Creativity is an elusive force.

You can probably feel it stirring deep inside your mind every now and again, teasing you with vivid images and distant echoes.

Until it erupts into a fiery explosion of insight and awareness.

For most of us, we get a little stuck when we try to coax it out of hiding, it’s something that comes out when it wants, not when we want.

But that’s not entirely true. For rebels, creativity is at the very least caught more often, and at best it comes at will.

What do I mean by a rebel? I’m talking about one of Gretchen Rubin’s personality types, one characterized by a disliking of rules and regulations, of expectations or a lack thereof.

The other 3 types — Obliger, Upholder, and Questioner — are a little more structured and predictable. The rebels are difficult, erratic…and creative.

To best understand why, we need to look at the underlying mechanism of creativity.

Creativity is…


Essentially, creativity rests within being new, novel, and unexpected.

Copying, following instructions, predictability, they’re not creative. You need to be able to connect seemingly unrelated points, to put things together in exciting new ways, that’s the heart of being creative.

Steve Jobs once said, “Creativity is just connecting things.”

But how can you do that? What does creativity require of us?

The most important point to remember is that most creative things do not pop up out of thin air. They pop up out of knowledge, experience, and curiosity.

Anything that’s considered new is just a combination of the old. If you think of creativity as being able to connect things in new ways, then you see that something new cannot come from nothing.

Pioneers in understanding creativity such as Graham Wallas and James Webb Young recognized two important stages of the creative process: knowledge, and incubation.

Knowledge: If you have a problem you want to solve, try as hard as you can first, learn all you can about it. You should do as much as you can, never shy away from new experiences.

The more you know, the better chances you have to make odd and strange connections between things that others have missed.

Incubation: This is the stage we’re all familiar with — leave the problem alone, think about something else, take a shower or go for a walk. The subconscious takes over, and sooner or later, “a-ha!” — That moment of insight comes and rings your mind’s doorbell.

The Creative Rebel

So these rebels, why does creativity flow towards them more easily? Because they’re easily persuaded to break the rules and go where others don’t — all it takes is a thought for them to go off on new journeys without a moment’s hesitation.

When someone tells a rebel they can’t do something, rebels will go out of their way to prove them wrong. When someone tells a rebel to do something, the rebel will do something else.

Those things I mentioned before, about not being creative — “copying, following instructions, predictability” — they’re also the opposite definition to a rebel.

In Gretchen Rubin’s own words, “Rebels get a kick out of breaking the rules, because of this they often think outside the box and do things that other people wouldn’t even think of doing.”

So, How Can You Become A Creative Rebel?

Start with that knowledge stage of creativity — start learning new things, find new experiences, question everything and break the rules rules — not just those imposed on you, but your own inherent ones too.

If you want creativity to come knocking at your door, you need to make your life anything but predictable and repetitious. Make your own life new and unexpected, and then your ideas will follow along.

If you’re not sure where to start, get some inspiration from some of the last century’s most notable creative rebels.

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