When building a house you don’t start with the windows so why would you do that when trying to build your success.
Building a house starts with putting cement on the dirt just as success begins with developing emotional intelligence and creativity.
These are not the most glamorous skills but attributes you see in every successful person. People love to speak about someone’s ability to code, write, read, etc but they never speak about someone ability to evaluate situations and create new ways to overcome challenges. We sometimes speak about people’s creativity but it rarely has to do with people outside of the arts. This is something that must change.
Creativity is a useful skill in all fields.
Elon Musk is one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world but we mostly think of his skill as that of an engineer, his true skill is his ability to look at the world differently. Musk doesnt need engineering to be great, he would have created something great whether he was born in 1600, 1800 or 1971 (when he was actually born). His creativity sets him apart.
Chase Jarvis said it best, “Creativity is the new literacy” . Knowing how to read, code or engineer is great but knowing why you do it is what separates people. It goes back to the age old saying “A students work for C students” because C students know why things need to happen and A students know how to get it done.
If I had kids I would teach them how to find problems and then how to solve those problems. This is at the center of creativity. Most people believe the world is the way it is and there is nothing to change that but creatives see the world differently. The interesting thing is once you see a problem and decide to solve it then you will learn the necessary skills to make that happen. I spoke with Anthony Fraiser of the Phat Startup a few days ago, he is a great example of this. In high school he and his friends were looking for a great video game forum they participated in many forums but thought they could build a better product. They had no idea how to code but because they wanted to solve this problem they learned the necessary skills. It was not their ability to code that made this site a reality it was their creativity and resilience.
The world is changing and skills that don’t involve creativity are becoming more of a commodity. You can now outsource coding, you can automate number crunching, all you have is your innate ability to be think creatively.
That is a lot to take in but its not the only key. Ask any person creating things that don’t exist yet this is tiring and scary work.
In order to be successful at creating you must be very emotionally intelligent.
I look at emotional intelligence simply as the ability to understand your emotions and the emotions of others. I think that encompasses the ability to socialize effectively, motivate others, empathize with others, the ability to control your emotions and much more. That being said there are many ways to define emotional intelligence but at its core it is understanding emotions.
Resiliency is a child of emotional intelligence and hugely important when striving for success. One of my favorite books of recent time is The Obstacle is The Way by Ryan Holiday. This book tells stories of people throughout history who have taken the setbacks of life and used them to their advantage. Bad situations are not fatal nor must they be dream killers, rather if perceived correctly they are learning opportunities that will enable greater success.
Mindfulness is another great example of being emotionally intelligent and many of the most “successful” people in the world will tell you how important meditation has been for their success. I was recently listening to a podcast with congressman Tim Ryan from Ohio about how meditation has helped remove all violent acts from the most dangerous schools in his community. He goes on to explain that through these practices the students have learned how to relegate their emotions and make better decisions when faced with troublesome situations.
I have not participated much in meditation but I am on board with Tim Ryans beliefs. I firmly believe it is a great tool to help people take control of their emotions. Emotions are important but alone they can lead to many bad decisions. The key is to understand your emotions so you can use them to your advantage rather than your detriment.
Through creative approaches to success and the ability to control your responses to situations success is just a matter of time. The windows of the building will come and so will the white picket fence but first you must build your foundation. I am happy to see some people are beginning to understand the importance of each of these characteristics in ones success. Although this is not yet the status quote belief I believe in a few years it will be. In the meantime I recommend you start to develop your creativity and your emotional intelligence, they are skills that will be invaluable as you strive toward your success.