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32 Traits of Creative People
32 Traits of Creative People : Page 2 of 2

32 Traits of Creative People

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Now let's look at how each of the traits can help you be more creative and become a true and effective CRAYON BREAKER. Look specifically at which ones you marked and then at the ones you didn't mark. Often we don't mark certain ones or choose to exercise certain ones because of the potential negative results they can produce for us with other people.

  1. sensitive
    Being sensitive helps creativeness in many ways:
    1. it helps with awareness of problems, known & unknown.
    2. it helps people sense things easier.
    3. it helps to cause people to care and commit themselves to challenges or causes.
  2. not motivated by money
    As important as money is in most societies or economies it is not a driving force for a creative person. Generally they have an intuitive sense of the amount of money they basically need and once that need is fulfilled then money stops affecting or driving them.
  3. sense of destiny
    Intuitively creative people know that they have a purpose, a destiny or they realize that they can choose or create one to drive them to reach greater heights of skill, ability, or talent.
  4. adaptable
    Without the ability to adapt people could not become creative. But rather than adapt to something they choose to adapt things to suit them, their needs or the goals they are striving towards.
  5. tolerant of ambiguity
    Two or more things or ideas being right at the same time challenges the thinking of a creative person. They love to be ambiguous to challenge other people and ideas. Ambiguity helps them see things from many different perspectives all at the same time.
  6. observant
    Creative people constantly are using their senses: consciously, sub-consciously and unconsciously, even non-consciously.
  7. perceive world differently
    Thoreau talked about people drumming to a different drum beat. Creative people thrive on multiple ways of perceiving: seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, tasting, sensing things. These different perspectives open up their minds to unlimited possibilities.
  8. see possibilities
    Average people, people who don't believe they are creative, people who are fearful or resistant to creativeness or creative thinking prefer to work within limits with limited possibilities. Creative people love to see many, even infinite possibilities in most situations or challenges.
  9. question asker
    Creative people, especially highly creatives, probably came out of their mothers wombs asking questions. It's in their nature to question. Question yes, not actually criticize. Their questioning nature often mistakenly appears as criticism when it is simply questioning, exploring, examining, playing with things as they are or might be.
  10. can synthesize correctly often intuitively
    This is the ability to see the whole picture, see patterns, grasp solutions with only a few pieces, even with major pieces missing. Creative people trust their intuition, even if it isn't right 100% of the time.
  11. able to fantasize
    Stop looking out the window Billy. Susie pay attention. Teachers, parents, and even friends often tell creative people this. Highly creative people love to wander through their own imaginary worlds. This is one of the major themes of the very popular cartoon strip Calvin and Hobbes. Both Calvin and Hobbes (Calvin's alter ego?) are perpetual CRAYON BREAKERS.
  12. flexible
    Creative People are very flexible when they are playing with ideas. They love to look at things from multiple points of view and to produce piles of answers, maybes, almosts, when other people are content with the answer or solution.
  13. fluent
    It could be a door stop, a boat anchor, a weapon, a prop, a weight for holding down papers, etc., etc., etc. This is what a creative person would say about the possible uses of a brick.
  14. imaginative
    Creative people love to use their imagination to play, to make seem real, to experiment.
  15. intuitive
    The more creative a person is the more they tap their intuition skills; the abilities to see answers with minimum facts, to sense problems even when they aren't happening.
  16. original
    Being original is a driving force for creative people. They thrive on it.
  17. ingenious
    Doing the unusual. Solving unsolvable problems. Thinking what has never been thought of before. These are all traits of a creative person that make them be ingenious at times.
  18. energetic
    Challenges, problems, new ideas once committed to by a creative person truly excite them and provide them with seeming unlimited amounts of energy; such as Sherlock Holmes once he grasps a sense of the mystery.
  19. sense of humor
    Laughter and creativity truly go together. Many experts believe that creativity can't occur without a touch of humor believing that seriousness tends to squelch creativeness or creative thinking.
  20. self-actualizing
