Early one morning at around 3 a.m. in Berlin, I met a woman in a pizza place who was actually a man with hair any real woman would die for. I couldn’t stop listening to him talking. She was from outer space and resembled the little Prince from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s famous novel, especially when he giggled. Her perceptions about life, other dimensions of existence, and the secret backyard club he took me to at 5 a.m. made my synapses fire in new directions for several days.
Are you confused because I changed the pronouns in every sentence? Welcome to the club. This is how I felt while I was chatting with the woman (or the man) while eating my pizza – totally puzzled! This single chance encounter with someone from another world ignited my imagination – for days!
Imagine what would happen to your creative spirit if you hung out with peculiar people 24/7?
Unconventional ideas are very often born out of unconventional life patterns. You can’t be creative within your comfort zone. But, living life on the wild side and liberating the outcast inside takes guts. Courage is needed in two stages of the creative process. First, by breaking out of the mold and stepping into the unknown. Second, by going public with your novelty. Presenting uniqueness makes any creator prone to criticism, which you inevitably have to deal with at some point. Being branded “crazy” will be your faithful companion until your idea is not profitable. Before his never-ending success with Pirates of the Caribbean, Johnny Depp was nicknamed ‘Box Office Poison’.
Do you want to get some reminders on how to liberate the outcast inside and live the life of a creative?
 Oh, yeah!
 Hmm, no. Let’s have a beer instead. Maybe mañana.
If you opted for  you are ready to jump out of the box. Because just the fact that you are here shows your interest. If you have opted for  then you either live already on your terms or, you have chosen to stay in the comfort zone. Anyhow, since you are already here why not stay a little longer? Who knows, there might be an epiphany at the end of this rainbow.
7 reminders to live the life of a creative
You can always start again! “But how?”, you might ask. Creativity happens on the way! You just start and see where it takes you.
“But where should I start?”
You start in your comfort zone, with things you know well. You start where your prowess is. Because where your prowess is, is where you feel safe. Let’s say, you love traveling, then start here! By the way, traveling fosters new thinking. While traveling, we recognize that there are many more opportunities for solving problems than the ones we know. For instance, life in India is quite different, but somehow it works. While I was traveling in India, I started to question my job as an art director in advertising. When I was faced with real-life issues, I couldn’t see the meaning anymore in placing a logo on an ad campaign. It was then when I took the decision to quit my former life and start being a creativity coach, helping other people to build their creative muscle. Today I prefer giving a workshop over traveling. This is how much I love my job. Start with what you know well and what you love and the rest will follow.
“But what about my responsibilities?” Is it not your job to take responsibility for others. Do it out of love or don’t do it. If you are happy, you spread joy. Because what the world needs are more people with sparkling eyes.
“But what about the money?”
If you are from a country where there are no jobs at all, I do understand your concern. But if you are reading this you are very likely living in a country that’s pretty well-off. In 2013 I met Jim, a former math teacher, in a grocery store in San Francisco on Filmore and Filbert Street. He was cleaning apples and dreamt of becoming a learning designer. But, he couldn’t find a job. He thought it was due to ageism. Jim was already in his forties. But he never gave up, and in 2017 he got a job at Apple. This year, he got an offer from another company that he couldn’t refuse. He is now making more than $100 thousand bucks per year – as a learning designer.
“But there are so many options,…?”
This question is similar to No.2, except that this time my reminder comes from a down-right unpleasant emotion. Frustration! Unfortunately, people need to hit rock bottom first to liberate the outcast inside. But remember, when you are crying in your Vodka Red Bull, don’t forget to ask yourself “What can I do to survive, AND do what I love?
“But my family will think I’m irresponsible.”
What other people think of you is irrelevant. Do what YOU feel is right.
Stop over-analyzing! Instead, use your body. You were given hands, feet, breath, and a heart – just to mention a few more “tools” your body offers. Use them intensively. Go for a run, draw a picture, dance, watch your breath, play an instrument – you know what you love doing. Feel more and think less.
By Robert Gerlach, Creativity Researcher, Coach & Author
If you would like to dig deeper into how to live the life of a creative, have a look at Innovator’s High. This how-to guide helps you to ignite your imagination and start a life as a business artist.