Creativity Linked to Emotional Intelligence

Where do creative ideas come from? There are many sources, and no single one is better than others. The best ones, at least for me, come from a deep source of frustration or pain born from ones own experience or empathizing with someone else.

New research suggests that higher creativity is linked to the sort of emotional self-awareness that allows artists and other innovators to ride the ups and downs of the creative process:

This suggests seemingly irrelevant stimuli can benefit the creative process—but only if you have the emotional intelligence to treat them as potentially helpful, and incorporate them into your thinking. If you are flustered by the prospect of failure, this becomes much more difficult, as such information is perceived as an irritating distraction rather than something you might be able to build upon.

Why does it matter?

Because the creative process is anything but a straight line; it’s messy. Getting to a solid idea requires us to diverge, many ideas, and then converge. People are often in a hurry to get to a good idea. I’ve seen it many times, where if you force someone to use his / her brain you can see they get frustrated when an idea doesn’t work on the first try.

The result is people give up if there isn’t a straight answer and just go with what they’ve done before. In other words: they don’t have the emotional threshold to ride the ups and downs of rejection.

Managing ones emotions through any process that doesn’t have a clear outcome is key. Understanding, and resetting ones expectations, that the creative process will have ups and downs.

Also published on Medium.