    The psychologist Abraham Maslow created this term in the 1960's representing the ultimate motivator of people the need or desire to be all you can be, to be what you were meant to be.
  21. self-disciplined
    This is one trait that appears to be ambiguous in highly creative people. They can appear disorganized, chaotic at times while at the same time they are highly self-disciplined. At the same time they greatly resist the discipline of other people who are not of like creative mind.
  22. self-knowledgeable
    During my life I have read biographies and biographic sketches or over 4,000 people, mostly considered to be the highest of the highly creatives in their respective fields. One of the few things they had in common is that they all kept some form of journal and were constantly striving to better understand themselves.
  23. specific interests
    This is still another ambiguous trait of creative people. They appear on the surface to be interested in everything, while at the same time they have very specific interests that they commit their true energies and efforts to. By being willing to be exposed to seemingly unlimited interests they discover more about their particular specific interests.
  24. divergent thinker
    Creative people love to diverge from the norm, to look at things from multiple positions, to challenge anything that exists. Because of this they are seen at times to be off-key, deviant, atypical, irregular, or uncharacteristic.
  25. curious
    Like the Cheshire Cat of Alice in Wonderland, creative people are continuously curious, often child-like.
  26. open-ended
    In order to explore many possibilities creative people tend to stay open-ended about answers or solutions until many have been produced.
  27. independent
    Creative people crave and require a high degree of independence, resist dependence but often can thrive on beneficial inter-dependence.
  28. severely critical
    Yes creative people challenge most everything, every idea, every rule. They challenge, challenge, and challenge some more to the point that most other people see their challenging as severe criticism.
  29. non-conforming
    Conforming is the antithesis, the opposite of creativeness and in order to be creative, creative people must be non-conforming and go against the norm, swim upstream.
  30. confident
    This is another ambiguous trait in creative people. When they are at their most creative they are extremely confident. When they are in a stage of frustration when nothing seems to be working they often lack confidence. After much positive experience they begin to trust themselves and know that they will become depressed, frustrated nearly devastated but their internal sub-conscious confidence keeps them moving or at least floating until they experience or discover an aha! (a breakthrough idea or piece of information).
  31. risk taker
    This trait is a general mis-understanding of many non-creative people or people who fear the creativeness of creative people. Highly creative people are not really risk takers because they do not see what they are doing as a risk. They simply see it as a possible solution or path towards a solution. They have other possible solutions, often many others in their head or their notes to use if a particular idea or solution does work. As Thomas Edison once said when asked how it felt to have failed nearly 7,000 times trying to discover the best filament for an incandescent light bulb, those are not failures, they are solutions to problems I haven't started working on yet.
  32. persistent
    Charles Goodyear (discover & inventor of vulcanized rubber) and Chester Carlson (inventor of electrostatic copying, the Xerox process: xerography) are two of the best examples of this trait in creative people. Both of them worked over 30 years trying to make a solution they discovered work. Creative people do not give up on things that mean a lot to them.

The more of the 32 traits you choose the more creative you are or you have the potential to be or become. And the more potentially you are a CRAYON BREAKER.

How many of the traits did you first mark as fitting you? The more you mark or use the greater you will be able to capitalize on your natural creativeness. Some of them you may use at work, some at home, some at school. Ask yourself why? Are there some barriers that prevent you from using some of the traits anywhere you choose?

I have found that sometimes it is helpful to deliberately practice particular traits to release my creativeness when I am feeling stale, dull, or blocked. We all experience creative block at times. The causes may be situational, physical, emotional, mental, relational or even undefinable.

Recognize which of the 32 are natural to you. Accept the ones that may be causing you difficulty at work. Then focus on strengthening the ones you enjoy the most and especially the ones supported in your workplace.

Best wishes in the continual growth and use of your natural creative potential. •

© 1990 Robert Alan Black, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

Robert Alan BlackRobert Alan Black, Ph.D. is a Creative Thinking Consultant and his company is Cre8ng People, Places & Possibilities. More »

5/9/06