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.
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.
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:
You’re doing it.