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Based on somewhat controversial psychology theories of personality traits of first, middle and last born children i`ll make crucial connection between overall creativity and thinking outside the box to birth order and its effect on our careers.
Basically the birth order theory explains how our personality traits and lives are affected by simple order of birth. Whether you`re the oldest, youngest, huddled in the middle or only child – your family placement can somewhat determine your character, professional achievements and personal relationships.
Some scientists even go so far and say that even our lifelong thinking patterns are affected.
I could write down about 10 pages with all circumstances and environmental influences that determine whether this birth order impact will be in greater or lesser form, i could write down all researches done in last 100 years of Freud and Dr. Alfred Adler and their opposite fellow scientists utterly boring you to death, but ill just take a shortcut and say that it all comes down to these overall, general characteristics:
Firstborns tend to be more conscientious. They are more ambitious than their younger siblings and often possess higher IQ. They are assertive, dominant and disciplined. They’re determined to succeed yet fearful of losing position and rank. They are defensive about errors and mistakes. They tend to be high achievers, reliable, well organized, critical, serious, scholarly, self- assured, good leadership abilities, eager to please and nurturing.
Typically, first born choose careers that involve precision so they are perfectionists by nature. The firstborn is often regarded as the success story in the family and they are extremely gifted to succeed in fields of : science, medicine, or law. Many first born choose careers in leadership. For example, over 50% of all U.S. presidents were first born. They are better educated, because if parents can afford to send one child to school, it’s more likely to be the first born. In history they dominated every field of knowledge because of scarce resources for education of all siblings, but in recent time that huge investment difference between older and younger children is drastically lessened.
Vast majority of Nobel prize winners are firstborns, so they dominated all fields of human development. That was also a result of scarce resources deployed in families only to firstborns, so they were better educated and favored. There are exceptions offcourse, Isaac Newton, Steven Spielberg, Che Guevara are perfect examples.
All firstborns are closely related to incremental improvements and are developing their ideas inside the boundaries of social paradigms. Rarely they thread beyond them. They are praetorian guard of status quo.
Famous eldest children include:
Oprah, Hilary and Bill Clinton, Winston Churchill, Clint Eastwood, John Wayne, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, all actors who played James Bond, Jimmy Carter, Henry Kissinger, Albert Einstein, Sally Ride, Bill Cosby, Steven Spielberg, Joan Collins, Mikhail Gorbachev, Saddam Hussein, Joseph Stalin, Mussolini, Che Guevara, Carlos the Jackal, Isaac Newton.
They are mysterious, peacekeeping, less decisive, diplomatic, with excellent people skills, easy going, flexible, competitive. Torn between parents affection and requirements and incapability to determine own aspirations they are more confused in early stage than any. Later on they tend to adopt firstborn frame of living, or complete opposite to firstborn in final identity build of.
They generally earn less per year than firstborns and youngest children (although you would not think this looking to famous middle child list) . With good negotiating and people skills they are brilliant in diplomacy and government bodies, nursing, law enforcement, all technology based fields. Sales and marketing, public relations and journalism are their fields of interest.
Middle children can be very creative, but overall, they too tend to stay in boundaries of social paradigms. In creativity they are following firstborns nature.
Famous middle children include:
Bill Gates, J.F.K., Madonna and Princess Diana, David Letterman, Richard Nixon, Bea Arthur, Glenn Close, Matt Dillon, Linda Evans, Jessica Lange, Cyndi Lauper, Tom Selleck, Mary Decker Slaney, George Burns and Bob Hope, George Washington, Dwight Eisenhower, Jack Kennedy, George Bush, Damon Hill, Cindy Crawford, Robert Graves, Tony Blair and Edward Elgar, Nikola Tesla.
If there is any birth placement that exists for breaking social rules and paradigms it is this one. The later born child always has someone ahead of them to compete against. Constant struggle to be in limelight, tendency to question authorities and status quo makes them biggest stirrers in life. They know no boundaries, they are adventurous, idealists, hard working, immature, secretive and sensitive. They are charming, with good sense of humor and great manipulation skill. They’ll be outrageous or funny as a power strategy in the family. In addition, laterborn`s are more extravert than firstborns in the specific sense of being fun-loving, excitement seeking, and sociable.
These children are more likely to be an artist, adventurer or entrepreneur– and more likely to participate in physically risky sports. Laterborn children are more likely to be comedians or satirists. Laterborns are successful in journalism, advertising, sales and the arts. Careers in sales, or invention corporations work well because of their ability to sell things, including themselves, work well alone, want to be the boss, and just do their own thing at their own pace. They are excellent in field of information technology.
They try to establish a place for themselves separate from their older siblings, and so tend to be more creative.
They generally seek to develop alternative and unoccupied aspirations within the family system, a process that seems to involve a predilection for experimentation and openness to experience.
