Creativity is something that everyone needs to thrive in the twenty first century. Entrepreneurs, app developers, graphic designers, start up companies etc. are all new emerging and valid careers in this age. And they all need creativity.
Even major companies like Nike and Adidas need to be creative; in marketing, advertisements, design of clothes, shoes. It takes creativity in an entrepreneur to really make an impact, and successful people possess creative characteristics that make them successful.
Here are 5 characteristics that all successful people have:
1. Willing to make mistakes
Creative individuals are often impulsive and often follow their intuition. In order for anyone to be successful, they have to become familiar with mistakes and failures. The reason this is often disapproved of is because there is a focus in our society on fear, carefulness and paranoia. “Be careful” is a term that is often heard over small things. Creative individuals are not scared of being wrong or making mistakes. Success is a trial and error process, so if mistakes are not made, how can success be reached?
“Failure is the key to success; each mistake teaches us something.” – Morihei Ueshiba
When you picture a creative person, they are usually someone who goes against the norm. Creative individuals usually break traditions and established beliefs in order to reach a high level of success. Creative individuals break the status quo, they break rules, they do what they have to do to get to where they want to be no matter what. This is often discouraged and many label creative individuals as troublemakers but if there is to truly be positive change, some rules do need to be broken in order to get there.
3. Independent in thought
Creative individuals usually break traditions and established beliefs in order to reach a high level of success. Creative individuals are original, often believing strongly in their ideas and opinions, regardless of what others believe. Einstein was believed by most to be an idiot, but his belief and confidence in himself has proved otherwise. Their ideas may seem crazy and impossible to others, which is why so many people doubt them.
4. Willing to try new things
Doing the same thing, over and over again and expecting different results is what insanity truly is. Creative people are often willing to do things in unorthodox, original ways. They may fail at it, but eventually they will find a solution and reach success. In society, trying new things is often discouraged; children are guided to universities, get a degree, graduate, find a job, get married, pay bills.
“Do things our way, that’s the way it’s always been”. “Stick to tradition” Creative individuals like entrepreneurs, app developers, graphic designers, fashion designers, musicians, bloggers, artists, authors are all willing to pursue what they truly want, no matter what. That is how change can be accomplished.
“The coolest things in life are things that you have not done before. That’s the key to life: new things always.” – Afrojack
Last of all, creative individuals are persistent in what they believe in. They often possess odd habits that they stick to everyday. They hone their craft and dedicate themselves to it until the results are reached. People will tell them to stop, that it isn’t working, it’s not going to work, it’s never been done before. But to me, that’s ultimately what creativity is about. Doing what’s never been done before.
By embracing your creativity, and by embracing our fears of being wrong and being judged, we reach an incredible level of liberation. So regardless of disapproval from others, embrace creativity and it will embrace you.
Which one of these are you going to implement into your own life right away? Please leave your thoughts below!
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Why Do We Have An Unconscious Bias and How Can We Manage It?
When I hear someone using my name once in a while throughout the conversation we are having, I cannot stop myself thinking “this person must have read Dale Carnegie’s books or must have been influenced by someone who read them…” Have you just recalled a similar moment and it felt nice?
As Dale Carnegie famously said, “Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and the most important sound in any language”. Why did Dale Carnegie highlight the importance of an individual’s name to that person in his “How to Win Friends and Influence People” book published in 1936?
Each and every one of us wants to feel special and unique. I guess he recommends using the person’s name in the conversation because that is one of the easiest ways to grab that person’s attention so that we can enhance the chances of getting our point across. However, I am more interested in this from the other side; hearing our names directly addresses our individuality, our need or desire to feel special and unique.
Let’s park this one for now and we will come back.
Categorization is essential to our survival
There is countless scientific research telling us about how our brains recognize similarities and put things into categories, which has been crucial to our survival in evolution and still helps us with a lot of things from learning new things to coping with the continuous influx of massive amounts of information through our senses.
