Hippies, artists, entrepreneurs, drops outs, dreamers and all kinds of creative thinkers are sometimes thought to lack the discipline to lead a responsible life.
However, many of the perceived weaknesses of creative thinkers are actually strengths. If you ever doubt your life choices as a creative thinker, be reassured. Your chosen path is valuable and you can make a difference in the world far greater than a humdrum, average life ever could.
Society is never quick to praise and acknowledge the dreamers of the world. For the sake of stability, and profit, the corporate world would rather we were reliable and diligent and save our creativity for choosing what to buy rather than what to create. So living a creative life is an act of rebellion against a society that is dull and controlling. When we embrace our creative dreams, we bring into being a world beyond current understanding and imagination. When we follow our creative dreams we live a fuller and richer life.
The difficulty of being a creative thinker
But being a creative thinker in current society can be hard. It’s easy to take the criticism of others to heart and to fall for the lie that hard work, diligence, and discipline are the only ways to live a worthwhile life. It’s also easy to believe that outward signs of success, such as money and status are worthwhile. Those who choose to live a creative life may find they achieve less of these outward signs of success. They may be seen as wasters or failures and they may even believe that about themselves. They may not make much money from their creative pursuits and they will rarely achieve positions of status. This makes the path of the creative life seem hard at times.
But the benefits often outweigh these drawbacks. The sense of joy and satisfaction that creativity brings can make for a more satisfying life than any corporate job, big bank balance or position of status can achieve.
When we break down some of the perceived weaknesses of creative thinkers, we begin to understand that they are true strengths.
Weakness 1. Being unrealistic.
Creative thinkers are often accused of being unrealistic. They are told they need to be more practical and down-to-earth. It is not easy for them to care about the things they are supposed to care about, such as beautiful homes, fancy cars and holidays and designer clothes. They are accused of being irresponsible when they choose to take a day off to walk on the beach instead of staying at their desks or in their studios. But creative thinkers know that new ideas don’t come from stale old patterns. They have faith in their intuition. There is a sense of bigger forces at work and they choose to trust that these energies will lead them to the places they need to be.
Weakness 2. Being selfish
People often distrust creative thinkers. They don’t see why creative should be able to follow their passions while everyone else has to do the hard work. ‘Someone has to clean up the rubbish’ less creative people cry. ‘It’s selfish of you not to do your part’. But everyone has the choice to be creative in his or her life. By choosing a creative path, the creative person does not stop anyone else from choosing it. Actually, there can be a creative element to any life. Creativity is as much a state of mind as it is an action.
Weakness 3. An inability to hold down a normal job
Many creatives are criticized for not settling down to a proper job. In our current society, we seem obsessed with ‘what people do’. Saying you are a doctor or lawyer is often met with approval. But for the creative, unless they reach the dizzy heights of stardom, there may be an uncomfortable pause when they mention what they do. Creatives do find it hard to hold down a normal job. They do get bored easily. They find it hard to stick to a monotonous routine in which they can see little value. But this is not a weakness it is a great strength. We need creative thinkers and dreamers to imagine what society can be and to begin to bring those ideas into being.
Weakness 4. An inability to focus
To some, it can seem that the creative thinker can never focus on one thing long enough. But creative thinking is about bringing ideas together to create something new. That’s why the most creative people have multiple interests. They may seem scatter-brained to others but this curiosity is actually at the heart of their creativity. Once creative people fit the pieces together they will have made something new. The word focus means taking a narrow view whereas for the creative it is important to expand their outlook and look at a bigger picture.
Weakness 5. Thinking differently
Society views with suspicion those who do not conform to the status quo. Society has always silenced and dismissed big thinkers and dreamers. Think of Joseph Lister who developed the idea of using antiseptic to reduce infection after surgery. He met with ridicule for his idea that invisible germs were causing the infection. All big changes in thinking, from scientific to political involve someone taking a leap from the conventional way of thinking about things. This is how we move forwards as a society. Unfortunately, many powerful people are invested in society as it is. If they think a new idea will affect their status, power and profits they will do anything to quash it.
But far from being a weakness, thinking differently is a brave and inspirational way to live your life. Questioning current assumptions is the only way to move forwards. There are very few things about the world that we know for sure, and when we stick to rigid ideas they become dogma and do not allow for new ways of thinking and for progress.
The idea that creative thinkers are flawed because they refuse to adhere to society’s norms is gradually changing. Most people in business and politics realize that we need big thinkers and creative dreamers to move society forward. But there still seems to be an idea that having a proper job, high income and luxury lifestyle are the greatest things we could aspire, too. Creative thinkers don’t buy into these ideas. They believe that the freedom to be curious and inspired, to think differently and follow their intuition offer greater satisfaction than a conventional materialistic lifestyle ever could.
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