They are more open especially in the questioning of family values or the authority of their elders. If breakthrough idea is vaguely defined as thinking out of the boundaries of social paradigms and norms, laterborns are masters of this ability.
Famous laterborn children include:
Nicholas Copernicus, Charles Darwin, Francis Bacon, René Descartes, Jim Carrey, Billy Crystal, Steve Martin, Cameron Diaz and Rosie O’Donnell, Howard Stern, Jay Leno, Ralph Nadar, Bill Gates, and Danny DeVito , Eddie Murphy, Harriet Tubman, Gandi, Whoopi Goldberg, Jonathan Swift and Mark Twain, Ronald Reagan, Paul Newman, Mary Lou Retton, Yogi Bera, Ted Kennedy and Kevin Leman, Joan of Arc, Leon Trotsky, Charlie Chaplin, Bob Hope, George Michael and Sir Laurence Olivier, Jerry Springer
People without siblings fell somewhere between firstborns and laterborns on most personality measures, but they were no more open to experience than were firstborns.
Only children have similar characteristics to firstborns and are frequently burdened with high parental expectations.
They are also achievement-oriented, successful in school and have problems delegating work. Research shows they are more confident, articulate and imaginative than other children. They also hate criticism and tend to be perfectionists.
Onlies are generally super responsible, confident and get along great with adults. They often have the heightened sense of right and wrong. Only children seem to be very on top of things, articulate, and mature. Although they appear to have it all together and have many achievements, they regularly have a hard time enjoying their achievements. They are often labeled as spoiled, selfish, lazy and a bit conceited because the only child does not have to share with other siblings.
Despite the fact that only children are used to having things handed to them all their lives, they are among the top achievers in every area of profession.
Like laterborns, they are regularly spoiled, according to Adler, and have a hard time when they don’t get their own way. School can be a particularly difficult transition, as they’re used to being the center of the familial universe. But all that parental focus pays off. Only children are often mature for their age. They wow people with their vocabularies, and their comfort in adult circles. Plus, all that self-entertaining fosters creativity.
Famous only children include:
Rudy Guiliani, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Alan Greenspan, Tiger Woods, Maria Sharapova and Leonardo Da Vinci. Jack Welch, Charles Lindbergh, Ted Koppel, Brooke Shields, Nancy Reagan, Frank Sinatra, Danielle Steele and John Updike
In the history of science, birth order has often played a role during times of radical theory change. Nicholas Copernicus and Charles Darwin, René Descartes and Francis Bacon were all laterborns, and all pioneers in their fields. They challenged and tested scientific paradigms as well as religious dogma, and made breakthrough theories that changed science foundation. Often ridiculed and shunned, their mark was unquestioned. Even when firstborns have initiated major revolutions in science–such as those led by Isaac Newton, Antoine Lavoisier, and Albert Einstein–the earliest supporters of these revolutions have tended to be laterborns.
Nevertheless, firstborns and laterborns are each capable of creativity and innovation, but in different ways. In particular, firstborns tend to create within the system, whereas laterborns are more likely to create by questioning the status quo (breaking the rules).
Although, by looking just to famous birth order examples doubt comes naturally. Keep in mind that these magnificent representatives are overall rare and valuable humanity assets and therefore exceptions by default.
To Frank Sulloway, a science historian at MIT, it’s no coincidence that Darwin was the fifth of six kids in his family, or that Agassiz who opposed him was the firstborn in his. As Sulloway spent two decades gathering data on thousands of people involved in historic controversies from the Copernican revolution to the Protestant Reformation in his book titled “”Born to Rebel” he suggests that “the foremost engine of historical change” is not the church, state or economy but family structure.
“Sulloway made a compelling case that firstborns, whatever their age, sex, class or nationality, specialize in defending the status quo while laterborns specialize in toppling it.
The lastborns in Sulloway’s survey were 18 times more likely to take up left-wing causes than to get involved in conservative ones, such as the temperance movement. To him, 80-year-old laterborns were still more receptive than 30-year-old firstborns.
Laterborns were five times more likely than firstborns were to support the Copernican and Darwinian revolutions–and nine times more likely to embrace phrenology. Not surprisingly, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. were all laterborns, as were Leon Trotsky, Fidel Castro, Yasir Arafat and Ho Chi Minh. “
Birth order can be perceived as determinant of the domain and style of creative eminence and innovation. From the creative perspective firstborns are most likely to gravitate to those areas of creativity that impose greater constraints on the creator, whereas laterborns are more prone to enter creative activities where the constraints are fewer and conformity to norms less expected. Within science as i mentioned, revolutionary scientists who overthrow traditional paradigms are more likely to be laterborns, whereas firstborns have a higher likehood of making contributions that fit within the received scientific paradigm or tradition. So by my opinion if you want incremental improvements and innovation you should seek firstborns, and if you want to generate ideas and products that are true market impact (breakthrough), you will have greater chance with a laterborn.