5 Traits Successful Businesspeople And Visionary Artists Have In Common

There's a popular, longstanding myth that a select few people are creative and the rest of the world is, unfortunately, not creative. According to this binary view of the world, "creatives" are paint-smudged, overgrown children who lack practical skills, whereas "non-creatives" are humorless drones content to do repetitive work day after day. But in reality, people can't be divided into these two camps because everybody is creative — and I don't mean that in an "Everybody gets a trophy" kind of way. It's just that creativity takes different forms, whether you're a data analyst who interprets numbers in novel ways, or you're a sculptor who creates ceramics that make any space more beautiful.

"Creative" and "non-creative" are labels that might be limiting you — you may have been labeled one or the other all your life based solely on your performance in elementary school art class. The truth is, however, that businesspeople can be wildly original, out-of-the-box thinkers, just as artists can be astute strategic thinkers. Of course, we all have our specialties and unique talents, but realizing that you don't have to be one or the other can unlock your full creative and entrepreneurial potential. We teamed up with the Microsoft Surface Laptop — a tool that helps makers tap into both sides of themselves — to pinpoint a few traits that successful businesspeople and visionary artists have in common.

The Daring To Think Outside The Box

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It's safe to say that most great artists and businesspeople have faced their share of doubters, and it's because the truly original ideas defy norms and might sound crazy to others who are stuck in a more conventional headspace. Whether it's the artist who dares to be uncool when everyone else is obsessed with what's trendy, or the app creator who jumps into a crowded market with an original idea, all truly creative people are willing to take risks.

The Willingness To Learn From And Embrace Failure

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When you're thinking outside the box and swinging for the fences, you're bound to fail. Businesspeople and artists understand this inherently. Some of the best authors will sink two years into a draft of a novel and then throw it out — they don't consider that wasted time because that's what it took to find the "voice" of the next, much better draft. In the same vein, an executive might delay the development of a product and start from scratch over and over until it's right. Failure isn't always a waste of time or money because it's often the thing that leads to the right answers.

The Drive To Keep Learning and Evolving

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Artists and businesspeople possess a natural curiosity, whether it's an experienced painter who takes in fresh perspectives by going to student exhibitions, or a businessperson keeping up on the newest trade developments even though she's already considered an expert in the field. Both know there's always something to learn and that they don't have all the knowledge.

The Ability To Prioritize

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The CEO of a company probably doesn't want to be in every payroll meeting — she'll delegate that to a specialist. And an artist in the thick of a project may hire an assistant to order supplies or respond to her emails. This isn't just passing off responsibility; it's a commitment to the big picture.

The Courage To Be An Iconoclast

Joshua Pestka

Innovators of all kinds aren't afraid to go against the grain. A CEO of a company might implement an unconventional office culture, such as allowing employees to swap teams for a month. The most talented designer on your team may opt to use a Microsoft Surface Laptop for its vibrant touchscreen while everyone else uses the company's standard device. The most forward-thinking businesspeople and artists aren't afraid to stand out.

This article is brought to you with the help of Microsoft Surface.

The brand new Microsoft Surface Laptop was released this June. The Surface Laptop features the following:

  • Ultra-thin and light laptop fits easily in your bag.
  • Four tone-on-tone color combinations and sleek, elegant design complement your personal style.
  • Enjoy a natural typing and trackpad experience, enhanced by a luxurious Alcantara® fabric-covered keyboard.
  • The power to do what you want, with all-day battery life.
  • Experience beautiful images in true-to-life color on the vibrant 13.5” PixelSense™ Display with touchscreen.
  • Invisible immersive Dolby® Audio™ Premium sound that comes directly from the keyboard, with no added bulk or grills.