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. If I had to express in one word what makes their personalities different from others, it’s complexity. They show tendencies of thought and action that in most people are segregated. They contain contradictory extremes; instead of being an “individual,” each of them is a “multitude.”
— Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi
In researching my new book on creativity with Carolyn Gregoire, something that became clear is that creative people have messy minds. They are really good at mixing and matching all sorts of seemingly contradictory emotions, ideas, and personality traits to produce something truly original and meaningful.
Here are eight ways of describing creative people that take into account their paradoxical nature and process.
Creative People Are…
- Mindful Daydreamers
They are master observers of human nature– and they use much of that material for their creative work– but they are also able to turn inward and let their minds wander and imagine new worlds.
- Imaginatively Gritty
They are intensely gritty, determined, and good at persevering against obstacles, particularly for imaginative worlds they are motivated and inspired to make a reality.
- Passionately Introverted
For things they care deeply about, they have a lot of passion but they can sometimes come across as introverted when engaged in their activity because they are in flow focusing intensely and ignoring outside stimulation. Similarly, creative people can seem very extraverted during a performance because they are fully engaged with their passion, while offstage they came seem quite introverted.
- Openly Sensitive
They are open to new experiences, emotions, sensations, and ideas, but they are also very sensitive to this new information, often becoming overwhelmed by the myriad of input they’ve let into their consciousness.
- Playfully Serious
Creative people are silly, playful, and realize the absurdity of life, but they can also be extremely serious and focused on the issues that matter the most to them. Even when being serious, however, creative people tend to have a playful mindset, which helps them bounce back from setbacks and be comfortable with trial-and-error.
- Logically Intuitive
They listen to their intuition, but they do not let their intuition completely dictate their behavior; while using intuition to inform their decisions, they can also be intensely rational and logical.
- Vulnerably Resilient
Like most people, creative people have had a lot of hardships and trauma in their life, but they are able to learn from it and use it for creative growth. At the same time, there still is a certain amount of vulnerability and tenderness they are not afraid to display, which only makes them more able to connect with others who have had similar struggles.
- Rebellious Experts
They are nonconforming and like rebelling against the status quo, while at the same time they have become deep experts in their field, respecting the shoulders they are standing on.