Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

To Be Creative Is to Be Misunderstood

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To Be Creative Is to Be Misunderstood

I have this belief that creative people struggle more with being misunderstood than “normal people.”

Why is this?

Because creative people think “outside of the box.”

The truth is that they are often unaware that such a “box” even exists.

Because creative people ask dangerous questions.

Because creative people test boundaries — not to be rebellious, but rather to simply explore.

Creative people ask questions and can sometimes come off as ignorant or silly. But the truth is they are quite curious about everything.

Creative people are daring and willing to fail — a quality that makes many people uncomfortable.

Last of all, creative people are unique — they’re individuals — and this fact threatens the status quo more than any other.

Because they are so different, creatives can be perceived as a threat to institutions. And this is unfortunate, because many organizations are in dire need of more creativity.

They’re just scared of the people who might bring it.

Because the world is full of bureaucracy and systematic ways of approaching life, creatives often find themselves frustrated with attempts to fit in or be assimilated.

And so, for the most part, creatives are tragically misunderstood. At best, they are seen as a means to an end — a cog in the machine of producing propaganda for a cause. At worst, they are perceived as a threat that needs to be eliminated.

There isn’t a pretty way out of this predicament. To be creative is to be misunderstood. That’s all there is to it.

What alternative is there in a world of conformists and wannabes?

And after all, who wants to fit in?

Time to be creative. Time to be misunderstood.

Recommended reading: Creative People: Are We As Creative As We’d Like to Think We Are?

About Jeff Goins

I help people tell better stories and make a difference in the world. My family and I live outside of Nashville, TN. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or Google Plus. Check out my new book, The In-Between. To get exclusive updates and free stuff, join my newsletter.

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  • http://www.not2us.net Lindsay

    “And so, for the most part, they are tragically misunderstood. At best, they are seen as a means to an end–a cog in the machine of producing propaganda for a cause. At worst, they are perceived as a threat that neds to be eliminated.

    In my opinion, there isn’t a pretty way out of this predicament. To be creative is to be misunderstood. What alternative is there in a world of conformists and wannabes?

    After all, who wants to fit in?”

    Easier blogged than lived, my friend. Easier blogged than lived…

    (But working on it with all my heart…)

    • Jeff Goins

      Can you expound on what you mean, Lindsay? Not sure I completely understand.

      • http://www.not2us.net Lindsay

        I meant that, in theory, I completely agree with you. When I look at the culture around me (including American Christian culture), I don’t want to fit in. But, when I find myself in places and situations where I’m misunderstood, it’s very hard to tell myself, “Who wants to fit in anyway?” In that moment, when I’m feeling frustrated/hurt/misunderstood, I really want nothing more than to simply fit in and fade into the background.

        But I know that’s not what I’ve been called to. I need to continue to use the gifts I’ve been given…even when it puts me in positions and situations where I’m misunderstood.

        It’s just one thing to say that and another thing to have the courage and confidence to do it. :)

        • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

          You’re right; I’m with you. It’s hard to be courageous in being yourself.

  • http://beingministry.com Paul

    You called it. Different often is considered bad, and who wants to understand that? Good post.

    • Jeff Goins

      Thanks, Paul. I love that you’re different.

  • Mandythompson

    Thank you for writing what we’re all feeling but don’t have the words or freedom to say…

    • Jeff Goins

      You’re welcome, Mandy. Thanks for the comment!

  • http://rkweblog.com Rich Kirkpatrick

    Thanks Jeff. We are misunderstood and on top of that sometimes pretend we should be! I appreciate the permission to walk in my skin.

    • Jeff Goins

      Thanks, Rich. Loved meeting you last week!

  • Armandtj

    Oh man, just what i needed to read. I posted this on my facebook wall. :)

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      thanks!

  • Joylynn

    Nice article! There really is no better you than YOU!

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      amen

  • http://www.facebook.com/jahnna.randall Jahnna Randall

    amazing read!

  • http://pickadirectionandgo.blogspot.com/ mickholt

    That would be a good title or rally cry, “Let’s get MISUNDERSTOOOOOOOOOOOOD!”

    Good Post, thank you, Sir.

  • Farhan

    flawlessly written

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