Are you creative or are you an artist? Don’t you feel like shouting out sometimes why people don’t understand you? I do. I have nothing personal towards some friends or family members, they are great minds, but they can see only 0 and 1, or black and white… or how much do you spend on a project and how much are you going to earn with it… Well my world is more complex, so let’s stop for one minute and meditate.
Creative people are humble and proud. Creative people tend to be both extroverted and introverted. Creative people are rebellious and conservative. Creative people are often paradoxical.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his seminal book Creativity: The Work and Lives of 91 Eminent People (HarperCollins, 1996) describes ten traits often contradictory in nature, that are frequently present in creative people.
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.
3. Creative people combine playfulness and discipline, or responsibility and irresponsibility. But this playfulness doesn’t go very far without its antithesis, a quality of doggedness, endurance, and perseverance.
4. Creative people alternate between imagination and fantasy, and a rooted sense of reality. Great art and great science involve a leap of imagination into a world that is different from the present.
5. Creative people tend to be both extroverted and introverted. We’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. Creative people are humble and proud at the same time. It is remarkable to meet a famous person who you expect to be arrogant or supercilious, only to encounter self-deprecation and shyness instead.
7. Creative people, to an extent, escape rigid gender role stereotyping.
8. Creative people are both rebellious and conservative. It is impossible to be creative without having first internalized an area of culture. So it’s difficult to see how a person can be creative without being both traditional and conservative and at the same time rebellious and iconoclastic.
9. Most creative people are very passionate about their work, yet they can be extremely objective about it as well. Without the passion, we soon lose interest in a difficult task. Yet without being objective about it, our work is not very good and lacks credibility.
10. Creative people’s openness and sensitivity often exposes them to suffering and pain, yet also to a great deal of enjoyment.
As Csikszentmihalyi says, “creative individuals are remarkable for their ability to adapt to almost any situation and to make do with whatever is at hand to reach their goals.”