Characteristics of Highly Creative People | Kreativitätsdenken |

There are a surprising number of blog posts about the characteristics of creative people. However, most of these seem to focus either on an idealized vision of an artist or the blog-writer’s idealized self-image! Here is my take on the characteristics of highly creative people. However, what I have done is looked at how creative people think -- based on my understanding of the latest research -- and applied it to behavior. It is also worth bearing in mind that creativity is not all positive. There are good and bad creative people. Moreover, there seem to be some characteristics of creative people, such as dishonesty, that are not very nice. More controversially, some research has shown a correlation between creativity and mental illness. (The validity of this is contested, though.) The characteristics of highly creative people are, I believe, the result of two specific behaviors of such people. Let's look at those behaviors and how they affect broader behavior.


Behavior One: Make More Use of Their Mental Raw Material


It seems that when highly creative people try to solve a problem or achieve a goal, particularly when the goal is related to their area of creative strength, they use much more of their brains than do ordinary people or, indeed, than even themselves when they are not focused on a creative task. If the average person is asked to draw a picture of a cat, she will most likely think about the physical appearance of a cat and replicate it as best she can with pen and paper. The creative artist, on the other hand, will think in much more depth. She'll think not only about the cat, but the placement of the cat; what the cat is doing; the lighting; the kind of lines to use and much more. She may decide to humanize the cat and give it emotions. Perhaps she'll decide to draw a sexy cat with a human body wearing an evening gown. Maybe she'll simply draw a blur representing a cat in motion. By using much more of her brain to achieve her goal, the highly creative person, in effect, provides herself with more raw material from which to construct ideas than the average person. The average person thinks only about drawings of cats and the basic characteristics of cats. This limits the level of creativity she can achieve. The highly creative person thinks about much more -- all the while retaining some connection to cats. It is not surprising that, with so much raw material, she is able to be more creative in the realization of her ideas.....