Creative People are the architects of our world. To be creative you must adhere to a few things. You need to understand what creativity abhors and adores.
You are already doing things to be more creative but with no desired outcome.
You want to build a world of your vision, write that next magnum opus, create a painting that would give you world acclaim, or invent a product that would be loved and used by millions out there.
Then, you doubt yourself. “Am I going to make it?”
Mario Puzo, said, “Great men are not born great, they grow great”
The above statement is quite bold. It glorifies Puzo’s personal experience that no one can deny. But this phrase is not just a quote but has a deep meaning to it.
He wasn’t an established author until he wrote “The Godfather.”
Tracing Mario Puzo’s timeline will tell you that his first two novels didn’t help him much monetarily, although received good reviews for them.
At 45, he was in debt. He could have said all these statements,
“It’s in the genes.”
“Not my cup of tea.”
“Maybe I don’t have what it takes.”
“I should be doing something else rather than making a living through writing.”
Taking all the rejection slips and failure on his face he could have given a goodbye kiss to writing.
Thank God he didn’t!
Instead, he did a few things until he reached where he wanted to see himself, while he penned, “The Godfather.”
As you know, it was not only one of the finest literary but also a cinematic work.
The truth is nobody has it until one earns with sweat and blood. It’s not a heritage that shall be passed to you.
Creativity or success in any creative process is much more than the common myth of flashing insight.
Here’s what “Mad Men” Creator Matthew Weiner’s says:
Artists frequently hide the steps that lead to their masterpieces. They want their work and their career to be shrouded in the mystery that it all came out at once. It’s called hiding the brushstrokes, and those who do it are doing a disservice to people who admire their work and seek to emulate them.
If you don’t get to see the notes, the rewrites, and the steps, it’s easy to look at a finished product and be under the illusion that it just came pouring out of someone’s head like that.
People who are young, or still struggling, can get easily discouraged, because they can’t do it like they thought it was done. 'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner
Perhaps you must now not get disheartened even if you believe that there are gifted people and you think you are not the one.
Let’s suppose you are not the gifted one – What would you do then:
Would you stop taking one step after the other?
Or would you follow these
12 Principles Creative People Follow
#1. Creative People: Take responsibility
The responsibility of taking action and working towards your desired goal each day, every day, without fail.
More than anything else take responsibility for your failures and shortcomings.
Initially, I used to blame people for my failures and shortcomings. But now that is not the case, and I have realized that it led me into the dungeon of helplessness.
When you think that it’s your responsibility, you start taking initiatives. You start making moves to rectify the mistakes. If something that you have created isn’t giving you the expected results then perhaps it’s time to take charge and make it work.
In any creative pursuit, one will face feasts and famine.
As said, Puzo’s first of the two novels didn’t help him monetarily. He was in debts and clearly it was a time to take charge. He received an advance of only $5,000 to proceed with, “The Godfather”.
The rest is history.
The point is if you don’t take an initiative and accept responsibility for your success and failure, then nobody else will take it.
When you take responsibility to make the best versions of yourself and your work, you start understanding yourself better.
#2. Creative People: Know Thyself
Knowing thyself is the only way to create better. Your work is a reflection of your worldview.
Knowing yourself will help you in determining the artwork in which you are going to invest your time and energy.
Knowing thyself is going to make you comfortable with your views. Your opinion may be entirely different than the world around you. Don’t reject your views instead, use your worldview and put into your work.
Writing “The Godfather” with his own style is a worldview. Look, how the Mafia world got an introduction.
Get inside your head to understand what gives you a sense of living than just breathing.
Choosing your art is easier said than done. Only when you know yourself inside-out you can choose your art.
Sometimes it may so happen that you are inclined to numerous work or projects. Well, then great. Congratulate yourself because it’s a sign of creativity (but conquer one by one).
Your work is your art, make it happen. Take one step at a time, but make it happen.
The thought of restricting the definition of Art to some age old traditional dogmatic subjects is very much like restricting ourselves to pray only at sacred places.
Any work is an Art if done with a particular style while adding your experience and worldview as salt in food.
Being a Barber, cutting hair with a particular style and adding a tinge of skills that one possesses is an art. It all depends on how you perceive the world and work.
Your work can be a great piece of an artistic benchmark. Only if you first see it as one, and to achieve that, you must truly know yourself.
#3. Creative People: Know Self-Reliance is a key
Perhaps the first line from an essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Self-Reliance” says it all,
“Ne te quaesiveris extra.”
The above line means, “Do not seek outside yourself.”
Trust your guts.
To count on your guts is to be edgy. Not everyone prefers to be edgy. But then it’s a fair trade because the reward is waiting for you. All you got to do is take a leap of Faith.
#4. Creative People: Get Obsessed with work
Love your Art as you love thyself perhaps more than yourself.
The key to uncovering the hidden treasure of creativity is to be obsessed with your work.
