People who are highly creative do these 17 things (without even realizing it)

When I think about creativity, I often hear people say it’s this elusive, mysterious quality that’s hard to grasp.

But when you really break it down, it’s actually simpler than you might think.

At its core, creativity is all about doing things differently – and there are countless ways you can mix up a routine or action to make it “creative.”

However, there’s a distinction between creativity that has purpose and creativity that doesn’t quite hit the mark. True genius lies in knowing how to do things differently in a way that truly matters.

So, if you catch yourself doing these things, you just might be a creative genius in disguise. Let’s dive in!

1. “Why? How? What if?”

The very first step towards unleashing your inner creative genius is asking questions.

Every highly creative person I’ve encountered has a natural curiosity about the world. They constantly ask why things are the way they are.

And the reason behind this?

Simple – it’s their way of understanding how to make a difference and approach things from a fresh perspective.

It might not seem like a groundbreaking habit, but the important thing is that you have to start somewhere. By asking questions, you’re opening the door to endless possibilities and creative solutions.

2. They Experiment

At the heart of creativity lies the willingness to experiment. To be truly creative is to approach things in a way they’ve never been tackled before.

And, more often than not, that involves a little (or a lot) of experimentation.

Creative geniuses are always eager to experiment, simply because they understand that it’s the best path to discovering the solution that truly works.

After all, you can’t claim you’ve tried the best approach if you haven’t explored every option, right?

3. Failure? Bring it on!

When you think of “creativity” and “genius,” don’t be fooled into thinking they’re synonymous with “perfection.”

I’ve encountered numerous creative geniuses who have experienced failure – and some even find their greatest achievements or thrills through their missteps.

While many people (myself included) may not be the biggest fans of failure, highly creative individuals embrace it wholeheartedly.

But why?

The reasons may vary, but they all tie back to their unwavering determination to continually discover more inventive ways to tackle challenges. Embracing failure simply fuels their creative fire.

4. There’s Got to be a Better Way

In my opinion, there’s a distinction between “genuine” creativity and simply doing things differently for the sake of novelty.

While creative geniuses dabble in both, they tend to gravitate towards “solutions that work” rather than “solutions that stand out.”

These individuals, much like many non-creative people, also aspire to make the world a better place.

The key difference? They choose an unconventional path to achieve their goals. And sometimes, that different approach turns out to be far superior.

5. It’s About the Journey, Not Just the Destination

Now, before you jump to conclusions, let me clarify: results do matter.

They serve as markers that a goal has been accomplished, and your hard work hasn’t been in vain.

However, in the realm of creativity, results aren’t always the primary focus.

The creative geniuses I’ve encountered seem to enjoy failure as much as success.

For them, it’s not solely about the outcome, but the process of achieving it.

It may sound cliché, but this is one of those instances where the journey truly holds greater importance than the destination.

6. Lost in Thought (Or Not At All)

This might vary from person to person, but one thing I’ve consistently noticed about creative individuals is their tendency to space out.

However, the reasons behind this might be a bit different than you’d expect.

Sure, creative people often get lost in their thoughts, but there are also times when their minds might be completely blank.

This is their way of giving their brains a much-needed break before diving back into the grind. It’s just more noticeable since they do it so frequently, almost like a creative recharge.

7. Sensitive To Changes

Have you ever picked up on small changes or differences before other people?

Creative people tend to notice any small differences in their environment, primarily because they’re fine-tuned to either create or evaluate these differences.

It’s not so much attention to detail as it is just “attention”.

Noticing different things means noticing a lot of opportunities – ones where you can exercise your creativity.

8. Always Willing To Try New Things

I’ve always envied a creative person’s fearlessness.

They’re not reckless, mind you – but they’re far more willing to do new things compared to the average person.

I think it’s because creativity in all of us is hardwired to do something different.

In most cases, doing something different is equal to doing something new.

Creative people understand that we all have routines that we fall into, and sometimes the best way to be creative is to break out of them.

9. Willing To Help Others

Selfishness and creativity don’t mix.

If you’re trying to do something different, you need input from literally anything or anyone.

As a result, you’re less likely to be self-centered and focus your opinions on yourself.

The creative geniuses I know aren’t snobs, even if their accomplishments might seem to make them out that way.

They’re always willing to help and listen to others since creativity can sometimes be a collaborative effort.

10. Stubborn With An Idea

A creative person can be very difficult to shake off if they’ve latched on to a potential idea.

“Why can’t we do it differently?” is a phrase I’ve heard a lot from my creative friends, and it’s usually my sign to say: “Okay, good luck!”

A creative genius will always know when an idea is worth following through, and they’ll go through a lot to make it happen.

It’s admirable, but it can also make you seem a bit stubborn and pig-headed at times.

11. Full Of Determination

Closely following my previous point: creative people are determined.

Sometimes without even knowing it! I’ve stumbled across my friends stuck on something for hours that could be solved within minutes if they did it the usual way.

But that’s just your normal creativity and curiosity “muscles” at work.

You won’t be at rest thinking that there’s another possibility of doing things differently but with the same results, and the drive to accomplish it is hard to shake off.

12. Empathetic Towards Problems

A creative genius tends to “feel” things out instead of thinking about them, at least at the beginning.

It’s their way of connecting closely with what they’re dealing with, so their brain can think of creative ways to go around it.

As a result, these people are often empathetic and can pick up on the emotions and changes in others easily.

They’re surprisingly insightful and can offer you a fresh perspective on many things.

13. Well-Experienced With Life

Creativity tends to land you in interesting situations. Not always good, but not always bad either.

The creative geniuses I know have had a lot of life experiences, usually because of their unique and creative way to go about things.

If you’ve had a lot of experiences in life – and more importantly, things you’ve overcome or worked past – it could be a sign of latent creativity.

Sometimes things need a new perspective to work through, and creativity is the best way to get that done.

14. Can Express Yourself Well

Being creative and expressing yourself are very intertwined concepts.

I haven’t met a creative genius who hasn’t been able to express themselves through their works in some way, even if it does sometimes need a little prompting for other people to understand.

Self-expression is crucial to creatives because it’s their way of experiencing the world.

While others may tend to sit in the background and watch, creatives can’t be stifled.

15. Flexible With Planning

Routines going wrong is never a problem a creative person faces: they can adjust what they do on the fly and still stay on track.

They’re some of the most flexible people I know and adapt well to almost anything.

It’s not hard to see why: creativity demands a lot of flexibility.

If your thought processes don’t really make room for rigid routines or acting with the crowd, you might just be a budding creative genius.

16. Playful

At its heart, creativity is also about play.

It’s an understanding that while there is some wisdom to doing things the usual way, there’s also nothing wrong with just messing about and playing with things a little.

Creative geniuses I know love to play – or even just goof off in general. It puts them into a frame of mind where things are flexible enough to change.

All that it takes from them is the motivation to change it, and perhaps a little bit of prodding in the direction of where they want these changes to go.

17. Authority Isn’t The Last Word

Something that I noticed about creative people is that they don’t usually take to authority well.

Not that they’ll go out of their way to be belligerent or deliberately cause trouble – it’s just that authority and routines are too intertwined.

Creative geniuses are famous for going against the grain, even if it’s an order from someone in charge.

While it can be troublesome, they’re usually vindicated by the accomplishments that they achieve after.

Related: 10 signs of latent genius (it’s more common than you may think)

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Lachlan Brown

Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the editor of Ideapod and founder of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 6 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you to want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter or Facebook.

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