A Quest For Intelligence
Growing up, one of my most prominent insecurities was a lingering feeling of not being “smart” enough.
I’ve always been highly creative, a bookworm, read stacks of books, been writing since I could remember, and was constantly engaged in various forms of self-expression but I have zero interest in math and numbers.
That’s what society tells you “smart” is. Not my jam.
As I grew up, my idea of success got a major upgrade.
Success, it turns out, isn’t about acing trigonometry.
To be successful means to be a good problem-solver.
To be a good problem solver, you have to be creative.
To be creative, you have to be curious.
Personality Traits Of A Creative
Think of Steve Jobs. He was creative solving a massive problem and built one of the greatest companies in the world.
Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb, was originally going to go to art school but built one of the most disruptive companies in the world.
Ida Tin, CEO of Clue, wanted to go to art school but accidentally landed a business course and founded an industry called “FemTech” projected to be worth $1 trillion.
In my circle, I’m fortunate to know CEOs, executives, and scientists accomplishing incredible feats. What sets the happiest among them are a few common traits:
➡️ They’re eclectic.
➡️ They’re perpetually curious.
➡️ They play sports (stay active).
➡️ They’re not afraid to take risks.
➡️ They’re always learning & reading.
➡️ They have diverse hobbies such as fencing, flying, sailing,
We discuss deep matters and contrarian subjects. When I’m with them, I feel like a child. This childlike curiosity is a wonder state to be in.
The shift in my perception became evident. Instead of categorizing professions based on intellect, I now perceive each profession as a unique manifestation of creativity, shaped by the diverse ways our minds operate.
Lawyers, accountants, mathematicians, scientists, project managers— these seemingly uncreative jobs, are in fact, creative because they’re all solving problems. Being in a relationship and parenting is constant problem-solving. Trying to stay healthy is a problem we are constantly trying to solve— coming up with sustainable strategies and frameworks to keep us sane is a problem.
We simply need to rethink our “definition” of creativity.
No one knows what they are doing… we’re all making it up as we go along.
We’re solving problems every day!
Creative is all in us and it’s a choice whether to nurture it or not.
Creative people are happier and more fulfilled.
So why embrace creativity?
Being a lifelong creative, I’ve always felt fulfilled. I’m never bored. In fact, I have so many interests that there will never be enough time in the world to do everything I want, but that’s the best way to live.
5 Ways To Flourish As A Creative
1) Embrace Change
The world is in a constant state of flux. Those who resist change risk falling behind and succumbing to anxiety (what happens when you’re stagnant). By embracing change, you not only stay relevant but also open doors to new horizons of creativity. Remember, it was curiosity that led explorers to new lands and scientists to groundbreaking discoveries.
2) Curiosity: Your Superpower
Remember when you were a kid, and asking “why” was your favorite word? Bring that back. Dive into everything that catches your eye. Curiosity might have killed the cat, but it fuels some seriously mind-blowing ideas.
3) Failing Forward
Failure isn’t the villain here. It’s the sidekick that teaches you epic stuff. Thomas Edison once said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Failure isn’t the end; it’s a valuable lesson on the path to success.
4) Squad Goals: Diverse Edition
Hang with people who challenge your brainwaves but occasionally vibe at the same frequency. It’s like mixing colors on a palette – different shades create the most stunning picture. If your people aren’t challenging you, you’ll never grow.
5) Chill And Play
This is the most important part of the creative process. Taking breaks isn’t slacking; it’s leveling up your game because all the magic happens when your brain is at rest.
Einstein loved sailing. He may have been the greatest mathematician and physicist in the world, but he was a terrible sailor. His family would be terrified when he went sailing because he was dreamy, forgetful, didn’t know how to swim, and refused to wear a life jacket. I’m I know a person like that.
Einstein said he liked sailing because it gave him a chance to relax after all the hard work wrapped up in equations and theories. Those theories won him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921.
Creativity & Flow States
In fact, we can map the creative process the the 4 phases of the flow cycle— another secret to creativity is to be able to access flow states because that’s where all the magic happens and life becomes effortless.
TL;DR: Cultivating Creativity for a Fulfilling Life
- Insecurities about intelligence drove me to value creativity.
- Success is creative problem-solving, not just numbers.
- Steve Jobs (Apple) and Brian Chesky (Airbnb) showcase the power of creativity.
- Traits of thriving individuals: curiosity, risk-taking, learning.
- Embrace change to open doors to new creative horizons.
- Curiosity fuels mind-blowing ideas and innovation.
- Failure isn’t the end; it’s a lesson on the road to success.
- Diverse networks challenge and inspire personal growth.
- Leisure and breaks are vital for unleashing creative potential.