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12 Things Incredibly Creative Minds Do Differently

12 Things Incredibly Creative Minds Do Differently

Have you ever wondered what incredibly creative minds do differently? The greatest creators and thinkers throughout time are many and varied but they all hold some core commonalities in the way they approach the world.

Here are 12 things incredibly creative minds do differently:

1. They are always learning.

Incredibly creative minds are always learning. They see every day as an opportunity to learn something new, whether it be learning about a different culture, a new artistic technique or simply a new fact. Creative minds are eager to learn, with this being one of the most notable habits of creative people.

2. They see every failure as one step closer to success.

Creative minds view failure for what it truly is, an opportunity to learn and grow. When you’re doing creative work failure is part of the game, it’s inevitable but it doesn’t need to break you. Creative minds are always ready to dust themselves off and try again, seeing every failure they have as just one step closer to success. Famous author Stephen King received 30 rejections for his first book Carrie before finally being published, he like many other famous creators, simply didn’t give up. He kept on trying until he was successful seeing every failure as one step closer.

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3. They indulge in daydreaming

Creative minds indulge in their daydreams because they understand the power of the mind when it wanders. When the mind is not actively working on solving specific problems or completing a set task it is free to imagine, create and dream big. The most amazing creative minds know the power of this and indulge in daydreaming wherever possible.

4. They are intensely curious.

The most incredible creative minds are intensely curious about the world around them. They are interested in how things work and why. This curiosity encourages them to learn, investigate and constantly seek out new and novel ideas that spark their minds and help them do their very best work.

5. They connect the dots.

Steve Jobs once said creativity is all about connecting the dots, and he’s right. It’s about connecting seemingly disparate ideas and crafting something new with them. Creative minds know this well and use it to their advantage by bringing together a multitude of different inspirations to create something truly amazing.

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something.” – Steve Jobs

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6. They tap into the power of collaboration.

Great creative minds understand the power of collaboration and they aren’t afraid to tap into it. When two creative minds come together new ideas emerge, meld and surface with the potential to birth amazing things into the world.

Designers and artists understand the power of collaboration well, for example designer Yves Saint Laurent and artist Andy Warhol who collaborated in 1974 to create some amazing silk screen portraits or the 2008 collaboration of architect Zaha Hadid and design house Chanel that resulted in the creation of the mobile Chanel Pavilion Gallery that traveled the world.

7. They ask the big questions.

Incredibly creative minds get big answers because they ask the big questions. They aren’t afraid to dream big and they don’t limit themselves to the bounds of what they know or what’s been done before. By asking the big questions incredibly creative minds dive deep and are able to get to the heart of the issue at play.

8. They understand the power of saying no.

Creative minds deeply understand the power of saying no. Not every opportunity is the right one and there is never time to do absolutely everything. By saying no to some things incredibly creative minds carefully curate what they allow into their lives and make more time and head space for their most important projects.

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9. They take time out when they need it.

The best creative minds know that burnout is real and that sometimes the mind just needs a little time out to relax, rejuvenate and be ready to create again. By taking time out the best creative minds are on the ball and ready to make big things when it matters most.

10. They seek out new experiences.

Incredibly creative minds are always seeking out new experiences. They are open to doing and seeing new things because they know that within these new experiences is the inspiration and perspective they need to create their best work.

11. They are always open to new ways of expressing themselves.

The most creative minds don’t restrict themselves to one medium or way of creating. Instead they are always open to new ways of expressing themselves. Some of the greatest creators of all time have been prolific in their multitude of creative expressions. One of the best examples is Leonardo da Vinci who was a painter, sculptor, mathematician, inventor, architect and musician (to name just a few of his many creative expressions!).

12. They follow their true passions.

Perhaps most importantly of all, incredibly creative minds follow their true passions. They understand the power of doing something they believe in wholeheartedly and are not afraid to chase after their true dreams. Indeed, following true passions is one of the cornerstone habits of creative people. Even when the going gets tough the best creative minds stick to what they believe in and love because it is what drives them.

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You might also like: 7 Things Smart Learners Do Differently

Featured photo credit: Be Colorful by Vinoth Chandar via flickr.com

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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.

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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.

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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]

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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.

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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!

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Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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