When we’re young, we’re super creative. We thrive in art class, where we throw some paint on a piece of paper and then proudly give it to our mom who then just as proudly displays it on the fridge. We have huge imaginations and can spend entire days daydreaming. But then we grow up and real life interferes. We become obsessed with doing well in school, and getting into college and maybe grad school. And, of course, the pressures of work become a daily reality for all of us. But some of us keep our creative natures even as we get older, and creativity and career success aren’t mutually exclusive by any means. Check out the top 10 things that creative people do differently, and adopt some of their habits so you can find the same success, too.
See Also: Top 10 Careers That Encourage Creativity
1. They Find a Routine That Works for Them
The majority of us go to work according to the traditional work week: Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. But creative types don’t thrive according to the 9-to-5 formula and prefer to work on their own time. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have a routine. Creative people, in fact, thrive on routine because they know that if you wait to be inspired, you’ll end up waiting forever and won’t get any work done. Take Charles Dickens, for example: his writing routine meant he wrote from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and then returned to his desk after a 3-hour walk. The need to establish a unique routine is one main reason that creative types like to be self-employed and to work from home. But even if they work in an office environment, they will still find their own routines, such as going for a long walk at lunch or coming into work at 10 a.m. and staying an hour later, because they’re just not morning people.
2. They Have Open Minds
Did you ever hear a creative person shut down someone else’s ideas in a meeting? Creativity and narrow-mindedness are complete opposites. If you tell a creative person something, they will really listen to you and take the information in. Keeping your mind open is a significant part of the art of creative thinking, which is necessary in the workplace. This kind of thinking usually involves daydreaming and realizing that mistakes are not such a big deal.
3. They Like to Work Alone
Researchers at Harvard University studied creative people and discovered that they would rather work by themselves than with other people in a group situation. Naturally, creative people love to freelance because they can choose to work anywhere – at home or in a favorite local cafe – and they don’t have to deal with other people. The rest of us can certainly relate, since we don’t always enjoy working with our colleagues all the time. It makes sense that creative work needs to be done independently since it takes time and lots of concentration.
4. They Are Never Afraid of Challenges
Creative people don’t play it safe. They love to take on challenges because there’s no way to learn without them. In other words, being creative means you’re a person who says ‘yes’ to everything. You don’t want a boring, safe life.
5. They Hate the Status Quo
A creative person will never simply accept things the way they are. They will instead ask ‘why’ and they will then figure out a way to change them. Every single innovator or entrepreneur you can think of has done just that. Steve Jobs wondered why there wasn’t a personal computer and then invented it. He then figured we could do better than a massive cellphone and knew that we needed a phone that was smart, too. Therefore, the iPhone was born which we all know and love. Creative people will never be complacent. The rest of us, on the other hand, tend to have what is referred to as the status quo bias – the fear of change. Creativity and change go hand-in-hand, so you will never meet someone who is creative and who wants things to always remain the same.
6. They Define Themselves by Their Work
When you meet someone at a party, you typically ask them what they do, and you will answer in kind. But you may also say that you’re a passionate baker or love to do yoga or that you’re a parent or married. But creative people will only define themselves by their profession – if they’re an artist, dancer, writer, actor, etc. And creative people care so deeply and passionate about what they do for a living that they tend to be a bit high-strung and overly emotional at times. Not all of us take such ownership over the work that we do (although, of course, we definitely should). If we hand in a project to our manager and are asked to change something, we might find it annoying or think the feedback is wrong, but we aren’t likely to cry or shout. We’ll simply grin and bear it. Creative types, on the other hand, take every piece of negative feedback to heart. It literally hurts them because their work is who they are, period.
7. They Face Rejection by Pushing Ahead
We all hate not getting the job we were so sure we were perfect for or putting an offer in for a beautiful house and not getting it after all, but creative people are so used to setbacks and rejection that they simply move on and keep going. They always have a goal in mind and they won’t stop until they reach it. And then they will find another goal to work toward. Take reality TV star and creator of the Skinnygirl product line, Bethenny Frankel, for example. She was poor and struggled for years to get her business off the ground. But she never gave up and now she’s super successful. She couldn’t have achieved any part of what she has if she let herself get knocked down by rejections.
8. They Always Follow Their Dreams
You might have a friend who quit their seemingly perfect job to start their own business. You were likely confused and shook your head, wondering how she could leave her law firm as soon as she was made a partner, but the reason she had to go out on her own is because she’s a creative person who had to follow her heart and her dreams. Creative people always go where their dreams take them. This could mean starting a business, moving to a new city or country, or taking risks to land a part in a great play or dance performance. We all have dreams, and what separates creative people from the rest of us is the fact that they believe their dreams can definitely become a reality. They don’t shove them down and ignore them to do something "practical" instead.
9. They Listen to Their Heart
The decisions that creative people make are rarely rational or reasonable, and they don’t always make sense. But that’s because creative types don’t believe that decisions need to be rational. They go by their gut instinct and always feel good about their choices.
10. They Value Happiness Over Money
It’s a sad fact of life that creative people don’t always strike it rich. But this is because they’ve decided to devote their lives to what makes them happy rather than listen to what society says will make you happy, such as having a steady, full-time job that brings in lots of money.
Creative people are risk-takers who aren’t scared of change and who always keep an open mind. They would rather be happy than wealthy and like to work alone and decide on their own routine. And they never accept the status quo. If you related to any of these top 10 things that creative people do differently, then you might count yourself in that category, too.