March 6, 2014

Why Are We the Way We Are? A List of Things Creative People Do Differently

CreativityIf you're a creative person, you might've wondered, perhaps especially in your youth, what the hell was wrong with you. Maybe you were the "weird" kid in class that was always looking out the window, or maybe you were teased for your bizarre taste in clothes. We've all been there -- it kind of goes with the territory if you're creative, and according to this article from the Huffington Post, many of us do a lot of the same things because we're creative. Continue on for a scientific look at things highly creative people do -- learn a little bit more about yourself, as well as get inspired to try something new.

I've spent more than my fair share of time in the principal's office, detention, or getting lectured by some sort of authority figure for doing things described in this article by Carolyn Gregoire of the Huffington Post. In fact, I still get chided (ever so lovingly) from time to time by my friends who have long since "grown up" and taken personal responsibility by the horns, as well as having felt the strong pull of the status quo telling me to hurry up, follow directions, and not to wear wool socks with sandals and sweat shorts (unless I'm in Portland -- Portland let's me be weird).

Creatives have a distinctive nature. Many of us have gone years wondering what exactly makes us so restless, difficult to relate to, or even difficult to understand. Gregoire investigates the neuroscience behind creativity and found that --

Psychologically speaking, creative personality types are difficult to pin down, largely because they're complex, paradoxical and tend to avoid habit or routine. And it's not just a stereotype of the "tortured artist" -- artists really may be more complicated people.

Okay -- maybe "complicated" isn't something you'd put in bold on your online dating profile, but check out this list of characteristics and behaviors typically found in creative personalities and see how many of them you do daily.

  • They daydream.
  • They observe everything.
  • They work the hours that work for them.
  • They take time for solitude.
  • They turn life’s obstacles around.
  • They seek out new experiences.
  • They “fail up.”
  • They ask the big questions.
  • They people-watch.
  • They take risks.
  • They view all of life as an opportunity for self-expression.
  • They follow their true passions.
  • They get out of their own heads.
  • They lose track of the time.
  • They surround themselves with beauty.
  • They connect the dots.
  • They constantly shake things up.
  • They make time for mindfulness.

Gregoire does a great job expounding upon each behavior scientifically, adding quotes from scientific articles and artists alike. For instance, to explain why creatives people watch, she quotes Scott Barry Kaufman, a psychologist at New York University, as saying that, "For a lot of writers, people-watching is very important -- They're keen observers of human nature." He also states that Marcel Proust's books were written through observations he had over a lifetime of people-watching.

My biggest takeaway from this list (overall) is that it's good to be different. Nearly everything on the list challenges the traditional modus operandi, wondering if there isn't a better method, new idea, or different connection to be made. The act of creating is more than slapping paint onto canvas or tossing some actors onto a set -- it's a delicate, vicious, scary, lonely, hopeful, hopeless, and utterly complicated and seemingly impossible process. But most of all, it's intimate and personal. So, understanding yourself a little more will absolutely help you when it comes time to get creative -- this list is a good starting point.

If you want to learn more about Gregoire's findings, you can check out her full article here.

Link: 18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently -- The Huffington Post

[via Go Into the Story]

Your Comment

25 Comments

sweet article! thanks!

March 6, 2014 at 3:46PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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angela

The dream of the 90's is alive in Portland, V. Go, be weird. Be free.

March 6, 2014 at 3:50PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Rob Hardy
Founder of Filmmaker Freedom
4496

lolol

March 6, 2014 at 4:10PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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eddie

love that song...

March 6, 2014 at 4:19PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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It's the only place where wool socks and Birkenstocks are entirely appropriate to wear with a suit (complete with greying, braided ponytail). PDX 4eva!

March 6, 2014 at 4:27PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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V Renée
Nights & Weekends Editor
Writer/Director

The dream of the 1890's...

March 6, 2014 at 5:53PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Damnit, I comply with so few of these...It's like a checklist thing, right?

March 6, 2014 at 4:22PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Don't worry about it. Really.

March 16, 2014 at 12:51PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Steve

I'd consider creativity a basic human character trait with manifold ways to manifest itself in any kind of behavior and in every form of profession. It's people who do any sort of art who feel like they have a monopoly on it and the authority to define it. What do I get if I can check almost every point on that list? Nothing more than a VERY vague description of at least 30 to 40 % of people in the world and of course a bunch of qualities every other guy would like to attribute to himself. There are creative people who are very disciplined, focused, introverted (so much for seeking out new experiences) and just do work that makes most people look like amateurs. I am talking about composers, painters, writers. And it's only because of them not talking a lot about themselves that makes definitions of how creativity expresses itself in behavior like in this list pop up and narrow it down to something that it isn't. Deconstructing lists like these and exposing where they serve little more than a creative person's vanity is much more fruitful than just saying "Oh, that's ssssssoooo meee!" with a self-satisfied grin.

March 6, 2014 at 4:54PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Anteeru

Statistically speaking, yes this list is poorly designed, because there is little scientific statistics. But if you look at any scientific findings regarding the creative aspect of the brain, you will see that structure and rigidness are closely aligned with less creativity (which the original author tries to scratch the surface of). This is simplified by the more organized you are, the less room for creativity. But that doesn't mean you aren't an artist if you don't observe people in public, take risks, or daydream; it's more so about the freedom you allow yourself to explore is where the most creativity can come to life. Lists like this are made to encourage the weird, the loose, and the free.

