Previous   Next

What are the characteristics of a creative person?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on May 17, 2006

Browse the archives

Photo of Max Wick

“Energy, an enthusiasm for life and an openness for new ideas and concepts.”

Photo of Sarah Peterson

“They see things in a different way. Nothing is black and white for them.”

Photo of Chaitra Ford

“The ability to communicate and to understand others.”

Photo of Ta Pradith

“They just have a different perspective on things that most people don’t realize.”

Related story

Comments

enochville 9 years ago

A creative person is someone who comes up with ideas that are (1) original and (2) useful. Like all strengths, creativity exists on a continuum.

When you want to exercise your creativity, try doing something first that you know will put you in a happy, relaxed mood. Avoid criticism (and this includes self-criticism!) and time-pressured situations when possible. Finally, recognize that creativity often requires work, work, and more work.

For more on the positive psychology of creativity, look here: http://www.apa.org/monitor/nov03/creativity.html

enochville 9 years ago

I should note that when a psychologist starts studying something, they usually adopt a more narrow definition of the concept than is shared by the general public, because in common language we often conflate different ideas into one. That is why my first post might be more narrow than what most people would think of when they think of creativity.

trinity 9 years ago

the ability to sign up for a message board on the ljw-and to hang in here with the big dogs. :)

i cannot wait to see what dear inmate says to this one! i've gotten hooked on inmate's posts; it will be a sad day indeed if ever he(she??)has to stop posting for some reason!

trinity 9 years ago

oh and ps-what the h-e-double hockeysticks is a toddler stylist, anyway???

my toddlers&my grand-toddlers all possess a wonderfully unique&crazy style, ALL THEIR OWN. :)

paladin 9 years ago

I think girls are more creative than boys. That's why teachers like them more. They can color inside of the lines and I can't. They can come up with stuff like sunsets and rainbows and flowers and animals, while I'm only drawing stick figures. They can always find stuff to do, while I usually just watch the TV. I used to be a psychologist, but now I'm just a general publican. Oh well.

paladin 9 years ago

I should note that I wrote a novel once which was a psychological comedy. It was not well received. It wasn't really because it wasn't creative, the print was just too small. Oh well.

paladin 9 years ago

I should also note that I created my own language once, but people tended to just stare at me and not respond much, except in a hostile manner. Now, I just use the common language of the common folk, cause I finally accepted the fact that I'm common, too. Oh well.

Linda Aikins 9 years ago

Good point Consumer1! I can't believe that none of you have commented on the Hooters Girl occupation!

Someone who can find 10 ways to do one thing???

sgtwolverine 9 years ago

Actually, the toddler stylist is brilliant. She collects money from people who are willing to spend it on almost anything.

Macon, it does require work to exercise creativity. Some who lay around on the couch may be creatively gifted, but they are not being creative. Also, I did get a good laugh out of your statement that any dimwits can do what they enjoy. I certainly hope you do not enjoy posting on this site.

Sorry. It just popped out.

Anyway, these days, I think some of the most creative people in the world are corporate accountants. I can only dream of measuring up to that creative standard!

gphawk89 9 years ago

Someone who has too much time on their hands (and I'm not saying that in a negative way). People can be much more creative if they have some time to just sit back and think instead of just getting caught up in the daily rat race. I think I was much more creative and inventive in grade school and high school, less so in college, and not at all now that I spend most of my time working, taking care of the kids, paying bills, maintaing the house and cars.

sgtwolverine 9 years ago

It's such a good day for occupations that the USDA food inspector is totally lost behind the toddler stylist and the Hooter's girl.

It does seem amazingly appropriate that the food inspector is from Garden City. We have a Garden City in Michigan, but there are those who refer to it as Garbage City.

flames_over_the_wasteland 9 years ago

Creativity is trying to read /decipher macon47's poem-like spewings.

macon: you seem like you're a follower of TV. Have you never seen the "Art: Pass it on"? commericals? You're a prime adult example of what can happen.

sunflower_sue 9 years ago

In order to answer this, I would have to assume that all creative people are alike. I know this to be false. This is truly a question without an answer. (But, I'll be interested to see what some of you come up with.) Maybe I'll just spend today in contemplation. Or not.

GreenEyedBlues 9 years ago

Macon, I'd argue that it takes a LOT of work, and an even larger dose of creativity to make doing what you love into a J-O-B. But, some would prefer to do what they THINK they "have to do".

In light of Macon's comment, I'd have to say that creativity requires a soul.

bankboy119 9 years ago

In that case GEB, everybody would be creative.

ms_canada 9 years ago

I sure wish I knew the answer. I am not at all creative. I can copy other people's ideas pretty good but am stuck on invention if my own. Drat!!!

beatrice 9 years ago

macon47: Back on May 5th, when discussing the immigration protests, you ended a similar rant about living off mom and dad with this wonderfully nugget of intelligence: "it is better than being a beaner." So, not only are you a racist, but you don't like artists either. Were you never given the multi-color crayon box growing up? I guess you only had charcoal to play with, and now only see things in black and white. Instead of celebrating life, you just whine, whine, whine, over the fact that somewhere out there someone else is happy.

