Creative people are often stereotyped as being overly sensitive, obstinate, emotionally volatile, unconventional and outrageously self-assured. When asked to picture a creative person, you may immediately conjure images of an eccentric French oil painter wearing a beret and striped t-shirt, but in reality, those with strong creative inclinations are present in every segment of society.
You don’t need to be an author, musician or sculptor to formulate a creative vision and bring your dreams to reality. As Albert Einstein once said: “The greatest scientists are artists as well”. Einstein himself invoked daydreaming and imagination to produce his theory of relativity and Stephen Hawking’s mind-bending theories on black holes are the direct result of years of mindful introspection. For people from all walks of life, if you’re able to look inwardly and bring an idea to fruition, then the creative process is at work.
Here are 5 strong indicators that you are a creative person.
1. You are unfathomably perceptive
For those with a creative temperament, observing the world around you is a compulsive behavior pattern that can’t be turned off. Being able to read between the lines and observe the fine details that other people miss is a trait found in all creative people. Because society encourages us to look at the surface of things and avoid delving deeper, creative people can often feel like outcasts because they are able to see beyond appearances and come to unique conclusions. In the words of author and objectivist philosopher, Ayn Rand: “Art is a selective re-creation of reality according to an artist's metaphysical value judgments”.
2. You adhere to your circadian rhythm
Other than the lack of creative expression, one of the main reasons why creative people tend to suffer in traditional corporate jobs is because they are working outside of their most productive hours. While some people do their best work in the morning, evidence suggests that people are most creative when we’re tired, which might explain why literary masterminds such as Franz Kafka and Marcel Proust wrote their best work under the black curtain of night.
3. You prioritise solitude
Whether you’re quiet and introspective like J.K. Rowling or boisterous and flamboyant like Kanye West, all creative people understand that solitude is essential for producing original, thoughtful work. Hungarian psychologist and author, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, coined the term “flow” - a mental state of intense focus and timelessness where external distractions are diminished. This is the optimal state of consciousness for creativity to flourish, and for most people, this requires a prolonged period of solitude.
4. You use hardships as creative fuel
Creative people tend to have a broad emotional spectrum, which can result in soaring highs and cataclysmic lows in the person’s personal life. Scientists have been interested in the connection between creativity and depression for years. Charles Dickens is said to have fell into a deep depression as he aged, Edgar Allen Poe’s outlook on life was perpetually bleak and Hunter S. Thompson famously committed suicide. Despite this propensity for discontentment and anguish, creative people have an ability to harness the energy from their darkest hours and use it as fuel for new creations. If Eminem grew up with a stable family and financial abundance, the world would have never been gifted with a masterpiece like The Slim Shady LP.
5. You are compelled to create
As novelist and playwright, Joseph Heller, once said: “I don't understand the process of imagination—though I know that I am very much at its mercy”. As a creative person, ideas come to you from out of the ether at the most unexpected moments (during showering is highly common). Some ideas lead nowhere while others demand further investigation in order to develop and mold them into something worthwhile. From intangible, philosophical ideas to monolithic skyscrapers that dominate the horizons of major cities, everything that exists in reality is the result of the creative process.