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Once again I am re-posting an article in order to preserve the content as I really enjoyed this article and continue to use it for ESL lessons as a way to motivate and challenge my students. This article was first published in Huffington Post by Carolyn Gregoire (Carolyn.Gregoire@huffingtonpost.com) on 3/04/2014 and I give FULL credit to both HuffingtonPost.com and to the author Carolyn Gregoire, therefore here is her wonderful article verbatim:
And psychologically speaking, creative personality types are difficult to pin down, largely because they're complex, paradoxical and tend to avoid habit or routine. And it's not just a stereotype of the "tortured artist" -- artists really may be more complicated people. Research has suggested that creativity involves the coming together of a multitude of traits, behaviors and social influences in a single person.
"It's actually hard for creative people to know themselves because the creative self is more complex than the non-creative self," Scott Barry Kaufman, a psychologist at New York University who has spent years researching creativity, told The Huffington Post. "The things that stand out the most are the paradoxes of the creative self ... Imaginative people have messier minds."
While there's no "typical" creative type, there are some tell-tale characteristics and behaviors of highly creative people. Here are 18 things they do differently.
1. THEY DAYDREAM
According to Kaufman and psychologist Rebecca L. McMillan, who co-authored a paper titled "Ode To Positive Constructive Daydreaming," mind-wandering can aid in the process of "creative incubation." And of course, many of us know from experience that our best ideas come seemingly out of the blue when our minds are elsewhere.
Although daydreaming may seem mindless, a 2012 study suggested it could actually involve a highly engaged brain state -- daydreaming can lead to sudden connections and insights because it's related to our ability to recall information in the face of distractions. Neuroscientists have also found that daydreaming involves the same brain processes associated with imagination and creativity.
2. THEY OBSERVE EVERYTHING
The writer Joan Didion kept a notebook with her at all times, and said that she wrote down observations about people and events as, ultimately, a way to better understand the complexities and contradictions of her own mind:
"However dutifully we record what we see around us, the common denominator of all we see is always, transparently, shamelessly, the implacable 'I,'" Didion wrote in her essay On Keeping A Notebook. "We are talking about something private, about bits of the mind’s string too short to use, an indiscriminate and erratic assemblage with meaning only for its marker."
3. THEY WORK THE HOURS THAT WORK FOR THEM
4. THEY TAKE TIME FOR SOLITUDE
Artists and creatives are often stereotyped as being loners, and while this may not actually be the case, solitude can be the key to producing their best work. For Kaufman, this links back to daydreaming -- we need to give ourselves the time alone to simply allow our minds to wander.
"You need to get in touch with that inner monologue to be able to express it," he says. "It's hard to find that inner creative voice if you're ... not getting in touch with yourself and reflecting on yourself."
5. THEY TURN LIFE'S OBSTACLES AROUND
"A lot of people are able to use that as the fuel they need to come up with a different perspective on reality," says Kaufman. "What's happened is that their view of the world as a safe place, or as a certain type of place, has been shattered at some point in their life, causing them to go on the periphery and see things in a new, fresh light, and that's very conducive to creativity."
6. THEY SEEK OUT NEW EXPERIENCES
"Openness to experience is consistently the strongest predictor of creative achievement," says Kaufman. "This consists of lots of different facets, but they're all related to each other: Intellectual curiosity, thrill seeking, openness to your emotions, openness to fantasy. The thing that brings them all together is a drive for cognitive and behavioral exploration of the world, your inner world and your outer world."
7. THEY "FAIL UP"
"Creatives fail and the really good ones fail often," Forbes contributor Steven Kotler wrote in a piece on Einstein's creative genius.
8. THEY ASK THE BIG QUESTIONS
9. THEY PEOPLE-WATCH
"[Marcel] Proust spent almost his whole life people-watching, and he wrote down his observations, and it eventually came out in his books," says Kaufman. "For a lot of writers, people-watching is very important ... They're keen observers of human nature."
10. THEY TAKE RISKS
"There is a deep and meaningful connection between risk taking and creativity and it's one that's often overlooked," contributor Steven Kotler wrote in Forbes. "Creativity is the act of making something from nothing. It requires making public those bets first placed by imagination. This is not a job for the timid. Time wasted, reputation tarnished, money not well spent -- these are all by-products of creativity gone awry."
11. THEY VIEW ALL OF LIFE AS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR SELF-EXPRESSION
"Creative expression is self-expression," says Kaufman. "Creativity is nothing more than an individual expression of your needs, desires and uniqueness."
12. THEY FOLLOW THEIR TRUE PASSIONS
"Eminent creators choose and become passionately involved in challenging, risky problems that provide a powerful sense of power from the ability to use their talents,"write M.A. Collins and T.M. Amabile in The Handbook of Creativity.
13. THEY GET OUT OF THEIR OWN HEADS
"Daydreaming has evolved to allow us to let go of the present," says Kaufman. "The same brain network associated with daydreaming is the brain network associated with theory of mind -- I like calling it the 'imagination brain network' -- it allows you to imagine your future self, but it also allows you to imagine what someone else is thinking."
Research has also suggested that inducing "psychological distance" -- that is, taking another person's perspective or thinking about a question as if it was unreal or unfamiliar -- can boost creative thinking.
14. THEY LOSE TRACK OF TIME
You get into the flow state when you're performing an activity you enjoy that you're good at, but that also challenges you -- as any good creative project does.
"[Creative people] have found the thing they love, but they've also built up the skill in it to be able to get into the flow state," says Kaufman. "The flow state requires a match between your skill set and the task or activity you're engaging in."
15. THEY SURROUND THEMSELVES WITH BEAUTY
A study recently published in the journal Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts showed that musicians -- including orchestra musicians, music teachers, and soloists -- exhibit a high sensitivity and responsiveness to artistic beauty.
16. THEY CONNECT THE DOTS
In the words of Steve Jobs:
17. THEY CONSTANTLY SHAKE THINGS UP
"Creative people have more diversity of experiences, and habit is the killer of diversity of experience," says Kaufman.
18. THEY MAKE TIME FOR MINDFULNESS
And science backs up the idea that mindfulness really can boost your brain power in a number of ways. A 2012 Dutch study suggested that certain meditation techniques can promote creative thinking. And mindfulness practices have been linked withimproved memory and focus, better emotional well-being, reduced stress and anxiety, and improved mental clarity -- all of which can lead to better creative thought.