Creativity comes at an expense. The expense of time devoted. At the expense of perseverance. At the expense of your involvement in the work.
Van Gogh was not known as a well-known painter during his lifetime. He struggled to make a living as an artist.
He started off at 27. His oeuvre included nearly 900 paintings 1,100 sketches and drawings over his 10 years of work period — an average of about 2 per week — before he died at 37.
But Van Gogh only sold one painting during his lifetime! Sold only 1 Painting!
Do you think it would have been possible without obsession?
It was the result of – “I would rather die out of passion than boredom.”
I would rather die out of passion than boredom. – #CreativePeople #VanGogh
Are you going to die out of boredom or as a martyr in your endeavor to creativity?
#5. Creative People: Find ways to Cross Hurdles
Whether it’s your first step or a middle step of the 10th project hurdles are part and parcel of your journey.
The problem is not with the obstacles. As those are the part and parcel of work and life. The difference is between those who find the way to cross and those who don’t.
The problem is to find the way out to cross those barriers. If you are stuck, jot down the real issue. Try to find out who can help you.
Sometimes people who you know may not be in a position to help, but they might know someone who can. While sometimes people who you think would be the last to help you may turn out to be ashore waiting for you when you are lost in a sea.
Do you know someone who can help you? Ask them or take help of your mentors if you don’t have a personal mentor you can look out for Virtual Mentors.
To cross hurdles is easier said than done. Yes and so, only a few get to the summit. Remember you are one of those few.
Mark my words,
What comes easy just becomes an access instead of an asset.
There will always be a breaking point, and all you have to do is – Break That Point.
“The Firm” by John Grisham wasn’t a great success and took three years to complete while he was working as a full-time lawyer. It was then.
Now, every year he publishes a best-seller.
Most of the hurdles are developed only inside the mind. Or even if it’s an external obstacle, you can cross those. It’s all about the mindset.
#6. Creative People: Know it’s all about the Mindset
It all begins and end there, inside the head. Whether you think you can cross that barrier or not, either way, you are right. Resist the urge to throw away your willpower at the lowest moment.
I was going through a big mental hurdle – A scarcity mindset, and I suppose it was also the result of being around Toxic People – it is covered as a part of this article.
- All of the good concepts have already been written about.
- I need to wait for the perfect time to write.
- Established and well-known writers are already talking about creativity; no one will read what I have to say.
- Well-known writers might think I am copying them.
But luckily I read a guest post – How to Create an Internal Mindset Conducive to Writing by Anne Janzer, Author of The Writer’s Process
Here’s key takeaway – For Abundance Vs Scarcity Mindset section:
- Love and laughter multiply when shared or given away. Ideas, likewise, tend to proliferate when exchanged. Good ideas multiply when shared.
- Guy Kawasaki insight into types of people – “There are two kinds of people: eaters and bakers. Eaters think the world is a zero-sum game: what someone else eats, they cannot eat. Bakers do not believe that the world is a zero-sum game because they can bake more and bigger pies. Everyone can eat more. People trust bakers and not eaters.”
So I decided:
- To write more. Even when I know, hundreds and thousands are hitting the keyboard. I would still punch and if possible much faster and harder.
- To become a member of bakers instead of eaters.
And then I end up writing this –
Poetry Title – Save Humanity
In addition, I am reading – A book on Mindset – Gorilla Mindset by Mike Cernovich*.
#7. Creative People: Stay away from Toxic People.
Do you remember, this old saying, “One bad fish spoils the entire pond.”
You have to be your stonemason
to cut out the toxic people from your life.
Until your seed of creativity turns into a tree of a creative benchmark, you need protection and fencing.
Though you need critics to improve your work. Sometimes, critics are your well-wisher too. They know you can still go beyond your current horizon. They see your potential and want you at the summit.
But these Toxic People are like a poison. They fill your mind with fear and negativity. Perhaps they are afraid that you will do it anyhow what they can’t even think of doing.
Toxicity comes in various forms, maybe in the comments, social media bullies and sometimes your closed ones. Your abode is at the summit. It’s better to identify soon to make your way up over the rainbow.
You have to be your stonemason to cut out the toxic people from your life. #CreativePeople
#8. Creative People: Turn Resistance to Work into Gold Mine
There ain’t a single day that I don’t feel lazy to jot down words. Resistance is always there, albeit for good.
You start off your work what you wish to create and then you face resistance. The opposition may come in the form of procrastination, being numb while staring at the blank page or canvas, past failures, scarcity mindset, social media and other distractions, or a habit of leaving things incomplete.
Resistance is a key to your success. The mighty and heavier the opponent, the sweeter is the taste of success.
Newton said, “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.”
Sumit says, “Every resistance has equal and opposite driving force.”
It’s one and the same thing. The point is to understand one doesn’t exist without the other. There’s no sense to think resistance as a hindrance to your work.
It’s you who decides whether to frown over resistance or to overcome it.