The major characteristic of a creative person is the willingness to try new things.

sunflower_sue 9 years ago

Children are creative until they are crushed by the standards we, as a society, put on them. So sad!

Parents: who cares if the rug gets paint on it? Who cares if there is crayon on the wall? Who cares if the play-dough is stuck onto the blanket? Who cares if the sidewalk is covered in that annoying chalk dust? Who care if glitter is spilled all over the house? Who cares if there is a hot-wheels ramp built out of found objects taking up 5 square feet of the bedroom? Let it be. (Yes, my house tends to get messy!)

sunflower_sue 9 years ago

Informed, I can't remember what you said but I did read it and I did wonder what I had missed because I don't remember anything that could have gotten the zap award. (Maybe someone at the LJW is trying to be creative???)

enochville 9 years ago

I differ in thought than s_s.

To me creativity is a virtue, but it does not override the virtues of order and cleanliness at least for me. I think it is fine for kids to make messes while being creative as long as it is respectful of other's belongings (i.e., do your best not to get paint on our carpet). But, after creativity time is done, let's clean up our messes. Projects that take up half the living room mildly raise my anxiety. I find that when I walk into an ordered room, it is easier for me to feel at peace and enjoy my family. But, to each his or her own.

I hope my comments do not cause you to think that I am a neat freak that can't handle disorder. I think I am relatively easy going. I just appreciate order. So, I play or work on projects and make a good mess, then, at least by the end of the day, I put everything away.

Ceallach 9 years ago

What's wrong with being a beaner? omb is one -- roasts his own! Now that is very creative.

I think creativity is something a person is either born with or not. A creative person sees and hears things beyond the abilities of others around them. Most people can learn the concepts of design, writing, musical instruments, etc., but there is a big difference between learning the scales on a piano, reading music and playing what another has written, and the one who "hears" a melody in their head and can imagine the contributions of each instrument in the orchestra that would change the tune into a sonata.

Ceallach 9 years ago

RI, I tend to think that most people are psychotic, so, yes, I can easily include creative folk in that category (just joking). With even a minor amout of time applied to studying history one has to conclude that psychosis and creativity oftimes go together. I've just assumed that the non-creative masses drove them crazy :) If my family ever succeed in getting me committed that is the reason I will give.

sgtwolverine 9 years ago

Hey, I love the coffeeshop chain Beaner's -- they offer free wireless internet, unlike a certain major coffee chain that starts with S and ends with tarbucks. In fact, they opened a Beaner's in downtown Ann Arbor just a few shops away from a very busy Starbucks, and the Beaner's seems to be drawing good business. I know I would choose it over the Starbucks because the coffee tastes just fine to these uncultured taste buds and the internet tastes free. I like Starbucks, but the internet thing is a draw for me. Same with Caribou Coffee. Just give me internet already!

Ceal, I agree with you. Most people can learn the technical aspects of creative pursuits, but nobody can learn to bring it to life without first having that innate creative ability. Most can learn the principles of good writing, but not everyone can actually craft a compelling piece of writing, even with that knowledge.

blessed3x 9 years ago

Time. Plain and simple. Especially as a child. Time to play, time to explore, time to fantasize. The problem, though, is that we believe little Johnny and Jane should be involved in every activity under the sun with practices and events everyday of the week while attending all day kindergarten/preschool. I think too often we try to fill our children's lives just as full as our lives. I can remember those lazy of summer as a kid when my friends and I would sneak off to fish in the farmer's pond just outside of town and just lay on the bank and watch the clouds pass by. It seems like kids don't get a chance to just be kids anymore. I think those are the times when true creativity first begins.

...or I could be wrong and trespassing and stealing fish were just a hoot for a bored kid in a small town.

sgtwolverine 9 years ago

This is great timing: I just checked my email and found spam with the subject line, "Lively Benefits of Creativity."

Unfortunately, it was only about the importance of having a memorable corporate logo.

ms_canada 9 years ago

As I have said before, I read a lot and I do greatly admire the creativity of writers of fiction. Once upon a time.. .. I wondered if I could write a mystery novel. So I got a flash of an idea for a plot, sat down and started to type. I got 2 paragraphs on paper and that was it. I had no idea how to develop the plot. So much for my creativity. Now then, I teach small groups of Bible study and I am particularily good at putting together lessons. I would not call that creativity because I am using facts or information already known to me. I just get it all down on paper and lead the group in the study. I guess it could be somewhat creative if the point were stretched. I think imagination is a key ingredient of creativity

sunflower_sue 9 years ago

consumer, Myself and my 4 siblings were taught respect for others. We had virtually no rules regarding how we spent our time. I'm happy to say that we all turned out to be good, descent adults. As far as limits go, parents waaay over do it in an attempt to be "in control." I'll give you a personal example:

I went into the kindergarten class to teach a lesson in wax resist (water won't stick to crayon...simple, right?). I gave each student a piece of 18X24" paper. They were studying a certain type of flower so I asked them to draw the flower in crayon on the paper. I suggested that they might try to use the whole sheet of paper. With the exception of 1 kid (mine), they all drew tiny little flowers in the middle or on the bottom of the paper. When we got to the painting part, I unleashed the watercolors and told them to "go crazy." I told them to just be as sloppy as they wanted and to swipe the paint over the entire drawing. With the exception of that 1 kid...they all froze. I asked what the problem was and I got many answers ranging from "I don't want to ruin my drawing," to "My Mom won't let me make messes," to "I don't want to get dirty." I assured the kids that it was fine because we would clean up any messes and I promised them they couldn't ruin their beautiful flowers. It was a disaster. Less kids than I could count on one hand took my advice. I went home heart broken for those kids. They were not born neat freaks! Someone made them that way. So much so that all creativity was stifled.

