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Creative ThinkerUnderstanding a creative person...

What is it about creative people that sets them apart and "makes them tick"?

They generally seek solitude but love to expose themselves to new experiences. They are motivated by an internal drive to create, rather than a desire for external reward or recognition. Most importantly, creative types often lose track of the time once they have they get "in the zone.” This zone is a special flow state that transcends conscious thought and resonates within opening up a heightened state of effortless concentration.

Seeking 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. They need to give themselves the time alone to simply allow their minds to wander.


Creative people love to expose themselves to new experiences, sensations and states of mind—and this openness is a significant predictor of creative output.

Openness to experience is consistently the strongest predictor of creative achievement. Intellectual curiosity, thrill seeking... all together is a drive for cognitive and behavioral exploration of the world, both "your inner world and your outer world."

Creative people are insatiably curious and continually maintain a sense of curiosity about life. Whether through intense conversation or solitary mind-wandering, creatives look at the world around them and want to know why, and how, it is the way it is.

"Creativity is the act of making something from nothing."


Creative people tend to be intrinsically motivated -- meaning that they're motivated to act from some internal desire, rather than a desire for external reward or recognition. Psychologists have shown that creative people are energized by challenging activities, a sign of intrinsic motivation, and the research suggests that simply thinking of intrinsic reasons to perform an activity may be enough to boost creativity.

Diversity of experience, more than anything else, is critical to creativity, says Kaufman. Creatives like to shake things up, experience new things, and avoid anything that makes life more monotonous or mundane.

They lose track of the time.

Creative types may find that when they're writing, dancing, painting or expressing themselves in another way, they get "in the zone," or what's known as a flow state, which can help them to create at their highest level.

Flow is a mental state when an individual transcends conscious thought to reach a heightened state of effortless concentration and calmness. When someone is in this state, they're practically immune to any internal or external pressures and distractions that could hinder their performance.

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."