It is a common belief that creativity is something you are born with, and others can only envy. Most creative people are, in fact, just as ordinary as the rest of us. What they have is a belief in themselves, and this is a skill that everyone can learn.
In Change Your Mind, Rod Judkins reveals the 57 habits of some of the world’s most creative people. Here are five:
1. You are what you think you are
Creative people are not especially creative.
The gift that creative people have is that they believe they are creative, and because they think they are creative, they are creative. Creative people live creative lives because they think of themselves as creative.
When Picasso was three or four he was no more or less creative than any other child. The difference was that he never stopped thinking of himself as creative. He was encouraged by his artist father to believe that he was.
Whatever you think you are, you will be.
2. If you can’t find a way, make one
Inner belief and conviction creates resilience. Self-belief carries the creative through troubled times.
The creative person’s refusal to compromise can make them unpopular, but the important thing is to create at all costs.
Critics and the public attacked the early work of Edouard Manet. When Manet wanted to exhibit at the Paris World’s Fair, no one was interested. But he didn’t adapt his work to make it more acceptable; he simply built his own pavilion and put on his own exhibition. In later years Manet was vindicated when the Impressionists came to revere him as the pivotal figure in the transition from Realism to Impressionism, and he finally gained the recognition he deserved.
He didn’t let the critics change his mind, he changed theirs.
3. Think in images
Researchers have proved that the more creative a person is, the more visually they think. The creative develop ways to block out verbal thoughts. They visualise ideas. They form mental pictures of their subject or problem. This enables them to see their idea.
Einstein stated that numbers and language played not part in his thought process. He created ‘clear images which can be voluntarily reproduced or combined.’
Whenever you are trying to think of ideas, concentrate on forming visual images in your mind.
Better still, draw them.
4. Create meaning, not product
What is the meaning of your work? Creative people focus on the meaning of what they do. They ensure that what they do has significance for them and, therefore, for others.
The most viewed film of all time is Abraham Zapruder’s footage of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. It lasts only twenty seconds and can be seen as a catalogue of technical errors.
Despite a host of technical deficiencies, it is watched because of its strong, fascinating and compelling content.
Concern yourself with the content.
5. Create Yourself
Creative people create themselves. The philosopher Michael Foucault observed that modern man’s relationship with himself is to make himself into a work of art. The task of modern man is not to find his inner self, but to invent himself.
The German artist Joseph Beuys viewed his life as an artwork, as if it were a drawing or sculpture to be imaginatively developed. He asked himself who he wanted to be. He then set about turning himself into that person.
The relationships we have to ourselves should be creative. We should think of everything we do as an act of creativity.
Be your own work of art. Don’t find yourself; invent yourself.