Five Things that Inventors Do Differently
From the prehistoric human who figured out striking two stones can create fire to Thomas Edison powering up the first light bulb, inventors have been carrying forward the human civilization through centuries and millennia. We often view them as people possessing superhuman abilities which lesser mortals like us can simply not attain.
But every human being is born with essentially the same brain structure, with a virtually endless potential for creativity and intelligence. Our education, growth environment, early influences, subsequent choices in life, and multiple other factors come together to build the brain we carry into adulthood. Even then, our actions and reactions continue to affect our brain and cognitive functions. So what is it that sets history’s greatest inventors apart from the rest of us?
On National Inventors Day, let’s look at some habits that a staggering number of world’s best inventors have in common, and how they help their creativity and inventiveness.
- Exercise daily – Most inventors throughout the history have had some kind of exercise routine that they followed every day. Some were bizarre; like Nicola Tesla was known to curl his toes 100 times a day from a belief that it kept the blood moving. Some of them were more mundane; like Einstein used to walk one and a half mile every day. Several scientific studies have actually shown that doing exercises can boost creativity by improving divergent and convergent thinking – both fundamental aspects of creative thinking.
- Spend more time alone – Interacting with other people and social situations are nice, and at times necessary; but not very conducive for quite reflection. As an inventor though, that is something that needs to be prioritized. Almost all the great inventors have been and are introverts to varying extents. Whenever we interact with a situation or other people, there is an information inflow. The more information comes your way, the harder it becomes for your brain to process. For new ideas to form and creativity to flourish, you’ll have to let your mind wander and play with ideas at its own pace, and for that you’ll have to keep a significant amount of time reserved for yourself alone.
- Build routines for everyday things – That’s another strange thing a lot of inventors and creative geniuses seem to have in common – they are exceptionally ordinary and routine-bound when it comes to everyday actions. Steve Jobs famously had a designer create him hundreds of sets of the same outfit – black shirt and blue denims – so that he doesn’t have to spend even a second on deciding what he should wear for the day. This trait also manifests in habits like eating the same food everyday and having the workstation arranged exactly the same all the time. This is because inventors and creative thinkers prioritize their ideas and creative process above everything else in life and always try to minimize the amount of time and energy spent on other things.
- Persist on – As previously stated, everyone has the capacity to be creative or inventive. We all have great ideas at times, maybe we even execute them. But most of us will move on to the next idea if the first one fails, or simply lose focus and abandon it. What sets apart inventors is that they are never daunted by failures. They see their ideas through all possible obstacles and keep trying to attain perfection no matter what. Tenacity is something that is the hallmark of an inventor. A lot of people have dreamt of or fantasized about flying vehicles throughout history, a lot of people have even done significant work; but the invention of aircraft was made possible by the Wright Brothers alone, who kept on trying despite crushing failures.
- Never stop learning – There is no overstating the importance of keeping an open mind when it comes to creativity. Keep visiting new places, learning new skills, and of course, reading more books. Business magnet Warren Buffet famously reads 500 pages a day, anything from financial statements to autobiographies. Knowledge building is an important part of the creative process – the more you know, the better you can create relationships between known things to arrive at something unknown.
As said before, inventors aren’t built any different. It’s just they prioritize things differently and are willing to make changes in their lives towards that end. If you are bursting with ideas and want to make a change, why not give these habits a try?