you think of people in charge, high-ranking people: your boss, politicians, presidents, CEOs…

                But leadership really isn’t about a particular position or a person’s seniority. Just because someone has worked for many years doesn’t mean s/he has gained the qualities and skills to lead a team.

                Getting promoted to a managerial position doesn’t automatically turn you into a leader either. CEOs and other high-ranking officials don’t always have great leadership skills.

                So what makes a good leader? What are the characteristics of a leader?

                Good leadership is about acquiring and honing specific skills. Leadership skills enable you to be a role model for a team in any environment. With great leadership qualities, successful leaders come in all shapes and sizes: in the home, at school, or in the workplace.

                The following are some of the many characteristics great leaders exhibit.

                1. A Positive Attitude

                Great leaders know that they won’t have a happy and motivated team unless they themselves exhibit a positive attitude. This can be done by remaining positive when things go wrong and by creating a relaxed and happy atmosphere in the workplace.

                Even some simple things like providing snacks or organizing a team Happy Hour can make a world of difference. An added perk is that team members are likely to work harder and do overtime when needed if they’re happy and appreciated.

                Even in the worst situations, such as experiencing low team morale or team members having made a big mistake at work, a great leader stays positive and figures out ways to keep the team motivated to solve the problems.

                Walt Disney had his share of hardships and challenges, and like any great leader, he managed to stay positive and find new opportunities. In 1928, Disney found that his film producer, Charles Mintz, wanted to reduce his payments for the Oswald series. Mintz threatened to cut ties entirely if Disney didn’t accept his terms, and Disney chose to part ways. But in leaving Oswald, Disney decided to create something new: the iconic Mickey Mouse[1].

                The key is to break down huge challenges into smaller ones and find ways to tackle them one by one.

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                Think about the lessons you can learn from the mistake and jot them down because sometimes you win, and sometimes you learn.

                2. Confidence

                All great leaders have to exhibit an air of confidence if they’re going to succeed. Please don’t confuse this with self-satisfaction and arrogance. You want people to look up to you for inspiration, not so they can punch you in the face.

                Confidence is important because people will be looking to you on how to behave, particularly if things aren’t going 100% right. If you remain calm and poised, team members are far more likely to as well. As a result, morale and productivity will remain high, and the problem will be solved more quickly.

                If you panic and give up, they will know immediately and things will simply go downhill from there.

                Elon Musk is a great example of a leader with confidence. He truly believes that Tesla will be successful, which he has shown many times through his actions. He converted 532,000 stock options at $6.63 each, their value on Dec. 4, 2009, before Tesla went public. It was a hefty bargain considering Tesla’s stock price stood at around $195 per share at that time. He doesn’t apologize for his beliefs and has drawn fire from just about everyone for his political actions.

                You can’t instantly become a very confident person, but all the small things you do every day will gradually make you more confident:

                • List 5 things you like about yourself every day (something different every day), and you’ll appreciate yourself more.
                • Work on your strengths and do your best to enhance them.

                3. A Sense of Humor

                It’s imperative for any kind of leader to have a sense of humor, particularly when things go wrong. And they will.

                Your team members are going to be looking to you for how to react in a seemingly dire situation. It would probably be best if you weren’t stringing up a noose for yourself in the corner. You need to be able to laugh things off because if staff morale goes down, so will productivity.

                Establish this environment prior to any kind of meltdown by encouraging humor and personal discussions in the workplace.

                As a president, Barack Obama exuded confidence and calm during stressful situations. But he was also known for his “dad jokes,”[2] his genuinely funny speeches at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and appearing on Zack Galifianakis’s Between Two Ferns.[3] Obama’s sense of humor made him grounded, realistic, and honest, which no doubt helped during some tense moments in the White House!

                Learn to laugh at yourself. Confident people laugh about their own silly mistakes, and when you do this, others will also trust you more because you’re willing to share your experiences.

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                Be observant and learn from the jokes others make. You can also get a lot of inspiration from the internet.

                4. Ability to Embrace Failure

                No matter how hard you try to avoid it, failures will happen; that’s okay. You just need to know how to deal with them.

                Great leaders take them in strides. They remain calm and logically think through the situation and utilize their resources. What they don’t do is fall apart and reveal to their team how worried they are, which leads to negative morale, fear, and binge-drinking under desks.

                Great leaders do, in fact, lead, even when they’re faced with setbacks.

                Henry Ford experienced a major setback after designing and improving the Ford Quadricycle. He founded the Detroit Automobile Company in 1899, but the resulting cars they produced did not live up to his standards and were too expensive. The company dissolved in 1901. Ford took this in stride and formed the Henry Ford Company. The sales were slow and the company had financial problems; it wasn’t until 1903 that the Ford Motor Company was successful and put the Ford on the map.

                Get to the root cause of any problem so you can prevent it from happening again and learn from the mistake.

                By asking “why” 5 times (or more) on why something happened, you can find out the key factor that caused the problem and can find the best solution to tackle the problem.

