LISTEN TO THE PODCAST
After studying some of the most original and brilliant creatives of the last 2,500 years I’ve discovered that creative geniuses do this one thing. It’s not really about talent, or intelligence, or even ability. It’s actually something much simpler yet more powerful.
Enjoy access to my free Creativity Blueprint training course where I help you unlock your creative potential, break down creative blocks and unleash your creative genius. Click here to gain access.
If you’re anything like me then you are probably fascinated by the lives of creative geniuses, those men and women who through their imagination, originality, and hard work create something remarkable. That last word ‘remarkable’ provides us with a hint to the one thing creative geniuses do that others don’t.
What Is Creative Genius?
However, first, it’s worth defining what is creative genius? What is the common thread that links creative geniuses such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Beethoven, Steve Jobs, Zaha Hadid, Du Fu, Einstein, Steve Wonder, or Frida Kahlo?
Creative genius doesn’t require a high intellect. A minimum IQ level may be necessary but it certainly isn’t sufficient.
Nor are fame or awards a good indicator of creative genius. As academics like Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi show an artist or writer’s work can be considered to be worthless when they are alive but highly valued centuries later. Likewise, someone can be considered a creative genius in their youth but their ideas fall out of fashion as they grow older.
A better way to measure creative genius is whether someone’s work greatly influences their peers AND changes the industry, domain, or field in which they work.
Are the best in your area of expertise changing how they think, act, and feel because of what you are creating.
For example, Elon Musk can be considered a creative genius not just because he has influenced millions of other entrepreneurs but he has changed the automotive industry and the field of space exploration. He inspires his peers and changes the world.
Likewise, the often underrated writer Agatha Christie greatly influenced writers during her life and afterward. One of today’s most acclaimed crime writers Val McDermid said that it was Christie’s book ‘The Murder at the Vicarage’ that made her a crime writer. Christie’s skill at crafting ingenious plot twists coupled with her prolific creativity changed how publishers thought about the character-driven book series. With total global sales exceeding 2 billion books in more than 100 languages she changed how authors and publishers think about what is possible.
So creative geniuses do this one thing really well. They influence their peers.
Creative geniuses may create for themselves first and their audiences second but it is the impact they have on their peers that see them lauded as geniuses.
Creative genius can often be seen as a by-product of our competitive and collaborative nature as humans.
At the highest level of any field, industry, or domain the most creative people are always paying attention to what those around them are putting out into the world. Scientists are reading the latest papers by other scientists, artists are studying the works of their fellow artists, business executives are studying the strategies and innovations from their competitors.
This is not so that they can copy but rather that they can ensure when creating work themselves it not only stands up but it stands out. This is how you influence others. This is how anyone can become a creative genius whether it’s in the arts, sciences, or business.
Creating any work, whether that be a book, painting, song, product, or service should lead to it influencing your peers in their work. This can be through the sheer originality of your idea, how you execute it, your process, or the way you think about solving problems.
Strive to do creative work which is remarkable. To make things that your peers remark to each other about.