Emotional Wellbeing TED-Ed Series | The Surprising Habits of Original Thinkers

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Being quick to start but slow to finish can boost your creativity. You can motivate yourself by doubting your ideas and embrace the fear of failing.

Original thinkers are non-conformists — they initiate new ideas, are creative, get things done and changed. Steve Jobs fits the category exactly.

Do they share characteristics? Adam Grant suggests several, quite surprising ones in this TED Talk.

Procrastination and Precrastination

Delaying doing things for no apparent reasons (procrastination)  as opposed to rushing to get things done as soon as possible (precrastination), without too much thought. Chronic procrastination gets nothing done.

The middle point between both allows time for creative thought. Grant quotes a survey which found that moderate procrastinators are 16% more creative than the other two groups.

Procrastination gives time to think about many ideas before action.

Two procrastinators.

Leonardo da Vinci took 16 years to paint the Mona Lisa and Martin Luther King came up with the phrase ‘I have a dream,’ when actually making that speech, even though he had worked long into the previous night on scripting his speech.

Which approach?

So procrastination can be negative factor for productivity, but a positive factor for creativity.

Clearly a balance has to be struck between the two approaches. In business too much procrastination could lose money, which may not be made up by the creation of a good idea.

First mover advantage, thinking of an idea before anyone else, is not always a winner. Facebook came after My Space, and Google after Altavista and Yahoo. Both were better products in many ways.

Be enquiring – keep enquiring

It has been suggested, half seriously, that those who accept the default browser on a computer, e.g., Explorer or Safari, are less enquiring than those who load Firefox, or Chrome.Why accept the default option?

‘Vuja de’ as opposed to ‘deja vu’ is looking at something very familiar and suddenly seeing new possibilities with fresh eyes. Grant uses the script of the film ‘Frozen’ as an example; the villain was made a tortured hero.

Embrace doubts

Original thinkers fear failing, but fear not trying even more.

If you have doubt, don’t let it go. Keep trying. The greatest originals fail the most, but keep trying.  Mozart, Beethoven and Bach who wrote music prolifically, some of which were masterpieces, but many were not. The more you produce the more likely you will come up with successes.

Don’t keep quiet for fear of others thinking you foolish.  Being original is not easy.

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