Advertising
Advertising

10 Signs You Are A Creative Person (Though You Don’t Feel You Are)

10 Signs You Are A Creative Person (Though You Don’t Feel You Are)

Paint covered hands, the clickity clack of the typewriter, or the soft strumming of a guitar aren’t necessarily signs of a creative person. You don’t need a stylish combover, nonprescription glasses, or staunch arrogance to consider yourself an artist, either. In fact, people who embody the characteristics previously listed are sometimes some of the most non-creative pretend creatives on the face of the earth.

The misconception that “creativity” is a term only deserving for those who can draw, write, or make music is more inaccurate than the “earth is flat” truthers of yesteryear.

Here’s why you’re more of a creative genius than you realize.

1. You’re responsibly irresponsible.

It’s not smart to act immature, but you take chances when you need to. You don’t live a life shackled to “should be’s”, “would be’s”, and “coulda beens”. This can be expressed in buying your first home or car, sending in a job application for a position you’re under qualified for but really want, or treating your friends to a dinner on you when you don’t have a ton of money. Creativity takes guts.

Advertising

2. You understand the important difference between imagination and reality.

Edgar Allen Poe once famously said, “Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things that escape those who dream only at night.” Edgar was on to something then that you’re probably doing each day – imagining the ideal world you want. You’re able to take those fantasies, evaluate them, and put them into action taking the necessary steps to get there. But, as always, balance between these two is absolutely vital.

3. Your heart’s on your sleeve and your soul’s on your forehead.

Creatives are very open with their emotions, which leaves them susceptible to both tremendous pain and euphoric bliss. You are not unlike this. When you’re frustrated with your children, your best friend can tell when you get tea that afternoon. You just received your 15th rejection letter on your masterpiece manuscript and your wife knows it the second you put down the letter. Creative people are not afraid of their emotions, no matter if they are negative or positive.

“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.”

-Martin Luther King Jr.

4. You can admit it’s not your best work, but you’ll never say it “sucks.”

I belong to an artistic collective who’s mantra is, “There’s no such thing as bad art.” Though we strongly believe that, each of us are able to recognize when our output or the outcome of our vision is not exactly intended. However, you, like us, are able to accept and appreciate the fact that whatever you just created was not in the world before you made it. And sometimes that’s more than adequate. Eleanor Roosevelt put it best, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

5. You observe everything. Eve-ry-thing.

The world is a huge dinner party, buzzing with gossip, eccentric characters, and the perfect fodder for creation of all kinds. Though many creatives carry around a pocket, purse, or backpack sized notebook, this is not necessary. Your brain is a steel trap and your conscious is a straightjacket. Mental note it, and get busy.

6. You don’t wait for opportunities, you create it.

Stagnation is something that all creative people hate, and you are no different. The “routine,” the “grind,” and the “day to day” is never the same for too long in your world. If you feel it becoming that, you quickly seek out new sensations, feelings, people, and experiences to keep it fresh. If you don’t know where to look start wandering. Eventually, you’ll find and create the opportunities you’re looking for.

7. You “fail forward.”

Eric Thomas has encouraged his millions of YouTube listeners to do exactly what’s in the title quotations. When you succumb to failure, you don’t stay down for long. Instead you look for ways to learn, grow, and continue forward. Creative people don’t let their downfalls get the best of them.

Advertising

8. Your risk is worth your rewards.

Creative people are by definition extremely bold. Your actions and plans are easily justifiable because they are normally in accordance to what you believe in. Any time you’re confronted with something that has a somewhat likelihood of backfiring, you don’t run away. You run towards it. Creation, the act of making something from absolutely nothing, is one gigantic risk. Nothing more, nothing less. Forbes contributor Steven Kotler adds,”This is not a job for the timid. Time wasted, reputation tarnished, money not well spent – these are all by-products of creativity gone awry.”

9. You immerse yourself in beauty and talent.

A lot of creatives have a knack for beauty, even if it’s peculiar and unique to their style. You’re no different. From your writing group to your children and the way you decorate your house, you blanket yourself in the things you love. No matter who thinks what about your space and choices, you stay true to what you’re about. One of the most successful basketball coaches of all time John Wooden once said:

“Whatever you do in life, surround yourself with smart people who’ll argue with you.”

10. You chase dreams and live your passions. Period.

No two ways about it, creatives are generally happy and content with nothing but producing quality work. Definitions and standards of brilliance are self defined, and you realize that. You’re the graceful angel taking tango lessons. You’re the old man at the gym dropping NBA caliber dimes and hitting 35 foot three pointers. You’re that really cute old lady posted at the coffee shop piano who I really want to give my number to for convorsational purposes only. Your drive to perform, compete, and produce is intrinsic. So is the true reward. No matter how many or little fans, accolades, or appreciation you have, only one thing matters:

Advertising

You’re doing it.

Featured photo credit: Closeup of young hipster man with digital camera outdoors. Young male photographer photographing nature via shutterstock.com

More by this author

These 20 Regrets From People On Their Deathbeds Will Change Your Life This Short Animation Reveals A Brutal Truth About Life That Everyone Should Watch What You Need to Remember to Deal With Loss in Life Opposites Attracts: Couples with Different Characters Work Well There’s A Lot To Reflect On The Way We Date Today

Trending in Productivity

1 The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain) 2 What to Do When Bored at Work (And Why You Feel Bored Actually) 3 6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills 4 How to Concentrate and Focus Better to Boost Productivity 5 15 Productive Things to Do When Bored (So Time Is Not Wasted)

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

Advertising

Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

Advertising

One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

Advertising

But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

Advertising

It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

More About Goals Setting

Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next