Characteristics of Creative People
Expertise. Expertise in a specific area of endeavor is built up over years of disciplined practice. Although expertise alone does not produce creativity, genuine creative accomplishments are rooted in this quality. Benjamin Bloom (1985) and is asociates studied 120 case histories of people who had made notable creative contributions in 6 diferents fields. Every one of these individuals had unquestioned expertise, based on high-quality training, as well as unyielding determination.
Openess to Experience. Creative individuals are open to experience and will entertain, at least initially, even seemingly irrationals thoughts that uncreative people might dismiss. Creative people are typically less close-minded and less inhibited than others in their feelings and fasntasies. Moreover, they seem to be inherently curious and inquisitive. They are comfortable with ambiguity and apparently don´t need inmediate resolution of conflicting and contradictory ideas. During the early stages of creative work, these individuals are not on a quest of certainty, but rather a journey of discovery. And, along the way, they are not bothered by loose or dead ends. Rather, they work their way through failures and out of blind alleys, persisting until they succeed.
Independence of Mind. Creative people tend to be independent thinkers. They cherish this independence and, especially in their area of creative expertise, prefer to go their own way. They can easily spend long periods alone and are not influenced by the opinions of others as much as their less creative counterparts are. They will take unpopular stands if they must and are often seen as nonconformists. But, then, by its very nature, creativity is unconventional and uncommon. Such unconventionality is, however, typically confined to the work of creative people. Otherwise, they do not appear to be especially eccentric or out-of-the-ordinary.
Intrinsic Motivation. Unlike people who are readily influenced by the opinions of others and motivated by extrinsic (external) rewards, creative individuals are more likely to be intrinsically (internally) motivated. Creative people are moved by-and some times carried away by-the anticipation, exitement, and enjoyment assosiated with their work, whether it is inventing, producing works of art, or advancing scientific knowledge. For these people, the sheer joy of creative ac tivity itself carries its own reward. In short, they "enjoy the process of creation for its own sake" (Csikszentmihalyi, 1996, p. 40).
Perseverance. Creative endeavor requires intelligence and hard work. Creativity is not poured from empty vessels or fashioned by idle hands. Thomas A. Edison, who held 1,093 patents, claimed that is magnificently creative contributions were accomplished through 2% inspiration and 98% perspiration. Albert Einstein published 248 papers and persevered (perspired) for 10 years on his theory of relativity before it was finished. And Mozart, when he died at age 35, had created 609 musical compositions (Haberlandt, 1997).
Read in: The World of Psychology (Fifth edition) p. 291-292
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