“… being original is not easy, but I have no doubt about this: it’s the best way to improve the world around us.” – Adam Grant
Original thinkers are people who are able to create things from seemingly nothing. They are the artists, inventors, writers, and entrepreneurs of the world. Some people may think that original thinkers are born that way. Well, sometimes that’s true. But there are also habits that original thinkers all exhibit. Psychologists have pinpointed the things that original thinkers do. These habits not only mark them as original thinkers, but also help them have those original, creative and out-of-this-world ideas in the first place.
Here Are 5 Things That Original Thinkers Do Differently
1. Original thinkers aren’t afraid to have bad ideas
Not everything that an original thinker comes up with is going to be golden. In fact, original thinkers have just as many bad ideas and rough starts as the rest of us. The difference between original thinkers and everyone else, is that original thinkers aren’t afraid to have bad ideas. The only way that you can make a bad idea into a great one, is to have the idea in the first place.
“Originals are also afraid of failing, but what sets them apart from the rest of us is that they’re even more afraid of failing to try,” says psychology professor Adam Grant.
Great ideas aren’t born; they’re made. Original thinkers know that everyone has to start somewhere. They’re not afraid to do poorly in order to learn how to be better.
2. Original thinkers procrastinate
Many people have been told that procrastination isn’t a good thing. This can be true sometimes. Other times, procrastination can be vital for a creative outlet. Many original thinkers have a hard time getting started. They may spend a lot of time thinking about their idea rather than planning it out. If your goal is productivity, procrastination can be a bit detrimental.
But, if the goal is creativity, then the time crunch can really give you a boost in the right direction. Original thinkers don’t always mean to procrastinate … but in the end, they end up waiting until the last minute to get that extra boost of adrenaline-fueled creativity.
3. Original thinkers embrace their weaknesses
Admitting and embracing your weaknesses may seem counterproductive to original thinking, but it’s actually a great tool. Original thinkers have a unique ability to admit their weaknesses and flaws, and then turn around and embrace them. Of course, this doesn’t mean that original thinkers just accept the things they’re not good at without trying.
Rather, this means that an original thinker is more likely to ask for help when they need it. If they know there is a skill that they’re not particularly good at, they find a way to make themselves good at it. People who are trapped by their limitations aren’t likely to become original thinkers.
Derek Sivers was quoted saying, “In a fixed mindset, you want to hide your flaws so you’re not judged or labeled a failure. In a growth mindset, your flaws are just a TO-DO list of things to improve.”
4. Original thinkers are able to overcome “groupthink”
“Groupthink” is a term that denotes the idea of going along with something just because a group of people think the exact same thing. In environments like school or work, this can be pretty hard to avoid. Giving into groupthink doesn’t mean you’re a weak person.
After all, our society is designed to get us to agree with the popular opinion. However, original thinkers take the time to step back and question the popular opinion. They’re far more likely to go against the flow of the group, which means they’ll be much more likely to have original thoughts and ideas.
Contrary to popular belief, original thinkers don’t just come up with these grand ideas all on their own. Everything influences us, from conversations we overhear on the subway to the television show we watch before bedtime. No one is exempt from influence, especially original thinkers.
Michelle Obama said, “We know that our greatness comes from when we appreciate each other’s strengths, when we learn from each other, when we lean on each other…we’re all in this together. We always have been.”
The difference between original thinkers and everyone else, is that they take those influences and role models and make something completely new, original and exciting out of them. They use their influence to help propel their own creativity, rather than trying to rehash the same old idea. People who want to be original thinkers should never be afraid to find influence and inspiration in their role models.
Original thinkers are some of the most creative people in the world. There’s always room to become an original thinker. There’s no reason that anyone should feel that they can’t practice these habits that turn ordinary thinkers into original ones. Everyone has an original thinker inside of them; they just need to know the habits that will bring it out.