Why You're Better Off With A Creative Brain Than An 'Intelligent' One

by Lauren Martin

I’m not sure when it started, but at some point in our lives we were given the impression that intelligence and creativity were two very different things, and of the two, intelligence was better.

The smarter you were, the better off you would be. Those who could solve problems faster, and with more agility, were more likely to succeed. Those who grasped certain theories of the world and could ascertain equations and languages were just better people.

Those who got perfect scores on tests, and remembered formulas with the same type of ease as the names of their classmates, were praised.

Schools nurtured them. They built accelerated courses and special classes for them. They created awards and scholarships, ceremonies and podiums for them.

They gave them medals and certificates. They built schools that only they were allowed in to, with reputations that garnered the most prestige and acknowledgement.

They were the lucky ones, the good ones. They were the ones who would get the fortune and respect. They would have all the opportunities and everyone else would be happy to get what was left.

They were the top of the class and would go on to be the top of the 1 percent. They were the best and we could only wish we had been born like them.

There were no special classes for those who could make the teachers laugh or answer their homework in such a unique pattern that even if the answer was wrong, it was right. There was no praise given to the kids who made murals in their backyard or wrote their own songs.

There was no praise for the kids who were finding things in abandoned dumps and making them useful again. There was no praise for the girl who made her own clothes or the boy who made skateboard tricks that even its creators didn’t know were possible.

What happened to those kids? They grew up feeling second-rate. They never received any prizes or accolades; never any praise or attention. They were outcasted and deemed “lazy” or “inferior” for their lack of performance on standardized tests.

They were forced to ignore their "silly passions" and hobbies and focus on catching up to their more "intelligent" classmates. Rather than honing in on their individual skills and strong suits, parents and schools pushed their talents down and forced them to try and learn someone else’s. But all that is changing.

With the rise of an empire built by a man who once told Stanford University students to explore the creative unknown, to the world of wizards and muggles that brought one woman fame and millions in fortune, the creative types have begun to change the dynamic.

As if overnight, the world no longer feels as if it's for the "intelligent," but rather, the creatives.

There are no problems, only opportunities.

Steve Jobs said, "Creativity is mistakes.” In mistakes lies the breakthroughs that distinguish the leaders from the followers. In most "scientific" or "mathematical" or quantifiable fields, mistakes just mean trying again. For the creative types, it could mean trying another way.

On your way to achieving some former idea, you came up with another one, and that mistake became a necessary step on the road to invention. Creative people do not follow a formula, plan or blueprint towards their goals and their work.

They are masters of overcoming unforeseen obstacles because to them obstacles are just opportunities. They do not box themselves into an idea of what they need to be successful, but follow their own current and never let society dictate what is wrong, right or beautiful.

It was the hardships and pitfalls in the life of author J.K. Rowling that gave her the opportunity and ideas to create a book series that will stay with children and adults for the rest of their lives. It was the unforeseen obstacles that pushed her into creating one of the most profitable book series, and subsequent film series, in history.

It was her "failures" that created her empire.

Life is most fulfilling for those who follow their passions.

There are two types of people in this world: those who have the courage to follow their passions, and those who don't. Creative people will never be the former unless forced to follow the road their parents, peers or society have forced them down.

We are all born with streaks of madness and creativity, and only those who are strong enough to nurture and protect it will truly ever feel fulfilled. In this life, you can either follow money or passion, and there is a sense of fulfillment that comes from chasing dreams, innovation and passions that never comes with lofty bank statements.

It's the creative types who do not race for the money -- who keep away from the tempting luxuries that come with bills and coins -- and seek another type of richness that can only be found inside of themselves.

Creativity is intelligence; intelligence isn't always creativity.

While there are undoubtedly "intelligent" people who are creative, there's no doubt that every creative person has a streak of genius in them.

While we should still keep the level of respect we have for those who can solve perplexing math equations and physics quandaries, there should be another level for those who can create paintings and sculptures using just their hands.

There is genius in those who can string together words that make you not just feel pain, sorrow or joy, but empathy and compassion. There is brilliance in those who can create music that makes you feel less alone and more alive. There is intellect in those who can create other worlds and people you begin to believe as real.

Creative people have long been ignored and scorned, but finally, their brilliance has been uprooted. They are now respected for the geniuses they are -- the mad, crazy, inexplicable geniuses -- that we can only hope to bring more of into the world.

Without them, the world wouldn't just be more boring, it would be without reason to keep living in it.

Photo Courtesy: Chase Kunz