Have you ever been told that you daydream often? That you are good at thinking outside the box? Perhaps you are a highly creative person. Most people believe that creativity is something unique and difficult to obtain. A natural talent, a rare skill. However, research shows that creativity is actually learnt and may be more common than you think.
In reality, a lot of what we know about creative people has been debunked in recent times. For example, have you heard that the right side of the brain controls creativity? Well, that’s actually a myth!
While we still have a lot to learn about creative and imaginative minds, there are a few notable characteristics and differences between highly creative people and non-creative people. Perhaps you can relate to a few of them!
Here are 6 Surprising Traits of Highly Creative People that you may not have known.
1. They are open to new experiences
Creative people tend to enjoy seeking out new experiences. When most people would despise or reject certain experiences, creative people are more likely to give them a try. Whether it’s a new activity, perspective, meeting new people or trying a different method, creative people like to learn and discover more.
As a result, research has shown that this desire to try new experiences actually leads to, and benefits their quality of creative work too! According to James Kaufman, an American psychologist, “Openness to experience is consistently the strongest predictor of creative achievement. In his research, he found that highly creative individuals enjoy three types of engagement that make up openness.
- Intellectual engagement is about an interest in truth and ideas; loving problem solving.
- Affective engagement is the desire to understand other people; using empathy and compassion.
- Aesthetic engagement is the tendency to react emotionally, appreciate and explore art.
Which engagement do you relate with most? Perhaps you are more creative and open to new experiences than you previously thought.
2. They love to express themselves
Creative people often seek opportunities to learn more about themselves. In doing so, they usually end up wanting to find ways to demonstrate their inner beliefs and interests through creativity and self-expression. Have you ever wrote a song about a personal experience or painted a piece that represented a particular emotion you felt? That may be a sign that you are a highly creative person. Even the smallest of things such as buying a keyring or shirt you like can be a sign of your love for self-expression.
Unfortunately, in certain countries or circumstances, individualism and self-expression is frowned upon. However, highly creative people know that, if possible, breaking out of that stigma is actually beneficial and important. According to De la Huerta, self-expression is vital if you want to live as your best selves in a fulfilling life. Only through self-expression, can highly creative people can embrace who they are and celebrate their differences. Similarly, researcher Judith Glaser, agrees, saying that creative people’s self-expression actually helps them to work more efficiently too, creating more innovative work!
3. They learn and persevere from their mistakes
Highly creative people are one of the most persistent and determined types of people. Why? Because they resist giving up after each failure, knowing that each failure leads to more improvement each time. Perseverance is one of their most valuable skills, they don’t take the hits personally and keep going.
Highly creative people often understand that hard work and dedication is the key to success. As Sofia Calderale stated in her article on persverance, “When encountered with difficult situations, we often tend to believe we are not good enough to accomplish them. We obliviously believe that there are other people meant to complete those objectives. It is hard to see past the front that everyone puts up”.
Perhaps if you find yourself struggling in creativity, you should try doing things that boost your self-esteem, such as doing something kind for someone or writing down your accomplishments!
4. They aren’t afraid to be alone
Everyone feels sad at times when they’re alone, it’s natural and normal to feel this way. However, creative people find it slightly easier to be alone, preferring to work by themselves to focus more easily. Being alone doesn’t always bother them, and in fact, helps them to reflect and think about new ideas!
While excessive solitude and “alone time” can be unproductive and dangerous, constructive use of solitude can actually improve your creativity. Research has shown that when we focus on the outside world, our imagination network is typically suppressed! That is why it is important to give yourself time and space to breath every once in a while. It is healthy, and you may find yourself being more creative with your inner thoughts!
5. They are interested in people
Highly creative individuals are compassionate, empathetic, and curious. They often enjoy talking to other people because it gives them a sense of curiosity. The innerworkings and thoughts of other people interest them, and they long to understand that person better.
Creative people usually have fulfilling relationships and work hard to maintain that with the ones they love. Their empathy and compassion is usually taken for granted, but is a vital component in their personality. In fact, research has found that there is a positive relationship between empathy and creativity, John Wakefield suggesting that this may be because empathy paves the way for creative problem solving.
6. They are intuitive
While this doesn’t apply to every creative person out there, the majority of highly creative and imaginative people are intuitive. They follow their heart, not their brain, and this can often lead to them taking giant risks, whether the outcome is positive or not. Highly creative people often do not follow the norm, they prefer to follow their gut, which helps them and their creativity.
In addition, intuition is actually the basis of creativity! Going with the flow and creating something out of nothing is exactly what creativitiy is in the first place. Intuition helps build that foundation of trust in yourself and your inner feelings, not flawed thoughts. While intuition may not always lead to a perfect solution or outcome, it is a great tool for creativity and is a strong trait for the highly creative.
Thank you for reading! Do you relate to any of these traits? Let us know in the comments below!
- Alex B. “7 Common Traits Of Highly Creative People. Lifehack.
- Carolyn G. “18 Habits of Highly Creative People”. Huffington Post. 17 Nov 2015
- Courtney E.A. “What is Self-Expression and How to Foster It?” PositivePsychology.
- Dondi L. “10 Ways to Spot An Intuitive Person. IheartIntelligence 12 July 2017.
- Saga B. “The Number One Predictor of Creativity? Openness to Experience”. InformED. 08 Nov 2016.
- Sherrie C. “10 Traits of Highly Creative Achievers. Entrepreneur. 11 Aug 2016.
- Scott B.K. “Ten Habits of Highly Creative People”. Greater Good. 20 Jan 2016.
- Kendra C. “10 Characteristics of Creative People”. Verywell Mind. 13 Oct 2019
- “Why Empathy is the Secret to Creativity”. Little Black Book.