Creative Habits of Creative People (part 2)

Read Part 1 on this site.

I had read this article, 18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently, a while back and wanted to highlight and comment on elected sections of it. Creative people are not limited to painters, clothing designers, jewelry makers, etc. They can also be architects, horse trainers, humane shelter workers, computer programmers, accountants, etc. This is a topic that is difficult to explain but I will try to  break it down in hopes of providing another perspective for understanding. Part 2:

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  1. They “fail up.” – What does that mean? Remember what Thomas Edison said about the light bulb? “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Artists must be resilient. Many times it is a matter of trying a hundred – sometimes a million – and one ways until we find a method that works. We can talk and trade methods but we do not often prefer the same specifics. We learn to work with negative results and have to learn not to take failure personally.
  2. Asking big questions – is part of a healthy sense of curiosity. Honestly. Yes, sometimes it can border on nosey but hey, curiosity may have killed the cat but satisfaction brought him back! Yes, we are the children of the world who are constantly asking you “why” and “how” until you’re scrabbling for answers in the back of your brain. It’s not always an attempt to be funny and watch you squirm, we genuinely want to know.
  3. People-watching – is interesting. Try it sometime. Sit yourself down in a busy mall, airport, street, etc. and observe. There is much to be learned about the way people move, behave, and speak to one another. This can come out in our characters – their mannerisms, personality, and nature. People can be made of many layers. Artists will sit and painstakingly peel back the layers.
  4. Risks – can help us thrive. Steven Kolter gives the insight: creativity is the act of creating something from nothing. I know many of the creative things in the world today are often labeled as inspiration from something else so people say nothing can truly be original. However, if creative people were actually working off of subject matter that reminds you of everything else in the world, we would not have created it – there would be not time. There are billions of people in the world. Each one will look at a single artist’s work and be reminded of something they encountered in their lives. I digress.
  5. Everything is an opportunity for self-expression – yep, everything. There’s not much more than that to elaborate on this. Expression can be anything from the style in which they speak, dress, paint, write, etc.
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  1. Following their true passions – is not always easy. Some can make it look easy just in the way they handle it. The drive artists exhibit are mainly intrinsic. It is great to have external reward and recognition but we work hard often for little reward. This is also why due credit is important to a lot of us.
  2. They get out of their own heads – and sometimes into someone else’s. You can most prominently see this in actors, especially great actors. One that immediately comes to mind is Heath Ledger’s portrayal of Joker in The Dark Knight. He made a phenomenal impact on audiences worldwide by the degree in which he took on the Joker’s character – and paid a high price for it. Taking on new perspectives stimulates great creative development and sometimes we can become so immersed in the growth and rumination that we forget all external forces – food, human contact, fresh air, and to take a simple break among other things. Yes, we can need help to bring us back and we may not even realize it. I wish every creative person at least one amazing close friend.
  3. Time tracking gets lost – often unintentionally. This is kind of like when we take solitude (see part 1). Sometimes it is so hard to catch onto the flow of creativity that when a swell comes alone we become swept up in it for as long as we can. What is flow? “Flow is a mental state when an individual transcends conscious thought to reach a heightened state of effortless concentration and calmness. When someone is in this state, they’re practically immune to any internal or external pressures and distractions that could hinder their performance…You get into the flow state when you’re performing an activity you enjoy that you’re good at, but that also challenges you — as any good creative project does.”
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  1. They surround themselves with beauty – in their own artistic perspective. Artists have an appreciation for style – some have a style unique to themselves. Excellent taste is subjective but the aesthetics of the environment we build around ourselves can help drive us on and inspire us to create.
  2. They connect the dots – and the possibilities are endless! Vision is what makes a lot of great artists. Often when I craft jewelry I am creating a balance from the materials I have to work with. There is a balance in color, material, and weight. Steve Jobs says, “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. It seemed obvious to them after a while.”
  3. They constantly shake things up – to encourage diversity. Habit is a killer of diversity and provides monotony which stifles creativity. Shaking things up may come in the form of changing the arrangement of the room after a few months, eating at a different restaurant, stepping outside the schedule, traveling to a new location, etc. The fresher the better. Too much moving around, however, creates a large field of entropy which is a downfall (see part 1).
  4. Mindfulness – is not a requirement for every artist. Here the article points out the focusing of the mind. Some of us need to process the events of a day or a special event. We sort the mess and identify areas where we could have performed better. The things we do do correctly, however, are sometimes overlooked (we can be very hard on ourselves). “Mindfulness practices have been linked with improved memory and focus, better emotional well-being, reduced stress and anxiety, and improved mental clarity” for even those considered non-creative people. I think this is something that extends beyond a type.
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I hope some of this was helpful and at least insightful. All I meant with this two part series was to nurture some compassion between friends and colleagues. Not everyone is the same and people do not come with much of a semblance of a “handling manual” but we have the gift of communication. Never take that for granted. It also helps to learn to communicate for what you want and need from others, whether that is respect, space, attention, friendship, etc.

I hope everyone is doing well. Until the next post, happy exploring~


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