Paradoxical traits of creative people

Understanding people, particularly creative people is not an easy feat – even if you are a creative type yourself, Professor of psychology and management Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s (pronounced me-HIGH chick-sent-me-HIGH-ee) and Author of  Creativity: The Work and Lives of 91 Eminent People (HarperCollins, 1996) is a must read for the curious mind in understanding and distinguishing people around us (or even ourselves) as creatives, artists, entrepreneurs or just a little off-beat. In Creativity, Mihaly references 10 characteristics of creative people, the paradoxical nature of their character and some personality traits you may recognise in yourself of those around you. Via  FAISAL HOQUE.

  1. Creative people have a great deal of physical energy, but they’re also often quiet and at rest.They work long hours, with great concentration, while projecting an aura of freshness and enthusiasm.
  2. Creative people tend to be smart yet naive at the same time.“It involves fluency, or the ability to generate a great quantity of ideas; flexibility, or the ability to switch from one perspective to another; and originality in picking unusual associations of ideas. These are the dimensions of thinking that most creativity tests measure and that most workshops try to enhance.”
  3. They combine playfulness and discipline, or responsibility and irresponsibility.“Despite the carefree air that many creative people affect, most of them work late into the night and persist when less driven individuals would not. “
  4. Creative people alternate between imagination and fantasy, and a rooted sense of reality
  5. Creative people tend to be both extroverted and introvertedWe’re usually one or the other, either preferring to be in the thick of crowds or sitting on the sidelines and observing the passing show. Creative individuals, on the other hand, seem to exhibit both traits simultaneously.
  6. They are humble and proud at the same time
  7. Creative people, to an extent, escape rigid gender role stereotypingWhen tests of masculinity and femininity are given to young people, over and over one finds that creative and talented girls are more dominant and tough than other girls, and creative boys are more sensitive and less aggressive than their male peers.
  8. They are both rebellious and conservative
  9. Most creative people are very passionate about their work, yet they can be extremely objective about it as well”I think it is very important to find a way to be detached from what you write, so that you can’t be so identified with your work that you can’t accept criticism and response, and that is the danger of having as much affect as I do. But I am aware of that and of when I think it is particularly important to detach oneself from the work, and that is something where age really does help.”
  10. Creative peoples openness and sensitivity often exposes them to suffering and pain, yet also to a great deal of enjoyment.“Perhaps the most important quality, the one that is most consistently present in all creative individuals, is the ability to enjoy the process of creation for its own sake. Without this trait, poets would give up striving for perfection and would write commercial jingles, economists would work for banks where they would earn at least twice as much as they do at universities, and physicists would stop doing basic research and join industrial laboratories where the conditions are better and the expectations more predictable.”

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