Two Myths of Creativity

What is creativity? When we think of creativity what often comes to mind are inventors such as Leonardo Di Vinci or Steve Jobs, or people who have created masterpieces such as Picasso or Bach. There are many definitions of creativity, but for our purposes, we will use the definition; “the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.; originality, progressiveness, or imagination.”

Let’s dispel two myths of creativity:

  • Only some people are creative: Many people are classified as creative and non-creative based on their occupation. For example: artists and musicians are considered creative whereas plumbers and accountants are considered non-creative. However, anyone can show creativity in their chosen field: finding new, interesting solutions to projects, coming up with ideas within their specialty, or solving everyday problems and challenges.
  • Only certain ideas are creative: We often think of creative ideas as revolutionary or a breakthrough, often described as out-of-the-box thinking. In addition to revolutionary creativity there is evolutionary creativity, which results from refining ideas/combining previous ideas and gaining deeper insight into a problem. The results are new insights.

We require both revolutionary and evolutionary creativity. If we have a limited definition of creativity it prevents many people from tapping into their own creative potential. In today’s corporate and economic environment no one can afford not to apply creativity and innovation. Regardless of the industry you are in, creativity in your workplace should be part of your practice. New ideas will help your organization grow.

Ten Characteristics of Creative People

As stated earlier, when we talk about a creative person, two types of people often come to mind:

First, those who are highly creative in one domain, with exceptional innate talent. Through effort and dedication, they create highly valued pieces of work. For example: Andy Warhol, Beethoven, and Michelangelo.

Second, those who live life creatively. These people are interested in new ways of perceiving their surroundings, and are not limited by social or intellectual barriers.

Creative people exhibit many characteristics or traits. Let’s examine 10 characteristics often associated with creative people.

  1. Curious: Creative people ask big questions. They want to know the why and how of the world around them. They have a strong desire to learn or know something. They also have a broad and wide range of interests in many unrelated areas.
  2. Imaginative: Considered the hallmark of creativity, these people generate a lot of ideas and clever responses and are often considered daydreamers. They are imaginative, yet stay grounded in reality. They apply imaginative solutions to real-world issues.
  3. Energetic: Creative people often have a great deal of energy, both physical and mental. They are often described as active, dynamic, bubbly, and enthusiastic. They can spend hours working on a specific activity. However, they also spend time on rest, quiet thinking, and reflecting on ideas.
  4. Observant: This characteristic sees possibility everywhere. The creative person is always taking in information, gaining information, surveying their surroundings, reviewing, examining, and thinking about things.
  5. Open-minded: Exhibiting open-mindedness allows creative people to be open to new ideas, and new ways of thinking about situations from different perspectives. This allows for an unprejudiced, objective, and unbiased outlook.
  6. Emotional Sensitivity: Sensitive and in tune with their feelings and emotions, they are emotionally sensitive to their own feelings and they feel very deeply in reaction to stimuli around them.
  7. Passionate: They are passionate about their work. They love what they do although they remain objective about it and are able to see areas that need improvement. They exhibit a vibrant personality, and an intense drive, desire, or devotion for their work, activity, or concept.
  8. Introverted and Extroverted: Creative people can exhibit both of these characteristics at the same time, as they can be social and quiet. They enjoy interacting with people, generating interesting conversation, being engaged and dynamic, and often display a sense of humor, while also being comfortable retreating for alone time.
  9. Resilient: Creative people learn not to take failure personally. The process of failing repeatedly until you find solutions can encompass the creative process, where creatives fail and fail often, the capacity to recover quickly is important.
  10. Adaptable. Creatives have the flexibility to adapt to almost any situation, to adjust to new conditions and alter themselves to the changed circumstances or environment. They display the ability to learn from their experiences.

This is an excerpt from Velsoft’s latest softskills course release, Creativity in the Workplace.