I was reading about the daily routine of artists and came across about how Franz Kafka, gave everything to put pen to paper even when he had a full-time job.
Begley is particularly astute on the bizarre organization of Kafka’s writing day. At the Assicurazioni Generali, Kafka despaired of his twelve-hour shifts that left no time for writing; two years later, promoted to the position of chief clerk at the Workers’ Accident Insurance Institute, he was now on the one-shift system, 8:30 AM until 2:30 PM. And then what?
Lunch until 3:30, then sleep until 7:30, then exercises, then a family dinner.
After which he started work around 11 PM (as Begley points out, the letter- and diary-writing took up at least an hour a day, and more usually two), and then “depending on my strength, inclination, and luck, until one, two, or three o’clock, once even till six in the morning.”
Then “every imaginable effort to go to sleep,” as he fitfully rested before leaving to go to the office once more.
This routine left him permanently on the verge of collapse.
Yet when Felice wrote to him…arguing that a more rational organization of his day might be possible, he bristled….
“The present way is the only possible one; if I can’t bear it, so much the worse; but I will bear it somehow.”
True, not everyone is like him. Not everyone would be able to push oneself to an extent that would result in creativity bursts.
But if you won’t then who would? Maybe someone else, who’s putting heart and soul into the work you wish to do.
The whole point is, that one has to overcome all the resistance. You must understand if you can not eliminate the resistance completely, just bear it. Perhaps that’s the only way.
Because once you understand that even the current flowing across the wires needs to overcome the resistance (there’s a formula that relates current flow to the resistance, check Ohm’s law), you are going to turn resistance into Gold mines.
#9. Creative People: Find ways to Showcase Work
Make people aware of your work. One way is to invite people. Like how you invite people to dinner when you cook a delicious food or buy a new home. Then they crave for your tasty food.
Invite people as you invite them to your new home. You showcase your home. They share their thoughts and might appreciate by saying it’s beautiful. Though sometimes just to keep your heart but you must invite people.
Involve them in your work. Sharing your story and your work is involving.
What do you do – When people visit your new home?
You tell them the story behind it. They reciprocate by asking questions. Then you gladly share more details. You invite and involve them. You showcase your work. They remember you.
But – What if they didn’t like your work like your home? What if they politely say, “Thanks, but no thanks!”
Sometimes your closed ones or friends won’t like your work simply because it’s you and your work.
They won’t visit your exhibitions, won’t buy your paintings, won’t read or like your poetry. They will hate you for capturing that magnificent landscape photo. They won’t buy a home or an apartment that you designed.
Then you feel rejected.
If you feel rejected. If you feel unwanted and ignored. It’s time to think again. Because as you will learn that –
#10. Creative People: Understand Rejection is a Gift – Go all the way!
Downright rejection is the worst kind of humiliation for any creative person. It’s a disgrace not to have any audience. And it’s depressing if nobody likes your creative work, whether it’s your artwork, a photograph, a story or any other creative piece of work. Or a poetry!
But remember – Rejection is a gift.
When Albert Einstein finally found the answer to an unsolved puzzle all by himself, he became famous, achieved glory, and immortality, he said,
‘I am thankful to all those who said no. It’s because of them, I did it myself.’
As a creative person, the primary objective is to start the work for oneself only to quench the thirst of your soul.
The Indian Ocean band that was rejected in their home country, India, was greatly appreciated abroad for their fusion work.
Maybe, you are showcasing your work to the wrong audience. And that doesn’t mean absolute rejection, it just means time to move closer to the people who are going to fall in love with your creative work.
Rejection is a gift and when someone gifts you, and if you politely say no to accept it, then the person carries the gift back home.
The winning lies in showing up.
When you keep showing up, day after day, year after year, rejection would mean nothing. In fact, you showing up every time is indirectly a rejection of their views/opinion on your work.
While you push yourself and work hard, you may get tired of showing up every now and then especially when you don’t get the results. You may stumble perhaps even fall. Creative people fall too, but when they fall – they fall like an almond leaf.
#11. Creative People: Fall like an Almond Leaf
We all stumble. We all fall at some or the other point and even if you fall, your fall must be too great to ignore.
Learn from the Almond Leaf by Eunice de Souza:
Learn from the almond leaf
which flames as it falls.
The ground is burning.
The earth is burning.
Creative people know falling isn’t the end. It’s just beginning. Creative People believe in their vision; their gut. They are self-reliant. They pick themselves up after each fall only to create better.
For they truly believe in Create or Die.
#12. Creative People: Create or Die
There’s a fire within you. You must be vigilant about getting extinguish. Gritty enough to punch the devil of procrastination and abandon your naysayer mind.
It might take time, most of the times longer than expected.
For me, it took ages to write this blog post. I can even bet that if ever snail started writing, I would lose.
But the burning question is “If not now, then when?”
Mark these words, “Great men are not born great, they grow great”
It’s war. For me, it’s Write or Die.
For YOU – It’s Create or Die.
Until Next Time