Creativity and Technicality can go hand and hand, eh-hem, the camera team on every film.

But sometimes people want to know why they do things that others don't. It is no different than someone who is anal about organization wanting to know why everyone around them are so sloppy.

March 6, 2014 at 5:06PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Ken

the article doesn't say anything about organization, I'm very organized and systematic in a lot of aspectecs of my life plus anything else that was on the list. I consider myself very creative but I can tell you that it isn't untill you master the tools of the medium in which you are working on that you can let your imagination run wild.

May 30, 2015 at 2:17PM

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There are left brained and right brained creatives. Right brained have many of the features described in VR's piece. Left brained are indeed more organized but that doesn't mean they can't be creative. I brought up the old "Newhart" creator Lozenzo Music, who did much of his writing in LA strip clubs. On the other hand, you have someone like Jerry Seinfeld (a tall, thin and neat guy, who would have made a great Nazi ... according to his own show) who writes long hand on a sheet on paper and always on a schedule. And even among the comedians, you have really wild, ad lib oriented men like Williams or Kinison or very scripted guys like Seinfeld, Steven Wright and Bob Newhart himself. Bob, FWIW, was an accountant in his pre show business career and you can't be a good accountant if you're too unstructured.
.
Below is a right vs. left brain test.
http://www.intelliscript.net/test_area/questionnaire/questionnaire.cgi

March 6, 2014 at 6:28PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

August 7, 2014 at 6:01AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Creativity is something that every human has, some just never discover it, perhaps due to the realities of their struggle for survival. To say one group has this traits and not potentially everyone is pompous and simply not true. This is ego defined.

March 14, 2014 at 10:24AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Dave Reid

Is that what my problem is? Jeeze, I identify with almost all of these. Thank you for posting this.

March 6, 2014 at 5:11PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Sean Mittelstaedt

thank you for this list, now i am more confident that i am on the right track, i always seems to be the stand out person, getting more attention amongst a group then others, always looking different dressed then others, i see things more intensive, deeper, i got strong power in my eyes when looking at someone its like it click with other people,I found that i got Gods power beaming out of my body, i am totaly different than other, when others say t oh this is wonderfull, i might not think so, I see some other needs or deeper things that has to be done or changed before i can say it is wonderfull, i know if i do something everyone will say it is wonderfull, everything i do is a success, i just get people to support me, i am new in this career, i am halfway with my song cd and in the beginning with my book, which i stopped writting it in afrikaans, and rather want to write it in a screen play, have to learn a lot and need sponsors and help to make my dream come true

March 11, 2014 at 7:41AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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marie myburgh

Wow.

March 15, 2014 at 8:17AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Svetlamne

Er - well you've 'done' this post and I don't think it's wonderful at all. I think you and your ego need a dose of reality.

March 16, 2014 at 12:46PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Steve

So, what alarmed me, is that not everyone is this way. It never struck me that "non-creative" people existed in the sense of people who don't seek day dreaming and risks etc... This is sincere, no sarcasm, I'm really currently having this epiphany that not every one wants to be the person who is so lost in something that they lose all track of time regularly.

A weird concept since we make this feed back loop between art and society, then those who would be deemed 'uncreative' are not targeted to participate in this...

Oh my gosh, I totally understand the LEGO Movie now... Everything is awesome!

March 13, 2014 at 8:04PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Maan, that I Loved this post, I felt like I was talking to a psy

March 14, 2014 at 12:39AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Y. Adam Camara

Let's all celebrate how wonderfully different and creative we must be because of a list in the Huff. 'I daydream - oh I must be soooo creative!'
Please.

March 16, 2014 at 12:49PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Steve

An interesting thing to me is the fact that that list describes the vast majority of traits of people with ADD/ADHD. Reading a couple books on the subject, I realize there is a very strong correlation between creativity and ADD.

March 18, 2014 at 11:39PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Daniel Mimura

I wonder what if you put two creative person in a room, would they watch each other forever? I think less creative one would give up earlier:)
(btw, the list is shockingly matches me. I daydream a lot, i mean, more than a child. Actually I am even dreaming at the moment of you reading this. But, 'surrounding with beauty' is not clear to me. I tried to surround myself with beauties but 'failed' as 7th motto anticipates:) )

August 7, 2014 at 8:14AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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kasim tasdemir

Wow, I feel weird, all this points are what I do daily, Its weird because I am currently at the verge of decision making that will change my life to fail or succeed, I stop being an a college student as a fine arts major in advertising because of financial but mostly no one understands me, I don't have people that I can call friends, I can consider myself I think an Introvert, I do try different kind of grounds of creativity, photography, graphic design, Illustration, Branding, Filmmaking and I can certainly say to someone that I can do that, Its hard for me to do what I love because society forgot that creativity makes the world run, without creativity the world will be stagnant. And now I am currently enrolled in a Design school as a Visual Design and it only takes a year to graduate and people always not understand me and pointing me as a disappointment especially my family, they thought I'm lazy because there always a moment that when I feel I succeed on a particular ground I always stop and look for another territory to understand and make great things out of it. I love to take the risk it may be hard, but I feel alive because of it. I love to be the subject to study tho.

August 8, 2014 at 12:05PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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At the risk of sounding very negative, as this list suggests, one can be very creative and entirely unproductive.

May 30, 2015 at 2:41PM

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