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The Top Ten Personality Traits of Creative People

The Top Ten Personality Traits of Creative People

There is a whole list of adjectives that are often used to describe creative people. But are they accurate? 

Creativity is described as ‘’the use of imagination or original ideas to create something’’. The definition itself could well suggest that we are all ‘creatives’ to some degree and that there aren’t any specific personality ‘types’ associated with creativity.

Although in reality, there are marked differences between ‘creatives’ and those who use their imaginations in subtler ways. Research shows that the type of professions people are drawn to are often a big giveaway.

Creatively Driven Careers

Those with artistic personalities can often be found in jobs that require them to use their imagination in varying degrees. These jobs include:

  • Interior design
  • Commercial art
  • Animation
  • Graphic design
  • Freelance writing
  • Art directing


Surprisingly, though, those with ‘artistic flair’ can be found in jobs that might not be considered ‘creative’ at all such as event management. 

These types of jobs are commonly referred to as ‘corporate’ however the profession requires a certain degree of imagination as essentially it involves the ‘creation of something’ (like creating an event).

Psychologist Robert Sternberg formulated the ‘Triarchic Theory of Intelligence’ which defines creative intelligence as ‘’the capacity to encounter a novel problem and devise a new and unique solution.’’

This makes sense as you might have noticed on many job application forms the criteria usually states that candidates ‘must have creative problem-solving skills.’ Sternberg’s theory compartmentalises intelligence into three crucial elements: creative, analytical and practical with the ‘creative’ types falling into more abstract realms.

Although artists and poets might be the first people that spring to mind when thinking about creative intelligence, Sternberg illustrates that this is not always the case. Creativity might show up as that friend who comes up with seemingly ‘odd’ solutions to a specific problem.

Sternberg illustrates that simply being an artist, writer or poet doesn’t necessarily give someone creative license. Devising new solutions to old problems is one of the hallmarks of innovation, according to Sternberg, as is experimenting with different ideas and trying something new.

Although this research suggests that the idea doesn’t always fit the mould, certain personality traits would suggest higher levels of creativity in some people more than others (such as the traits below).

#1. Eccentric.

Eccentricity is often associated with mad professors wearing thick-rimmed glasses, but eccentric people are often the most creative as they have an ‘out of the box’ thinking style. It’s easy for eccentrics to get lost in their work and lose all track of time. When involved in creative projects, they tend to go off in tandems and don’t necessarily complete tasks in a structured way. 

To outsiders, this way of working might seem disorganized and chaotic, but to the eccentric this is not the case! They are highly inspirational, precise and conscientious and at the other end of the spectrum, rebellious, critical and impulsive. Whichever way we look at it, they get the job done to perfection and the results rarely disappoint. 

#2. Independent.

Creatives are fiercely independent people who welcome challenges and are not easily put off by ‘seemingly’ difficult tasks. They embrace their uniqueness and see obstacles as an opportunity to grow. They are happy to work autonomously and are unafraid of exploring the personal freedom that comes with working in solitude.

#3. Wear their hearts on their sleeves.

It’s common for creative types not to be ruled by governance as they tend to wear their hearts on their sleeves rather than follow any particular set of rules. Creative people tend to veer towards self-expression rather than regulations and are not impressed by authority. They are more interested in pursuits of justice rather than serving the establishment.

#4. Creatives tend to daydream.

Unsurprisingly, creative people are often prone to daydreaming. Their imaginations can span for miles and they are big thinkers who work relentlessly hard. They are not easily offended and care little of what others think, they don’t mind being called weird or strange by others.

 These people are often the world’s most notable innovators.

#5. Naive.

As smart as they are, artistic people are often naive as they possess an innate fascination about everything around them which leaves them open to gullibility as they are as trusting of others as they are of themselves. This openness can also lead to them being taken advantage of.

#6. Creative people are extroverted and introverted.

Hans Eysenck (1916-1997) developed the infamous extrovert-neurotic dimension where he based his studies on whether people fitted into ‘introverted’ or ‘extroverted’ personality types. 

Eysenck defined extroversion as being; ‘’an orientation of one’s interest and energies toward the outer world of people and things rather than the inner world of subjective experience. Extroverts are likely to be more outgoing, gregarious, sociable and more openly expressive.’’ Introverts, on the other hand, tend to orientate towards themselves and their inner thoughts and feelings. The introvert’s world is one of solitude and subjective experience (Hans Eysenck, 1916 -1997).

If we apply Eysenck’s theory to creativity, we will discover there is a polarization of sorts. For example, writers are often deemed as being ‘creative’ but they are also known to be ‘introverts’ and these two personality traits don’t often go together. However, research suggests that creative types can be both introverted and extroverted.

#7. Low tolerance to boredom.

Being that creative people are emotionally charged, they usually possess a low threshold when it comes to boredom. This is hardly surprising as this group of people are constantly seeking (and providing) mental stimulation and anything that doesn’t feed the imagination or that could be viewed as mundane, tends to be easily disregarded. 

Creative people tend to seek conversations and situations with substance and have a low threshold when it comes to thumb-twiddling.

#8. Curious.

Their innate thirst for knowledge makes them a curious bunch and they are constantly on a quest of truth-seeking and information gathering. Their fact-finding spans across many subject matters as their interests are unlimited. 

If you ever get talking to a creative person, you’ll find there isn’t a subject that they are not conversant in. These people truly are conversational chameleons!

#9. Physical energy.

Research shows that creative people tend to have high levels of energy, particularly the libidinal kind! Apart from their work, another way this energy shows up is through sexuality. Artistic people tend to have a strong amount of eros, which in part, is expressed directly through sexuality. Interestingly, celibacy is also a part of their DNA as continence tends to accompany big achievements.

#10. Artistic people keep an inventory of accomplishments.

Researchers often talk about the positive impact of journaling. Keeping an inventory of accomplishments allows us to reflect on what we have achieved and how far we have come. Creative people often keep track of the things they have accomplished whether that be personal or career-oriented. 

This way they can use what they have achieved thus far as a benchmark for future achievements. Creative people recognise the value of self-reflection and very often ‘raise the bar’ for themselves and others to achieve more. They understand the benefits of perseverance and continue to reflect and set new standards as time goes on.

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Adam Nesenoff

Adam Nesenoff has been working in recovery for over ten years.

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