Creativity: 7 Necessary Traits of being an Innovator
Article by: Mary Jurek
There is probably not one single person out there who does not dream to say they are different from all others. So many times I hear people refer to a designer, artist, writer or musician as being “creative”. What immediately runs through my mind is that creativity exists in every walk of life. To me creativity lies in how you plan your day, how you problem solve, how you relate to others –basically, how you make choices to “craft your life”. Point blank. It is all around us and truly in the hands of every single human being waiting to be explored.
I am not referring to being a genius or an inventor, but merely learning how to think out of the box. New ideas and products come from something that already exists. Recognizing opportunities and identifying something that can be re-invented, is being creative. The great inspirational moment when the light comes on does not occur from “no where”. It is borne from an ongoing cognitive process that is built upon one’s method of absorbing information and learning to think in an associative manner. In other words—-connecting the dots.
Having spent my entire career working as a designer in luxury goods, I have come to recognize several universally common characteristics and methodologies that I think define the most highly creative and innovative people who have crossed my path.
Here’s what it takes:
Learn from the Masters
Education is power and the power of education is applying lessons of great success stories and adapting them to one’s personal situation. Established fundamental principles of architecture and design have survived the test of time. Many businesses and products have been around forever and continue to thrive. Understanding what gives them all that special staying power will open the door to creative thinking as a first step. Embrace winning qualities and create an experience that is time relevant.
Left-Brain vs. Right-Brain
Often when people speak about creative individuals they are usually referred to as being “right brain”. In truth, both sides need to connect. The combination of inspirational thinking (right brain) and basic, practical needs (left brain) is necessary. The uniqueness of the right brain idea needs the logic of the left brain to survive. If the product or idea has no use or purpose in contemporary life, it will fade having gained no public acceptance. Create something that is built with purpose.
Vive la Différence
A common trait among creative individuals is they possess a deep-rooted belief that they can achieve higher goals than any others and there are challenges uniquely destined for them. People such as they are perceived as self-confident and not afraid of new experiences. What they possess is a high risk-tolerance and envision their lives as an opportunity to make their mark. Face challenges with open arms, you may find things easier than you thought.
Challenge the Status Quo
There is nothing original by doing everything the way it has always been done. If you do, you already know the outcome and predictable results are not very exciting. Creative individuals do not believe in the status quo, and in fact, usually have a strong reaction against it. Headstrong, rebellious and unconventional are traits that often come to mind. Deep-rooted in this attitude, a creative thinker believes there is always a better way or solution that has not been explored. Believe that progress and change are a natural part of life.
Creative people need to prove something and the desire propels them to reach their goals. That unrelenting quest for approval and recognition fuels the stamina required to persevere and not buckle during periods of failure. Life never operates in a straight line, and these individuals often falter along the way, but they always bounce back and get back into the fight. Learn from failures and use the lessons as a success strategy.
This trait has so much in common with the desire to change things. Creative individuals love to wrap their heads around a problem, dissect and unravel it, then beat it until something completely unexpected comes to mind. This process is so much like rolling out wet clay, forming it into a shape then pounding it down again to create some new form. It is through this exercise that unconscious ideas begin to percolate and a more natural flow of creative ideas start firing in the brain.
Let go of trying to force solutions, they come at unpredictable moments.
Passion and Focus
The mind of a creative thinker really never completely rests because the genuine love of their work fuels their pursuits. How else can they continue to search for new ideas and better solutions without giving up? It takes passion (left brain) and focus (right brain) to acquire both the resilience and perseverance to see their creative search to evolve into an enduring and valuable contribution. Never give up your dream.
Do any of these traits sound familiar to you? If you have always tried to suppress some of these inherent characteristics because you never thought to be a genius, I say celebrate them. Find your art and open your mind to allow that creative spirit in you free to explore its vast undiscovered capabilities. The inner voice of your true nature will win out in the end, because the desire to be unique is the privilege of every human being. Express yourself!