Five Prominent Traits of Creative People

This is  an article taken from Call of the Wild’s Online Academy.

  • Having an Interest in the Abnormal – accepting oddities and abnormalities as intriguing, not repulsive.
  • Thinking Outside of the Box – casting aside existing assumptions and looking at things from new perspectives.
  • Flexibility and Adaptability – being open to different ideas and perspectives, and always being willing to change tack to find a new route to success.
  • Being a Risk-Taker – subscribing to the notion that security is for sissies; a leap of faith can land one in a whole new realm.
  • Endurance and Perseverance – accepting the struggles and strife that litter the road to success

A list of traits that characterize creative people can be as long as one’s thesaurus allows. However, perhaps the essential characteristics of creativity are summed up by just two beliefs:

  • A  willingness to embrace problems
  • A belief that destruction and creation go hand in hand

A Willingness to Embrace Problems

The first necessity of any creative solution is the existence of a problem. Herein lies an essential characteristic of creativity: the ability to identify problems that require solutions –  or indeed the ability to identify situations that require improvements.

This characteristic is not simply the acceptance of the existence of problems, but the impetus to actively search out problems. Where can improvements be made? Questioning the status quo, looking for the holes, are traits that creative people continually exhibit.

Creative people are curious. They are seekers – ‘why’ and ‘how’ are very familiar words in their vocabulary. Challenging assumptions is a common trait in creative people. There is also a faith that solutions can be found to all problems. Strange or ambiguous situations are exciting rather than frightening. To creativity, the unknown does not cause fear, but opportunity.

For creative people, success and failure are not seen as opposites. Failure is an essential component on the road to success and should be accepted as a positive aspect. Failure is better regarded simply as practice and attempt.

To some, the willingness to court failure may be characterized as risk-taking behaviour. In fact, creative people simply accept the fact that they will fail repeatedly en route to reaching their goals. perseverance and persistence are hallmarks of the creative personality.  According to the old adage, ‘perspiration’ should be added to this list, as in: creativity is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration.

A Belief that Destruction and Creation go Hand in Hand

“There will be a time to murder and create”
~ T.S. Eliot

Creative people are comfortable with the idea of tearing something apart to rebuild it in a new way. Being dissatisfied with the way things are is an essential characteristic of the creative. However, it is not a pessimistic outlook, but an optimistic one. It is the desire to find a new way, a better way.

It is not destruction for its own sake – creative people are not nihilists. Destruction should not be a negative impulse, but a positive one. Even problems that have already been solved can be solved again in new ways. There are endless solutions to any given problem, and endless methods of creatively handling any particular situation. One solution may be perfectly acceptable, but there can always be a better one, yet to be thought of.

Creative people understand this and always seek new solutions. The status quois never acceptable. Creative personalities are willing to tear apart their own work and the work of others, to deconstruct it to see how it works, and then to build something new out of those parts.

Artists often refer to this destruction and reconstruction of their own work as being essential to the creative process, and the idea is evident in the business world in widely used processes such as reengineering.

Think creativity

Creation does not spring out of nothingness All creativity is based on the adaptation of what already exists. Creative people are willing to build on other peoples’ ideas, and to use existing tools to build something new. Creative people do not rush to judgement. They do not disregard ideas out of hand. They are not repulsed by the strange and unfamiliar, but instead allow ideas time to germinate. Finally, creative people are able to be objective about their own work. Analysing one’s own ideas critically is important, and the openness to other peoples’ opinions is equally important in the quest for successful creativity

Gavin Kotze.

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