We’ve all had those moments when a colleague or friend makes a suggestion so out of the box and creative that we find ourselves thinking, ‘where on Earth did that come from?’ And if you're a creative yourself, such as a writer, designer or artist, you might even have found yourself wondering the same thing from time to time! So what actually makes a creative person tick, and how do they see the world differently from others?
Creativity has actually been a part of human existence for much longer than you might think. Even half a million years ago, our African ancestors were making tools that were a lot more ornate and well, beautiful, than they needed to be to perform their use. And we are all, of course, familiar with the famous ancient cave art that still fascinates us today.
Making the imagined real
While we see creative people as having more of an abstract set of skills, their talents have real-life implications for those around them. The real talent of the creative individual is to imagine or visualize something that doesn’t exist yet, and show more ‘practical’ people the way to making it happen. It all sounds a bit mystical, and perhaps that’s why great artists, musicians, writers, and performers intrigue us the way they do. And in truth, we still really have no idea what happens in the brain of a creative person! We know they tend to have a creative ‘time’ – often early in the morning or late at night, and that it’s a lot more complicated than right brain versus left brain, but for the most part it’s still a mystery.
Today, we still rely on creatives to come up with ideas for real-life challenges. One such example is in the field of digital marketing, where we depend on creative people to come up with wording and visualize imagery that will appeal to a particular audience, and brainstorm concepts that will eventually become a real-world campaign.
What they do differently
There are a couple of traits that highly creative people seem to have in common:
They're always curious:
Always eager to examine something from another angle, get a fresh perspective on an issue, or just learn something new, creatives tend to remain curious throughout their lives. They're always asking why, either actively or in solitary thought.
They find a challenge motivating:
Rather than being motivated by desire for success or acclaim, creatives seem to find an inner motivation for overcoming a challenge. This is something that anyone who is trying to come up with a creative solution can actually use – by asking yourself about the reasons behind what you're trying to accomplish. Once you have a better understanding of why it’s actually important for you to accomplish something, there’s a much better chance that inner creative fire will spark for you!
They daydream and seek solitude:
We all know that really creative people can find it difficult to stick to the 9 to 5 routine, and for some of them their imaginary world can even become more important to them than the real one at times. But daydreaming seems to be an intrinsic part of the creative process, a time when the brain makes connections between ideas that might not be obvious at first. As a result, many of them seek out alone time when they can let their minds wander without fear of being interrupted.
Failure doesn’t faze them much:
In creative work, you often need to try a few different options before you find the right one, and creative people understand that this is all just part of the process. This can carry over into the rest of their lives, where every mistake is just another opportunity to learn and explore different paths and options.
They're not afraid to take risks:
Tied in with not letting the fear of failure stop you from giving something a go, creatives understand the concept of something being ‘so crazy, it just might work’! Thinking outside the box means leaving the safety of the box, so creative people understand that taking risks is a necessary part of their role.
They can extract order from chaos:
Creative people often have a messy desk, and in fact it’s been shown that they actually tend to have a higher tolerance for disorder and disarray. One of their talents, putting complicated concepts into plain language or coming up with appropriate metaphors for a situation, seems to be tied in with this ability.
So if you're trying to be more creative in your daily life, seek a little alone time to daydream, get curious about the world around you… and let your desk get a little cluttered!