I had read this article, 18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently, a while back and wanted to highlight and comment on elected sections of it. Creative people are not limited to painters, clothing designers, jewelry makers, etc. They can also be architects, horse trainers, humane shelter workers, computer programmers, accountants, etc. This is a topic that is difficult to explain but I will try to break it down in hopes of providing another perspective for understanding. Part 1:
“…psychologically speaking, creative personality types are difficult to pin down, largely because they’re complex, paradoxical and tend to avoid habit or routine.”
I agree that we can be complex. Often I have reasoning behind why I make artistic decisions not solely related to my style. Sometimes, however, it is hard to explain why I use one process or another. Some artists will pick and choose by feel – what feels better, what feels correct. When I say “feel” I am not talking about emotions – in my case it is also a sense for energy. Like Feng Shui presents the theory that the organization of items in a room create a flow of energy. One arrangement will work better than another. Different people can be particular to a different energy.
“Research has suggested that creativity involves the coming together of a multitude of traits, behaviors and social influences in a single person…”
Very few will admit that this is even remotely accurate. This is also the most difficult to explain. Often people like this will become afraid when the different parts show – especially around people they don’t trust – and can become even more more stressed when it shows around people they want to/do trust. Those who are not understanding can make a simple call to have the artist locked away (remember it is all in presentation). If you were placed in a setting where people treated you like you were crazy long enough you would go nuts too! Take for example an exposé in which Elizabeth Cochane (aka Nellie Bly) studied a mental institution from within. She faked behavior that was construed as insanity and once in the institution she was made to “sit from 6am until 8pm on straight-back benches and allowed to do absolutely nothing” – well. Elizabeth was a pioneer in her field – and also inspired the character Lois Lane.
“It’s actually hard for creative people to know themselves because the creative self is more complex than the non-creative self,” Scott Barry Kaufman, a psychologist at New York University… “The things that stand out the most are the paradoxes of the creative self … Imaginative people have messier minds.”
I’d just like to stress this section and ask you to be understanding and compassionate for those friends you know who can be like this. I guarantee that they appreciate it very much. I cannot point out one set way that creative people are as there are many, many types, but hopefully along with this article I can give you a bit of insight to some characteristics and behaviors. Keep in mind that creative people may not have all of these at once, perhaps they only exhibit one or two prominently:
- Daydreaming – is anything but a waste of time. No, really. That’s where a lot of the creative ideas come from. I’m not talking just about imagining fantasy lands with dragons, space travel, wormholes, and hypothetical biomedical warfare. I’m talking about minds that examine how a system (vehicular engines, ecosystem, levels of society, clocks, stars, galaxy systems, etc.) functions and then construct supplements in the background. This goes on constantly and though ideas seem to come out of the blue they can be from long term incubation or even just the right gears with gaining knowledge in our specialities clicking into place.
- Observing Everything – may not be obvious, even to the artists. I take in a lot of detail even when I don’t realize it. While I can train myself to be more aware of the details and take in even more it’s like when a kid tosses too many toys into her closet to feign that she did as mommy asked and cleaned her room. Eventually when you open that closet all the toys come spilling out and it’s a giant mess. Now while entropy can be an encouraging and attractive system too much of it is a bad thing – just like too little is. Balance for each person is different.
- Working the hours that work for them – is important. To encourage the creative juices to flow all the time can be hard, but it is possible to encourage the flow when there is a natural rush. It’s like taking a lesson on or working a barn sour horse. Typically in a lesson you ride in a circle and a barn sour horse will move fastest when s/he is moving in the direction of the barn. You can ride this wave by starting their trot/canter/gallop in the direction of the barn and then keep encouraging them to move through the rest of the circle at the same speed. The difficulty level can range, as does encouraging the creativity to keep going.
- Taking time for solitude – is a requirement for some artists. Don’t take this personally. It is not directed at you and is a method for recharging. Some creative people can recharge in social situations. Others need to be alone. The time period they need to be alone for can vary. Patience is not easy to teach. It’s not always easy to learn either.
- They turn life’s obstacles around. – Hardships can be used for creative growth. This is not always a requirement and it always sucks being in the moment of suffering and pain. Who the hell likes being miserable? Some can work through this alone. Some would benefit greatly from a support system which can come in the form of a pet, friend(s), rehab, a job to get them back on their feet, etc. It’s hard.
- Seeking out new experiences – helps the intake of new ideas, fresh perspective, and development. I take inspiration from a wide variety of things. Some artists are inspired by a particular field like traveling or scuba diving. Keep doing those things. They keep your mind going and promote an overall more functional you.
That’s it for now! Part 2 comes out next week!