Creative people Vs Normal people: A Look at Highly Creative People

The True Meaning of Creative Talent

Creative people Vs Normal people: A Look at Highly Creative People

Creative people are characterized by their ability to see the world in new ways, find hidden patterns, and generate solutions.

Now let’s clarify the notion of normality. Are we saying that creative individuals are abnormal? There’s a common social belief that creative individuals are like mad geniuses, who don’t fit the accepted definition of a ‘normal’ individual.

Girl painting creative graffiti on the wall of the room

This idea is rather ludicrous because as George Scialabba put it, “creativity is intelligence having fun”. Like intelligence, it is a trait that everyone possesses in some capacity, not just creative geniuses like Steve Jobs or Da Vinci. Creative individuals are normal people, they just happen to display this trait of unusual and innovative thinking. So, rather than saying creative vs normal people, we can actually compare between highly creative and less creative individuals.

Highly creative people

Firstly, highly creative people have been known to be more flexible and innovative compared to the average person. They often tend to think very deeply and ask questions about how things work. Why is the sky blue if space has no color? Or how does content become viral on social media? They have a general sense of curiosity that non-creative people don’t. It doesn’t mean that creative people feel curious about everything they see, rather they’re curious about the things that interest them.

Creative people talking in the office

It’s not just about being curious. Creative people want to fulfill their curiosity as quickly as possible. Creative people display two tendencies, thinking and producing. Because of this tendency, they become natural problem solvers. However, less-creative minds are only confined to thinking. Even if they’re curious, they often don’t try to find a solution for their curiosity. 

Another difference is in their lifestyle. Creative people often tend to do more project-based work; side-hustles, gigs, start businesses, or freelance, whereas others often prefer a traditional role, which often includes repetitive tasks. Even when working in a specific organization, creative people are often not confined to a single role or a single task. They’re most likely to work on different projects, working with different products/solutions, and solving different problems. 

In the past, creative and non-creative career paths were wildly different. Visual arts, music, literature, these career choices were mostly associated with Creative people. A traditional career path with a lot of demand used to be finance and accounting. These roles didn’t require much creativity back in the day. It was all about balancing the checkbooks and keeping accounting records on the track. 

Creative graphic designers work in the office

However, creative people are like the free-flowing wind, they eventually find their way everywhere. Nowadays we see that more and more creative people are taking on leadership roles. A CEO is no longer the classic finance guy. They could be a marketer, an analyst, or a designer (like the Airbnb founders). This change is happening because being connected to the customer and not the balance sheet is more important than ever. Creative people are able to connect to the hearts and minds of people, thanks to their softer skills like keen observation, empathy, and visual communication.

Are creative people smart?

There’s absolutely intelligence in creativity. You can’t separate creativity from intelligence. Some even consider that creativity is a higher form of intelligence. So, creativity and intelligence are definitely related, but the question is to what extent? It depends on how you’re defining intelligence. 

Do you define intelligence as having a high IQ? Both Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs had an IQ level of 160, and they are two of the most creative individuals of their generation, So why not? Most of the famous creative people throughout the years have been known to have a high IQ also.

Or do you define smartness and intelligence by the achievements of a person? For example, J.K. Rowling (although her IQ level is unknown to us) was described as an average student by her teachers, but she turned out to be one of the most creative writers of our generation. 

It’s actually a mix of both. If a person with a high IQ doesn’t show any outcome of their intelligence, it’s difficult to justify calling them creative. There are some interesting theories to define the relationship between creativity and intelligence. One example is through the Threshold Theory, which suggests that intelligence is necessary but not sufficient for creative potential and achievement. 

students at a lecture

It means that every creative person has a minimum level of intelligence or smarts (IQ above 120 – which is the 90th percentile). It’s an important but not the only characteristic of a creative person for this theory.

One flaw we see with this theory is that if a person with great imagination and problem-solving skills doesn’t have a general IQ, it’s unlikely that anyone will identify them as creative. That goes against our beliefs as we believe that there is every potential for people to develop their creative abilities and a lot of the time it’s a matter of finding what you’re interested in, even obsessed about, to really hone your creativity and put it to work. It just goes to show that the jury is still out on what makes people creative.

Do creative people have degrees?

According to a recent study in the UK, 72% of creatives tend to undertake further study or skill-based learning after completing their formal education. Also, 3 out of the 4 individuals working in the creative industries are graduates. So, yes! Most creative people have degrees. 

A recent study by Deloitte shows that a postgraduate degree can have a noticeable impact on wages in the creative industries. For example, in creative marketing roles having a postgraduate degree can increase your income by 3.3%.  Because of such benefits, the number of creative graduates is also increasing. In Australia, the number of completed arts degrees has grown by 21% in ten years. It shows that the demand for creative education is growing, and creative individuals are becoming more willing to obtain a degree. 

Creative auto photographer talking on the phone in his office

So, having a degree does help with getting more income and other benefits, which is why creative people tend to obtain a degree to reap the best rewards for their creativity.

Is it compulsory for creative people to get a degree?

Absolutely not! In the past, having a Bachelors degree or at least a Diploma was standard for any entry-level job. Now, the industries are more focused on skills-based recruitment. So, you won’t often need a degree to get into the creative industries, rather you’ll need to have a specific creative skillset.

Many creatives are autodidacts. They like to teach themselves, rather than be spoon-fed information or knowledge in standard educational settings. And with the inclusion of online platforms such as Youtube, they already have access to all the information in the world.

Graphic designer draws a mockup ad banner for phone

There is a chance you might need a degree, later on, to get into the more sophisticated creative roles, such as Digital Marketing Manager, and Growth Hacker. Many job roles are still requesting these certifications, but the trend is beginning to shift away.

Creative talent acquisition strategies

With the right skill set, creative people can get into almost every job in the creative industry. The best jobs for creatives without a degree are entry-level roles such as social media assistant, content creator, illustrator, and graphic designer. These jobs are very niche and they don’t really require you to have a formal education. The fundamental knowledge of these jobs isn’t really taught in university lectures and they are very practical roles that can be learned through experience. So, these are great starting points for creatives without a degree. 

Another great way to start can be by doing freelancing or self-employed work. This helps to grow a portfolio and have real-life examples of your work to present. Having a great portfolio can help you land those big creative roles without a degree. 

graphic designer is working

In recent days, specific skills certifications have become more in-demand than traditional degrees. So, a lot of the creatives are getting those certifications to land bigger roles across the industry. For example, marketing creatives can get Google Ads certification to show recruiters that they have the basic knowledge of the industry, without getting an expensive marketing degree.

At Experlio we work to empower creative talent by connecting them with work opportunities to hone their skills and help innovate and re-shape traditional business thinking.

Our creative talent platform helps shape the careers of emerging creative people so if you’re creative looking to use your skills, why not join our community of young creatives and shape your creative future.

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