Image of painted lines on the ground, including the word "zone"

I think there’s a whole subset of people wandering around out there who don’t think of themselves as creative. The fact is they’re very creative- they’re just not very artistic. They think that because they don’t draw or sing or perform in some way, or create visual art in some way, that means they’re not creative. And that’s not true. Creativity doesn’t have to do with artistic talent. It has to do with innovative problem solving.

You may know one- they’re the people who are always the most interesting people in the room. They’ve always got 10 different projects going. They love finding out things for themselves, so they’re always doing things like figuring out how to roast their own coffee beans, even though they never drink coffee.

Their brains are perpetual motion machines. They’re kind of armchair experts, they like to figure things out. They have very high standards generally, so you can usually trust their recommendation- if they say that something is good, it probably is, mostly because they’ve tested it themselves.

As you guys know as highly creative people… if I tell you it’s raining, you’re going to stick your head out the window to check. Same with the non-artistic, highly creative person. They take no one’s word for anything- they have to prove everything to themselves, which can make them feel like they’re being a little stubborn, but really, it’s just their inquisitiveness and their curiosity.

So, if there’s a non-artistic, highly creative person in your life, give them freedom. They’re going to do things their way, just like everybody, but honor that. Give them a lot of freedom to design their own path a little bit and try tying their requests to their values, because they tend to be a little anti-authoritarian. I’d love it if you did this because it matters to me or this way, or it’ll have this impact in this world. And that’s not a bad tip just for dealing with anybody, honestly.

The thing I noticed about non-artistic, highly creative people is don’t bullshit them. Don’t flatter them. Don’t try to butter them up. Their bullshit detector is a hundred percent. Now we artistic, highly creative people… we can be buttered up. But I find that the non-artistic, highly creative people, not so much.

So, if you’re going to give them a compliment, give it to them straight. Don’t sugar coat it. And if you’re gonna give them a criticism, give it to them straight- don’t sugar coat it, they don’t need your approval. And certainly, reward them in their love language. And again, this is a good tip for anybody, but the non-artistic, highly creative people tend to often like to be behind the scenes. They don’t always like a lot of recognition or a lot of attention, but they need to be recognized and paid attention to.

So, if you’ve got one in your office or in your family, figure out how they like to be recognized.

They may not want to make a big fuss in front of everybody, but they might appreciate a note. They might appreciate a gift. They might appreciate some time together or just your acknowledgement. So that’s my little two minutes on non-artistic, highly creative people. Just because they dress boring and don’t have a flamboyant personality does not mean they are not highly creative people.