There are certain types you can recognize by just a few traits. Take introverts for example: they’re usually quiet, not very talkative, they prefer silence and they’d rather read a book than go out.
In "Flow and the Pshychology of creativity", professor Csikszentmihalyi wondered if there were specific traits characteristic to the creative personality. While he didn’t discover any intrinsic features for creatives alone, the following contrasting pair of traits came up constantly in his research.
1. Energetic and quiet at the same time.
Creative people can focus very hard and work extremely long hours, but somehow they don’t feel tired. This is more often the result of their internal focus rather than physical ability. Also, they learn when they need to focus and use their energy and when they can rest.
2. Intelligent and naive
You need to be smart, yet willing to throw everything out the window and ask the simplest (read dumbest) of questions.These folks master the two opposite ways of thinking: convergent and divergent. Convergent thinking kicks in when looking for a precise, rational answer, while divergent thinking is especially useful for open-ended matters and for generating ideas. The latter needs the former in order to select the ideas worth pursuing from a bunch.
3. Playful, but disciplined and hardworking.
Creative personalities are at the same time both playful and disciplined. There is an old Chinese saying, “Words don’t cook rice” that applies to this to a certain extent. Creative people get ideas, but at the same time they work hard to bring them to reality. As one interviewee sums it up: “The germ of an idea does not make a sculpture stand out”. An electrical engineer suggested a mental trick when he uses when working long hours: he pretends that he is in jail.
4. Imaginative, but still realistic.
All great achievers questioned what was already there in both art and science. They all thought of possibilities that others couldn’t comprehend at first. Csikszentmihalyi mentions that the whole point of art and science is to go beyond what’s already in front of your eyes and create a new reality.
5. Both introverted and extroverted.
Csikszentmihalyi observed that creative people tend to experience both sides of this trait, even though this is considered one of the most stable personality traits.
6. Humble, yet proud.
Creative people know their worth and they know the impact of their work in their field. Yet, at the same time they are so focused on upcoming projects that their past achievements no longer get the time of day. At the same time, they acknowledge the role of luck has had to a certain extent.
7. Tendency towards androginity.
Creative people borrow the strengths of the opposite gender with ease. This is much more often understood as homosexuality, but there is a wider meaning here. It refers to being both nurturant, sensitive, caring and dominant, submissive, rigid at the same time, regardless of gender.
8. Both rebellious and conservative
For starters, to be creative, you need to know the current standards and the best practices in your field. You need to know what has been done up to date so that you can break away from the norm right to the point of disregarding what was valued in the past. The most interesting and creative things happen when you throw safety out the window, so to say.
9. Passionate about your work, yet detached from it.
Undoubtedly, you need the passion to get started and to plough through the hard work. At the same time, you also need to be able to detach yourself from it so you can evaluate objectively. By detaching yourself from your work, accepting criticism without being affected by it becomes easier.