The continuous influx of information is mostly handled by our subconscious mind rather than conscious. It is estimated that our brains receive about 11 million bits of information every second through our senses, of which only 40-50 bits can be processed by our conscious mind. We process more information than we are aware of. The magic here is the subconscious mind.
An example is when you are at a very loud party where you hear a lot of words flying around without you recognizing each one of them, then suddenly, you immediately catch it when you hear your name. Your subconscious had been processing all of those words, without your awareness, but informed your conscious mind when your name was out there because it was relevant to you.
In order to most effectively process this much information and inform the conscious mind with only the relevant ones, our subconscious employs categorization as one of its strategies.
When our ancestors encountered some deadly predators in the African savanna, their subconscious prompted their conscious mind to immediately fight or flight by categorizing the information gathered through their senses into “predator / life threat / take action”. Most probably we are not descendants of the ones that were frozen rather than fighting or flighting!
Although it is a completely different situation, the same strategy applied in remembering lists. Let’s look at the below two lists.
- lion, eagle, shark, leopard, hawk, whale, panther, falcon and dolphin
- lion, leopard, panther, eagle, hawk, falcon, shark, whale and dolphin
The second list is easy to remember because it is reordered into relevant groups even though the content of the both lists are identical.
Subconsciousness is the magic and categorization is one of its key strategies. It is essential to our survival, learning new skills and processing information as well as bringing back the information we had processed and stored.
This amazing skill has its drawbacks
As a result of our brains’ categorization strategy, we also categorize people, especially if we don’t know them as well as our closest ones.
Imagine I am sitting at the table next to yours while you are having your favorite coffee and working on your computer or reading your novel at your neighborhood coffee shop. I stand up, very calmly grab your bag, and start walking away. Your reaction might be quite different depending on my outfit. It could be much more vocal and harsh if I have a dirty T-Shirt and a pair of torn jeans on. However, if I have some navy colored, 3-piece suit and well-pressed white button up shirt on, you might even say something like “Excuse me, you might have picked up my bag by mistake”. (There is an experiment done by social psychologists which reported similar results)
Similarly, I would not be surprised to hear that my co-worker’s spouse is very skilled and knowledgeable in English grammar and literature because he is an English teacher. However, I would not expect it from my co-worker herself because she is an outstanding chemical engineer.
This is defined as unconscious bias or stereotyping, as a result of our subconscious brain’s categorization strategy. The outfit I have at the coffee shop impacts your response to my action, because it puts me into a different category in your mind depending on my outfit. My co-worker’s and her spouse’s backgrounds make me put them into different categories, which might mislead me sometimes.
Just like we categorize things, it is very natural that we categorize people.
The key question here for me is; how do we truly treat people as individuals so that they feel unique, just like as they would want, while we know that our brains categorize people?
We can overcome unconscious bias
Leonard Mlodinow, in his enlightening book “Subliminal”, suggests that “if we are aware of our bias and motivated to overcome it, we can.” That doesn’t mean that we need to fight our brain’s categorization strategy. We just need to employ our conscious mind more when we are working or dealing with individuals.
Our unconscious bias might tell us scientists are bunch of technical nerds who cannot understand abstract concepts that marketers are talking about or it might say that marketers are some daydreamers who need to be grounded by scientists to the real world all the time. I am an engineer and I love thinking in abstract terms and I worked with quite a lot of marketers who thought primarily in factual and concrete terms.
Spending some effort to learn more about individuals will help overcome unconscious bias. Gathering more information and qualities about them will make it easier for us to treat them as individuals rather than a member of the category we put them in our minds.
The moral of the story here is to recognize the fact that our brains do categorize, and it is essential; but also, to recognize that every individual wants to feel unique. When we appreciate these two and keep reminding them to ourselves, we are one step closer to figuring out our own way to overcome unconscious bias and treat people more like individuals.
What was the most interesting part of this article for you? Share your thoughts below!
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