By Paul A Philips
Creativity can be described as the ability to bring something into existence; into being. Having said that, nobody really knows exactly what it is: Creative moments can mysteriously show up in certain situations and in context, while it can also fail when really needed.
From studies neurologists say that creativity paints a complex picture. The idea that the right-brain is where creativity happens with emotions while the left-brain is based on rational, analytical and logical thought is oversimplified. It has not yet been clearly established what happens during the creative cognitive processes with respect to neural pathways.
However, psychologically speaking, there are certain personality traits or characteristics that define a creative person. Researcher Scott Barry Kaufman at the Psychology department of New York University says, in so many words, one major feature of the creative person is that they are more complex individuals than the non-creative… because of this he went on to say that imaginative people have ‘messier minds.’
While there is no stereotypical personality type there are certain tell-tale signs or characteristics that describe a creative person. Here are those tell-tale signs or characteristics. Do they describe you?
1. Creative people daydream
Creative people find themselves daydreaming from time to time. Contrary to what teacher told you in the classroom with its negative connotations, daydreaming may allow people to be highly effective by creating something useful right out of the blue…
2. Are wide-eyed and observant!
They see things; objects, people and events… from many angles, taking in all they can with the idea that their observations could be turned into something creative one day…
3. Like to spend time alone
Whether it’s through habit or by nature many successful creative people have been known to be loners. Spending time alone opens the channels for those creative inspirational moments. Indeed, this links with the above that creative people daydream.
Daydreaming and solitude go hand in hand. In both circumstances it allows creative individuals to get in touch with their inner being and express themselves. It comes as no surprise that many famous artists, writers… were considered to be loners.
4. Rise above hardships, using this as a platform for creative output
Psychology recognises the fact that there is a pattern here. Whether it’s at the group or individual level, creative people, having gone through all sorts of heartbreak and pain have turned these things around into something effective, seeing new possibilities for themselves in a different light.
5. Willingness to experience new things
This has been said to be a significant predictor of creativity and creative output. The openness to experience and what is experienced can be a vast range of things, ranging from the sensational, emotional, intellectual, fantasy, thrill seeking… all these experiences brought together as inspiration for creative output. Diversity of experience plays a significant part in nurturing creativity.
6. Show much resilience
The already mentioned Psychologist Kaufman described resilience as a pre-requisite for creative success. Creative individuals are known to fail repeatedly until they can find something that works for them. The trick here is to not take failure or rejection so seriously, but to keep going… to find some workable stability.
7. Don’t avoid the risk
Are not afraid of taking risks related to what they have brought into existence and into being. Innovators may well find themselves having to take risks. Indeed, money, people and resources could well be at stake.
8. They see things as a chance for self-expression
No matter what the circumstances are creative people are always on the lookout for opportunities to express their views, desires and needs in a unique way…
9. Follow what moves, inspires and guides
They act on what intrinsically moves, inspires and guides them rather than getting swayed by external influences like reward and recognition. Just looking at the possibility of what could be intrinsically inspiring is enough to get creativity going.
10. Move away from limitations / confinements
They see a bigger picture, not dwelling on the limitations / confinements that others normally stay with, willing to embrace a greater possibility. Great artists, writers… entrepreneurs… have the ability of vision, seeing things outside of the box and are able to ‘connect the dots.’ Creativity doesn’t just mean putting the pieces together. It’s necessary to know what order and when each piece comes together to form the whole like ‘connecting the dots.’
11. Easily lose track of the time
When in the creative flow writers, musicians, painters, dancers, actors… often lose track of the time. The creative flow is a state that transcends conscious thinking, shutting off time keeping or any distractions and external pressures.
12. Stay focussed
Creative people recognise the importance of staying focussed. If you are in the performing arts’ staying focussed is of course essential. It goes further than this. Maintaining the creative state through mindfulness has been shown by research to increase brain power. There was a Danish 2012 study which showed that mindfulness meditation could enhance creative output. Other bonuses included better memory, an increase in emotional well-being, stress and anxiety reduction.
Sp, do you have any of these tell-tale signs or characteristics?
This is not an exhaustive account but it is hoped that the reader will be inspired while looking closely into those characteristics that describe the creative person.
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