Impatience, impulsiveness and assertiveness are often seen as negative traits, but on the flip side of the coin, these are the very traits can also help writers need fulfill their creative potential. Here’s why.
Seeing the Silver Lining in All Things
A group of psychologists led by New York University’s Alexandra Wesnousky recently discovered that people who see a silver lining in their weaknesses are often more creative. Alexandra’s silver lining theory and its link with impulsiveness are simple. If you think of a weakness or negative trait as having a positive side, then the studies show you are more likely to be creative.
– Impulsive may indicate a lack of discipline and planning
+ Impulsive may also mean no procrastinating, the ability to think on one’s feet, and a dynamic personality.
– Impatience may indicate a childish nature, emotional immaturity and poor coping skills.
+ Impatience may also indicate a person strives for results, is highly motivated, and able to get a job done quicker than laid back individuals.
– Assertiveness may mean pushing people around to get your own way, rolling over people for your own ends, and may indicate a sharp attitude and selfish nature.
+ Assertiveness may also mean a person who won’t be bullied, a person who puts higher goals above smaller trivialities, and a person who gets things done correctly.
Alexandra’s Silver Lining study was small and limited, but may indicate that people’s acceptance of their flaws, added to their belief they may be a positive side to their flaws and may help them become more creative.
How Can These Character Traits Make Us Better Writers?
Lack of inhibition allows us to talk to people outside our normal social sphere. A writer sees a person with an interesting story or professional background and strikes up a conversation that may form the basis of a future profile, novel, essay or short story. It helps us contact literary agents, publishers and anyone else we can think of without shame to progress towards our literary goals.
Impulsiveness sends us traveling to out-of-the-way places instead of clocking in at an office and sitting behind a desk. The urge to tell others about Patagonia’s natural beauty, Costa Rica’s amazing volcano hikes and canopy zip-lining adventures or Hawaii’s fantastic surfing spots can turn us into great travel writers and reporters.
Impatience helps a writer maintain a level of pressure on both himself/herself and the people working for him or her. An impatient writer will get on with the job and push himself or herself a little harder. The writer will also follow up with agents, publicists and social media influencers to get the results he or she wants.
Assertiveness helps us to secure a literary agent and publisher, submit work for awards and prizes, deal with long lines at book signing tours and take unfavorable critiques in stride. It also helps us to pursue unusual, perhaps difficult topics, such as writing about real life crime events, “inventing” a new type of poetry or addressing society’s taboos in our novels.
Napoleon Hill, one of the world’s greatest researchers and the world’s most best selling writer had similar theories about how a positive attitude may help a person succeed. If you view your weaknesses as some sort of strength, then you may resist changing, but a positive attitude about your weaknesses may help stop them holding you back.
There may also be a trace of Daniel Goleman’s suppression ala Freudian repression going on where a person buries their negative feelings about a weakness, cognitive dissonance turns it into a positive, and then expresses the emotion elsewhere. Your negative feelings about your weaknesses may be covered with a silver lining, so you may express your feelings about them via creativity.
Your turn! Have you ever noticed how hurt and damaged people are some of the most creative? If you were to list your weaknesses and turn them into positives, could you channel your mixed feelings about them into creative writing? Do you think a positive attitude alone make you more creative, or are you channeling your emotions from other areas of your life?
Linda Craig is a passionate blogger and editor at assignment writing service AssignmentMasters.