Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Characteristics of the Creative Personality

In his classic book Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention, author and creativity researcher Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi outlines the characteristics of creative individuals. He wrote, “If there is one word that makes creative people different from others, it is the word complexity. Instead of being an individual, they are a multitude.”

Some of the creative characteristics to look for, which he discusses in his book:
1. A great deal of physical energy alternating with a great need for quiet and rest.
2. Highly sexual, yet often celibate, especially when working.
3. Both extravagant and spartan.
4. Smart and naïve at the same time. A mix of wisdom and childishness. Emotional immaturity along with the deepest insights.
5. Convergent (rational, left brain, sound judgment) and divergent (intuitive, right brain, visionary) thinking. Divergence is the ability to generate a great quantity of ideas, to switch from one perspective to another, and to pick unusual associations of ideas. Convergence involves evaluation and choice. Creative people have the capacity to think both ways.
6. Both extroverted and introverted, needing people and solitude equally.
7. Humble and proud, both painfully self-doubting and wildly self-confident.
8. May defy gender stereotypes, and are likely to have not only the strengths of their own gender but those of the other as well. A kind of psychic androgyny.
9. Can be rebellious and independent on one hand, and traditional and conservative on the other.
10. A natural openness and sensitivity that often exposes them to extreme suffering and pain, yet also to a great deal of enjoyment. Despair alternates with bliss, despair when they aren’t working, and bliss when they are.

Does this sound like you or someone you might know? If so, keep up the creativity! ◦


See Elle Oh said...

Thought-provoking post! Hmm, I've a bit of a bunch of these (1-6 and 9-10). It's a bit scary, though, that many of these are also textbook signs of various mental disorders.

It'd be interesting to get an idea for how creative minds work, in terms of stuff like problem-solving (I'd bet that most creative people are excellent problem-solvers in very unique ways, maybe even ways we wouldn't necessarily expect).

manhattan_transfer2000 said...

That describes me to the tee.