This list is uncanny, though obviously missing the important understanding of some concepts, as an uncreative person could never fully comprehend creativity!
It’s funny that all of these traits are natural endowments to all humans, but by the time most people reach adulthood they have lost both themselves and their creativity through conformity and indoctrination.
Psychologists believe that all highly creative individuals have certain common personality traits:
1. Complexity – The creative individuals love complex situations and problems as this provides a challenge to their own mental abilities and help them to think of several possible solutions
2. Flexibility – Highly creative individuals are extremely open-minded and receptive to new ideas and possibilities which help them to move beyond traditional modes of thinking
3. Confidence – Boldness and confidence mark the creative genius as in order to be a pioneer, one has to have leadership qualities, extreme self-confidence and creative geniuses are leaders as they show a new path and open new possibilities
4. Non-conformity – The creative process itself is an act of non-conformity so creative individuals are non-conformists and unconventional.
5. Intuition – Highly creative people are extremely intuitive and they can scare you with their ability to read minds and people’s thoughts. That is how they can create as they have to know the order of things and are able to predict people’s responses.
6. Sensitivity – Creative individuals have well developed sensitivity as without extreme sensitivity, it is not possible to feel and portray the emotions through creative work. A novelist has to know ‘how it feels’ to be character in his novel otherwise he cannot create a good novel.
7. Curiosity – An insatiable child-like curiosity for almost everything around them is what characterizes the creative genius. The creative individual wants to know and learn new things and is persistently asking questions and this is the fuel for creative growth.
8. Knowledge – Closely associated with curiosity, creative individuals have very good general knowledge as they have to use this knowledge in their creative pursuits. That is why creative people are usually interested in several subject areas.
9. Independence – One trait that definitely characterizes very high creative geniuses is their independence of thought. This is again related to leadership and nonconformity as in order to think independently, one has to move beyond norms.
10. Imagination – The creative person lives in his own world of imagination and has a very highly developed and enriched mental life and even if grounded, sometimes thrives on fantasies.
11. Impulsiveness – Since the creative process is a sudden realization, the creative individual has a love for suddenness and loves to work on impulse. Creating something new is an adventure so impulsiveness which could be recklessness or adventurousness makes the creative individual a compulsive risk-taker.
12. Criticism – Highly creative people are also extremely critical both of themselves and of others. They criticize others and that is how they take new paths and they are also prone to extreme self-criticism.
13. Fluency – The creative person has an extremely fluent thought process and has a prolific range of ideas
14. Charm – The genius is usually characterized by a humorous nature, extreme charm and personal attractiveness and a ‘presence’ that makes them popular and attractive to all sorts of people.
15. Egoism – Highly creative individuals usually have a ‘me first’ attitude and are almost always narcissists or marked by extreme egoism, although they may be very generous and may not reveal their egoism for social reasons and many even transcend the self boundary and work for greater causes.
*Obviously this assessment was placed here by an uncreative, or an average thinker, who does not understand the nature of egoism. Egoism is a defensive posture that seeks to protect the fearful individual from their insecurities. The highly creative intellect is anything but insecure or egocentric, though their immediate understanding of things and there frustration with the slowness of others may give the appearance of egoism to egoists.
16. Originality – Creative individuals have a love for the novel and the unique and try moving beyond established ideas to find something radically different
17. Disorder – A love for disorder is common among all creative people as they are apparently bored with order or any predictable course of events
18. Ambiguity – Uncertainty is very attractive for creative individuals and they love the ambiguous or when there are two or more ways of explaining a problem, especially because this gives them freedom of thought and expression.
19. Loneliness – The creative individual is usually a loner and according to psychoanalysis, also a neurotic. The genius is perennially isolated from society and being very uncomfortable with social norms, they tend to avoid social interaction. Political and social leaders are however more socially active than the creative artist and writer, although some tend to lead reclusive lives.
*Edification and Validation are rarely afforded the highly creative, true connection with others is very rare, though inexorably sought!
20. Motivation – The creative individuals are extremely motivated, almost driven by a sense of higher purpose in life. They are in a way self aware and enlightened and many of them seem to believe in an unexplained (divine) purpose of existence.
So now finally, some words about the connection between madness and creativity.
Creativity has been closely associated with mental illness and the highly creative individuals are considered prone to mental disorders.
*According to whom? To the uncreative person?
In fact all creative geniuses may be vulnerable to bipolar disorder or schizophrenia and creativity itself is a sort of neuroticism.
*Creativity is a sort of Neuroticism! Wow!
Yet I would suggest that even though creative geniuses have propensity towards mental illness, their creative outlet is a very strong tool that helps them to maintain sanity.
*Their Art, Their Flow!
So considering the inbuilt defense mechanisms that creative individuals have, it is highly unlikely that such people would actually become completely insane.
However in most cases, creative geniuses are not afraid to stretch their minds, thoughts and behavior too far as to almost reach the limits of sanity, so they are branded as ‘weird’ or ‘eccentric’.
*I was called weird from the day I entered grade school (I still am)! Though I found my way to best them all, I was always alone, even as the center of attention.
But these people are extremely strong because they are self-aware and are blessed with the ability of controlling their mind and sanity. So when the whole world is afraid of their perceived madness, they are not.
*When you stand alone, when you must teach yourself, when you learn to teach adults to understand how to interact with you as a child, yes!, you necessarily become strong. Whether you want to or not!
The difference between a madman and a genius is that the genius controls his own madness and can choose to become sane or insane at his own free will.
In fact, the process of creativity is also an exercise in madness, as the creative individual has to continually stretch mental limits to maintain all creative pursuits.