How to be respected as a creative
Being respected means people trust you with the Big Things.
I heard this recently from a businessman based in the US, Donald Miller.
It is true, but in addition to this, when you are respected, people trust you handling the Big Things with Calm.
Why is the relevant for creative thinking?
This is relevant because creativity is a process of original ideas that have value. In other words, original ideas that solve problems.
Original ideas though, haven’t been done before. Therefore, the outcome is uncertain. Humans don’t like uncertainty and often find it easier to avoid uncertainty altogether and stick what they already know.
But if we are to progress as a species, change will inevitably occur. Change does not happen in isolation of a single person though. It requires a movement of people.
Creatives are coming up with original ideas, but they are of little value if they are not tried. If creatives are going to get people to test their ideas, they need to be able to convince others that it is worth giving a go.
This is made so much easier if the creative pitching the idea is respected.
Honest differences are often a healthy sign of progress. – Mahatma Ghandi
The two dimensions of respected people
There are two dimensions of a respected person. It aligns with the science of charismatic people.
- Competence – skilled at something we love doing because it is easier to sustain continual growth if we love it.
- Warmth (empathy) – social and emotional awareness because we can’t do life well, alone.
It is why when we teach creative thinking to tweens and teens we touch on both of these dimensions.
Competence in creative thinking by teaching a 5 step framework. It applies to any problem requiring a novel solution.
Warmth in communication with the people that will be needed to turn an idea into reality. Not only understanding ourselves and behaving consistently but also understanding the behaviour of those around us. The context in which we operate.
Kindness as a strength
Have you ever heard someone say “She is just the kindest person that I have ever met” and it’s not just one or two people saying that about him/her. Everybody says it.
Chances are kindness is one of their top character strengths.
Kindness is a character strength – those things we are naturally good at.
Now that doesn’t mean that people who don’t have it in their top five or even their top 10, aren’t kind.
Everybody has a component of kindness, just for some it comes more naturally.
Just so we’re on the same page, kindness is how we treat people, doing favours and good deeds for others. Yes, it’s also kindness to self, but generally when we understand kindness, when we see somebody being kind, it’s how they are treating other people.
How does our character strength fit into creativity?
Kindness actually permeates all 5 stages of the creative process, but kindness as a strength strongly informs what we ultimately create.
If what we’re creating doesn’t actually create kindness to others, or kindness to the environment, or kindness to animals, or kindness to friends or family, if what we create doesn’t do that, then again, we won’t sit comfortably with what we’ve created.
In addition, if we don’t experience kindness throughout the process, then the process of creativity jars with us. We don’t enjoy how coming up with new ideas makes us feel.
We won’t feel that we’ve solved our problem to our satisfaction in a way that lights us up.
Have you ever been in a group where you are asked to complete a task together, but the way they are going about it makes you feel uncomfortable – people might be left out or made fun of. Alternatively the group has worked well together but the solution they have come up with feels wrong.
In one situation the process is unkind for us and the other the outcome is unkind for us.
But what if someone else in the group wasn’t trying to be unkind, they were just being honest. Honesty is one of their character strengths, but in being so it feels like they are being unkind.
One person values compassion or kindness over honesty and the other values honesty over kindness. One is not better than the other.
How often do we hear “be kind” and “be honest” without realising how often those two values come into conflict?
Understanding which one we value more is a powerful insight.
If we are to be trusted with The Big Things it is not enough to be very good at what we do, we also need to be very good at understanding who we are.
We need to have our competence and warmth in balance or at least be conscious a balance exists and continually aim to improve it.
Join the 5 Day Creative Challenge
A process that gifts competence and resilience to seize life’s opportunities.