                You’ll also learn how to prevent this from happening again in the future after finding out a problem’s root cause.

                5. Careful Listening and Feedback

                This is far more complex than it actually sounds. Good communication skills are essential for a great leader. You may very well understand the cave of crazy that is your brain, but that doesn’t mean that you can adequately take the ideas out of it and explain them to someone else.

                The best leaders need to be able to communicate clearly with the people around them. They also need to be able to interpret other people properly and not take what they say personally.

                The Dalai Lama, as a symbol of the unification of the state of Tibet, represents and practices Buddhist values. The Dalai Lama’s leadership is benevolent and aims toward truth and understanding, alongside the other Buddhist precepts. This is a great example for all leaders: if you want to give good directions to others, you have to get feedback from others to understand the situation properly.

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                Encourage communication between team members and establish an open door policy.

                Practice not interrupting team members when they’re talking. Instead, summarize what they say and ask for feedback after you have talked about your ideas.

                6. Knowing How and When to Delegate

                No matter how much you might want to, you can’t actually do everything yourself. Even if you could, in a team environment that would be a terrible idea anyway.

                Good leaders recognize that delegation does more than simply alleviate their own stress levels (although that’s obviously a nice perk). Delegating to others shows that you have confidence in their abilities, which subsequently results in higher morale in the workplace, as well as loyalty from your staff. They want to feel appreciated and trusted.

                Although Steve Jobs was known for focusing in on the smallest of details, he knew how to delegate. By finding, cultivating, and trusting capable team members, Jobs was able to make Apple run smoothly, even when he had to be absent for extended periods of time.

                To know when and how to delegate work to team members, you have to be very familiar with each of them:

                • List out all of their strengths, weaknesses, and personalities.
                • Talk with your team members more to know about their passion and interests.

                Take a look at this guide and learn more about delegation: How to Delegate Work Effectively (The Definitive Guide for Leaders)

                7. Growth Mindset

                Any good leader knows how important it is to develop the skills of those around them. The best can recognize those skills early on. Not only will development make work easier as they improve and grow, it will also foster morale. In addition, they may develop some skills that you don’t possess that will be beneficial to the workplace.

                Great leaders share their knowledge with the team and give them the opportunity to achieve. This is how leaders gain their respect and loyalty.

                Pope Francis has been unusually popular with many Catholics and many non-Catholics. His position isn’t totally traditional, which is part of his appeal, but he also has admirable leadership skills. Pope Francis’s TED talk[4] drew attention because he encouraged leaders to be humble and to demonstrate solidarity with others. This inclusive, kind, and respectful style of leadership is incredibly important for any situation.

                It’s important to spend time talking with other team members individually to understand them.

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                Find out team members’ current challenges and try to give feedback and encouragement so they will grow and do better.

                8. Responsibility

                Great leaders know that when it comes to their company, work place or whatever situation they’re in, they need to take personal responsibility for failure. How can they expect employees to hold themselves accountable if they themselves don’t?

                The best leaders don’t make excuses; they take the blame and then work out how to fix the problem as soon as possible. This proves that they’re trustworthy and possess integrity.

                Howard Gillman is the chancellor of UC Irvine. You might have heard of how the university rescinded a bunch of acceptances, and then changed its mind[5], This past spring, an unusually high number of accepted students decided to matriculate; the school initially responded by rescinding offers over things like missed deadlines. But the college realized this was a mistake and reversed its decision. Gillman and the university accepted responsibility and decided to move past their earlier bad decision.

                Always ask yourself what you can do better or what you should change. Take responsibility and think about what you can do better to prevent this from happening next time.

                9. A Desire to Learn

                It’s safe to say that all great leaders will have to enter unchartered waters at some point during their career. Because of this, they have to be able to trust their intuition and draw on past experiences to guide them.

                Great leaders know that there’s always something to learn from everything they have experienced before. They are able to connect the present challenges with the lessons learned in the past to make decisions and take actions promptly.

                You can either recall what you’ve learned from your memories or search your notes (ideally, a software that you can access anywhere with things well-organized).

                Warren Buffett, one of the richest people in the world, has mostly made the right calls. But in dealing with huge amounts of money, Buffett has also made several multi-million (and sometimes multi-billion) dollar mistakes. He has stated that buying the company Berkshire Hathaway was his biggest mistake[6]. From that poor choice, he realized that it was unwise to pursue “improvements” and “expansions” in the existing textile industry. Despite mistakes like this, Buffett has invested wisely, and it shows.

                To effectively learn from the past, write down lessons you’ve learned from any mistakes you’ve made. Have all the lessons well organized, and when similar things happen again in future, take these lessons as references.

                The Bottom Line

                Leadership traits are learnable. If you practice consistently, you can be a great leader, too.

                Make small changes to your habits when you work with your team, wherever that may be. Most of us aren’t presidents or CEOs, but we all work with other people, and our actions always impact others. This gives every person the chance to develop leadership skills and to stand out from the crowd.

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                Featured photo credit: Markus Spiske via unsplash.com

                Reference

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