14 things highly creative people do differently

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Creativity is a mystical thing. It can arrive in a flash seemingly out of the blue or it can hide like a stubborn child.

We all admire truly creative people, and it’s possible to become more creative by emulating some of the 14 habits below.

You’ll probably find that you’re already exhibiting some of these traits.

As you will note from the following list of behaviors attributed to highly creative people, a lot of it has to do with attitude and perspective.

1. They question everything.

Creative people come up with life-changing inventions and solutions to problems because they don’t accept things as they are. They ask why things are as they are and are not satisfied until they’ve solved the question.

2. They are intrinsically motivated.

Creative people don’t do things for reward or recognition – they do it because something inside them drives them to. The reward for them lies in the challenge itself, whether it is doing the same drawing 34 times like Matisse or doing the same experiment thousands of times like Edison.

3. They daydream.

Like meditation daydreaming is not doing nothing. Research has shown that daydreaming is probably a highly engaged brain state. Daydreaming often leads to sudden connections and profound insights because it correlates with our ability to recall information in the face of distractions. Daydreaming help creatives to explore other ways of thinking. It’s a way to get away from a limited perspective and explore endless possibilities.

4. They make time for mindfulness.

This links to the previous point. Mindfulness practices like meditation is being taken up by many highly creative people. They use the practice to tap into a creative state of mind. It’s also well-known that mindfulness practices induce calmness and mental clarity, which is conducive to creative output.

5. They know the value of solitude.

In many ways solitude is a prerequisite for productive daydreaming. Some of the greatest ideas and best creative work across art and academic pursuits have come from people who pursued their passion in solitude.

6. Their environment is a source of inspiration.

Creative people are constantly on the lookout for something, anything in their environment that can spark a solution to a current creative challenge. To this end, they are also keen people-watchers.

7. They like to explore.

Creative people don’t only explore their own minds by pondering the big questions of life, they seek out new experiences, sensations and alternate states of mind. Research is showing that this trait is a significant predictor of creative output.

8. They take risks.

Truly creative work is work that has never been done before. Taking a brand new idea or provocative piece of artwork public requires the willingness to take the risk of public ridicule, failure and loss of reputation not to speak of the money that might be involved.

9. They draw connections where other people don’t.

If there’s one thing that distinguishes highly creative people from others, it’s the ability to see possibilities where others don’t. Many great artists, writers and inventors have said that creativity is simply the ability to connect the dots that others might never think to connect.

10. Failure doesn’t stop them.

Highly creative people have a special attitude to failure: they fail often but they don’t interpret the outcome as failure. They interpret it as progress. Edison is a famous example: “I didn’t fail,” he said. “I found a 1,000 ways that doesn’t work.” Hand in hand with this mind-set, is the ability to recover from adversity and use it as a catalyst for creative expression.  There are many examples of victims of tragedy who found creative ways to turn adversity around.

11. They are able to get “in the zone”.

This is a heightened state of consciousness that transcends conscious thought and facilitates effortless concentration and execution. This is a rare state reached by only a few who have mastered a skill because they follow their passion relentlessly.

12. They appreciate beauty.

Beauty is so important to creatives that even in poverty artists have been known to buy flowers while the food cupboards are empty. One exquisite piece of furniture will get pride of place. Plastic chairs are out.

13. They avoid routine and the mundane.

Most creatives crave new experiences, dislike routine and anything that makes life monotonous or mundane. Writers are a notable exception.  Many famous writers stick to a strict routine in order to produce a certain number of words a day.

14. They work at unusual times.

Many creative people don’t keep to normal working hours. They work at a time that is best for them often till late at night, through the night or from the early hours of the morning.

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