The 7 Habits of Exceptionally Creative People
Image Courtesy of Author Habit 1: Give yourself permission to suck The most commonly held belief about creativity is that it’s elusive, esoteric, and unique only to the anointed few. While we often think of creativity as an event or as a natural skill that some people have and some don’t, however, research actually suggests that both creativity and non-creativity are learned. Creativity and the ability to innovate are like muscles — the more we use them, the stronger they get. We think that it’s only Beethoven, Picasso and Mozart who have creative genius. That’s not true! Today, we deconstruct and analyze even the most complicated processes. We come to understand that there are specific behaviors and mindsets which anyone can use to reach the desired result. Here are the seven behaviors of exceptionally creative people. Creating more work sounds like a good idea in theory, but it’s difficult in application. The single and most important reason is that we don’t give ourselves permission to suck. As James Clear says, in any creative endeavor, you have to give yourself permission to create junk. There is no way around it. Sometimes you have to write 4 terrible pages just to discover that you wrote one good sentence in the second paragraph of the third page. Stephen Pressfield knows this too. In The War of Art, he names the fear that all creatives have — he calls it the Resistance. “The amateur, on the other hand, over-identifies with his avocation, his artistic aspiration. He defines himself by it. He is a musician, a painter, a playwright. Resistance loves this. Resistance knows that the amateur composer will never write his symphony because he is overly invested in its success and over-terrified of its failure. The amateur takes it so seriously it paralyzes him.” The problem is that we’ve been trained to tie our self-worth to our accomplishments. If that’s the case, who then, would willingly create a piece of work that would be used to judge him? For this reason, Pressfield says that we must turn from amateur to professional. Only then can we produce truly creative work. “Resistance wants us to stake our self-worth, our identity, our reason-for-being, on the response of others to our work. Resistance knows we can’t take this. No one can. The professional blows critics off. He doesn’t even hear them. Critics, he reminds himself, are the unwitting mouthpieces of Resistance.” Resilience is practically a prerequisite for creative success, says Kaufman. Doing creative work is often described as a process of failing repeatedly until you find something that sticks, and creatives — at least the successful ones — learn not to take failure so personally. “Creatives fail and the really good ones fail often,” Forbes contributor Steven Kotler wrote in a piece on Einstein’s creative genius. The way to creativity is to create a lot, and the way to create a lot is to give ourselves permission to suck. People will forget the mistakes and garbage we make but will remember our best works. Commit to the process and you’ll become good enough, soon enough. Put in a volume of work. Close the gap. Creative people love to expose themselves to new experiences, » Read More
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