Grit Matters for Creative Outputs

Source: Psychology Today, Feb 2012

Researcher Dean Keith Simonton has compiled strong evidence that consistent creative output results as much from a vigorous spirit as it does from creative ‘genius’.

If you want to foster creativity, you need to foster a curious, bold, and tenacious personality and mindset. In every occupation Simonton studied-from composers, artists, and poets to inventors and scientists, the story is the same: a high number of creative breakthroughs is directly linked to the quantity of work produced and a refusal to let failure dampen enthusiasm or persistence. Regular physical activity reinforces the personality traits needed to be a creative dynamo across the board.

Renowned creative greats like Pablo Picasso and Leonardo da Vinci didn’t create a constant stream of brilliant works. They had the stamina and boldness to keep going after failure and the confidence to admit that most of their ideas were probably going to be duds without losing enthusiasm.  Thomas Edison once said “I have not failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that don’t work….genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”

Creative greats have the resilience and drive to not get beaten down by ‘losing’ at a creative challenge. Just like athletes, they have the tenacity to get up, dust themselves off and refuse to quit. This mindset of determination is key to the creative process.

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