So, while anyone who's been to my house can tell you that my house is not a pig sty, I do allow plenty of messes. Yes, they usually get cleaned up...never said they didn't. Can you guess what my kid's friends say they love about coming to my house?...All the "creative stuff" that I have on hand for them to play with.

sunflower_sue 9 years ago

Sorry RI! I'll clarify for your sake: "decent" :oP

spellcheck junkie!

sunflower_sue 9 years ago

RI, BTW, what is cromagnum? Is that some sort of cross between an obnoxious bird and Tom Selleck (sp?) (not to be critical, really!) ;P

bankboy119 9 years ago

I think the gov't is being creative with its solution to protecting the border. 370 miles of a fence and then another 500 miles of auto blockades. Pretty sneaky using both fencing and vehicles.

Linda Aikins 9 years ago

I thought they were using seals???

Ceallach 9 years ago

How cruel would that be, Gootsie, it's far too hot for seals. Maybe South Texas should require those owning exotic animals to release them at the border. That would stop crossing for a little while :)

bankboy119 9 years ago

sigh so did I but PETA didn't like the idea.

beatrice 9 years ago

Govt. to use fencing along the border? Do those in the guard even know how to handle a sword? We must send Walt to the border immediately! He has a lot of swords to make!

Linda Aikins 9 years ago

Well my other idea to seal the border wouldn't set well with PETA either. I'm thinking duck tape.

bankboy119 9 years ago

Tape out of ducks? That's genius!

beatrice 9 years ago

does that mean water will just roll off it?

Ceallach 9 years ago

if water rolls off, will it part the Rio Grande?

Ceallach 9 years ago

I'm not sure what happened, but all the the article pages are unavailable!! The message says something about the server having a "hiccup." Maybe we need to shock it! Where is extra_mustard, extreme_makeover, etc., he was always very good at shocking the LJW :):)

paladin 9 years ago

I think the border should be patrolled by amorous gorillas.

trinity 9 years ago

i guess to style a toddler one has to be pretty creative, no?

trinity 9 years ago

and i have two words for who should patrol the border-tiny soldiers. them lil' fellas were meeeaaaan!

paladin 9 years ago

I wonder if Godzilla would be open to the idea of temporary employment patrolling the border. That might be just the ticket.

sunflower_sue 9 years ago

I checked on ebay. Didn't see any live seals for sale...but you can get a very nice figurine for 5 bucks if you hurry. Auction over in 20 minutes.

Back to creativeness: My kiddies made dinner tonight. They "got creative" with ingredients. I purposely made my oldest cook something she doesn't like. When she got to "embellish" the dish, she suddenly ate all that was given and went back for more. Since they cooked, I cleaned up the mess. Fair trade.

sunflower_sue 9 years ago

Paladin, Mothera could patrol from the skies. (See how creative you all are?)

paladin 9 years ago

rt-Why yes, I am, or have been, guilty of all these transgressions at times, but not on a regular basis. S.S.-I think your folks were, and you are, absolutely on the right road with regard to child rearing. I envy you.

sunflower_sue 9 years ago

Paladin, Thanks...but my Mom gets all the credit. She raised 4 on her own. She was a very young widow.

MD, some very good ideas. My favorite teacher ever let us throw bowling balls out of the third story windows at school! He was a fantastic physics teacher! (What's funny is that my 6th grader is reading over my shoulder and she just explained to me why a bowling ball and a golf ball will hit the ground at the same time...I'm so proud! Where did she learn this stuff?)

ms_canada 9 years ago

There is a hockey game on here at this moment. Edmonton Oilers vs San Jose Sharks. Do any of you people down there watch those games? Did you see what happened the other night when Ed. was in S. J.? At the start of the games the two national anthems are sung. The other night when the Canadian A. was sung the S.J. fans did boo through it. Hubby and I were in rapt attention at 6pm today when the Am. Anthem was sung first. What would the Ed. fans would do. Did they boo? Did they sing your anthem? What do you think they did. They waved flags and cheered. I was so proud of my Edmontonians. I hope those people in San Jose had red faces.

sunflower_sue 9 years ago

Chalk one up for the Edmonton Fans, Ms_C! TV's not on at my house and we couldn't get the game if it was. :(

sunflower_sue 9 years ago

P.s. I'm embarrassed that US fans booed through your anthem. My face is red!

ms_canada 9 years ago

Oh my goodness, I never thought of that, you could be right.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.