Unique Traits of Highly Creative People


Next time you catch a co-worker aimlessly looking out of the window or sitting at their desk with their hands behind their head and head tilted back or catch your teenager just laying there doing nothing – they may just be in the process of “creative incubation” as described in Ode to Positive Constructive Daydreaming by Barry Kaufman and Rebecca McMillian. Daydreaming often leads to sudden connections and insights because it exercises our ability to recall information in the face of distractions and involves the same brain processes as those associated with imagination and creativity.

Observant and Curious

Possibilities are endless and possibilities are everywhere! The creative mind is constantly taking in information, getting ideas from everything and everyone around them and making connections. Observant and curious about other people’s lives and experiences, creatives thrive in diverse environments.

Keeping Own Hours

Each person has their unique biorhythmic patterns and creative times of the day. Some people are most productive early in the morning, some others late at night, and yet others are essentially nocturnal. Creative people recognize what works best for them and structure their days accordingly to take advantage of their peak creativity.

Alone Time

“In order to be open to creativity, one must have the capacity for constructive use of solitude. One must overcome the fear of being alone.” – Rollo May, psychologist.

Everyone needs some alone time for daydreaming and connecting everything that has been absorbed. Creative people crave solitude. To others they may sometimes appear as loners, but they need that time alone to develop the inner monologue and to be able to express it to others.

Learning Opportunities

The creative process is a series of experiments and failures until something works. Creative people see setbacks and failures not as a personal failures but as opportunities to learn. They take the time to reflect on an outcome and develop a new perspective and strategy. Creative people learn to be resilient by giving themselves opportunities to “fail often and fast” and learn quickly from those experiences.


Eager to be open and expose themselves to new experiences, sensations, and states of mind, creative people love to experiment. They exhibit intellectual curiosity and thrive on diversity and the opportunity to gain new perspectives.

Seeing the Big Picture

Creatives are insatiably curious and always asking why things are the way they are and why they can’t be otherwise.

Taking Risks

Creativity is the act of making something from nothing. Creative people thrive on taking risks. They are not timid – and don’t fear placing bets on imagination that may lead to wasted time and money and (temporarily) tarnished reputations.

Following True Passions

Acting on an internal instinct to do something original that has value, creative people are intrinsically motivated. They tend to care little about getting validation and approval from external sources.

State of Flow

Creative people get totally absorbed in their activities. They get into a state of flow where they completely lose track of time. Flow is a mental state when an individual transcends conscious thought to reach a heightened state of effortless concentration and calmness. Creative people have not only found what they love to do but build the skill to get into a state of flow while doing it – getting completely engaged in their activity.

Perceiving Possibilities

The biggest distinguishing factor in creative people is that they see possibilities where others do not.  Their ability lies in being able to “connect the dots” where others did not even observe the dots.

Challenging the Status Quo

Never satisfied with the way things are, they like to “shake things up” in the pursuit of lives free of monotony, conformity, and mediocrity.

Mindful and Meditative

Mindfulness and meditation techniques allow us to tap into our most creative selves. Creative people need a clear and focused mind and recognize the need to incorporate these techniques into their daily lives.