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The Top 10 Traits of Creative People

Category: Effectiveness Skills, Results (AG70)

Originally Submitted on 5/11/97.





Hundreds of traits, or characteristics, of creative people have been identified. Thirty-some have been identified as being repeatedly mentioned across the literature. Researchers say that most creative people display at least five of these 30 traits. So just because you don't see traits here that seem to match who you are, doesn't mean you aren't creative. These ten begin to define parameters for creative people in the widest possible terms and are by no means exclusive.


1. Curious



2. Tolerant of ambiguity


Creative people are comfortable not having the answer all the time


3. Intuitive


but logical, too. Creativity calls for moving easily back and forth between these two broad ways of thinking and processing information.


4. Open to emotions



5. Sense of humor


There appears to be a strong connection between humor or playfulness and creativity


6. Risk taker



7. Persistent



8. Self-disciplined


The perception that creative people are flighty, dis-organized, absent-minded is simply not true. Some are, many are not, just like any segment of the population.


9. Internal motivation


as opposed to being motivated by external factors, like, say, money.


10. Wide ranging interests



About the Submitter

This piece was originally submitted by Ken Coleman, B.A., B.F.A., M.F.A., Educational Administrator.

American pie-------------------------------------------------------------------------


By Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, published on July 01, 1996 - last reviewed on October 14, 2008

Of all human activities, creativity comes closest to providing the fulfillment we all hope to get in our lives. Call it full-blast living.

Creativity is a central source of meaning in our lives. Most of the things that are interesting, important, and human are the result of creativity. What makes us different from apes—our language, values, artistic expression, scientific understanding, and technology—is the result of individual ingenuity that was recognized, rewarded, and transmitted through learning.

When we're creative, we feel we are living more fully than during the rest of life. The excitement of the artist at the easel or the scientist in the lab comes close to the ideal fulfillment we all hope to get from life, and so rarely do. Perhaps only sex, sports, music, and religious ecstasy—even when these experiences remain fleeting and leave no trace—provide a profound sense of being part of an entity greater than ourselves. But creativity also leaves an outcome that adds to the richness and complexity of the future.




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