Thursday, January 7, 2010

Are you a creative person?

Because, apparently, I'm not.  Despite what I may believe.  Or what others may believe about me.

I'm taking a 2D design class this semester.  My instructor gave us this thing yesterday.  It's an excerpt from Training and Development Journal from 1989.  This guy, David H. Lyman, ran these workshops in Maine for photographers and other "creative" types.  He came up with this list of traits for creative people.

Lyman's List of Creative Traits
Creative people:

  1. give themselves permission to be different.  They accept their "differentness."
  2. are playful.  They do not take anything too seriously--not even serious things.
  3. do not play by the rules.  They enjoy being outlaws, breaking rules, and thumbing their noses at conformity.
  4. are adventurous.  They love to travel, to see new things, and to explore the world around them and the inner world of their minds and hearts.
  5. have trouble being accurate, punctual, and proper.
  6. are funny. They have a sense of humor.  They make fun, have fun, and are fun to be around.
  7. are spontaneous.  They take direction from each day's events and from the work they do.
  8. are independent.  They have an ability to work alone and stand alone in their convictions and desires.
  9. are sensitive to art and beauty.
  10. are enthusiastic, idealistic, and responsive.
  11. are bold.  They act with confidence and single-mindedness.
  12. see things where others do not.
  13. take action.
  14. push beyond, around, or through the wall.  Every problem is an opportunity.
  15. are driven; they are passionate.
  16. are not content with the obvious, the mundane, the mediocre, and the cliche.
  17. know when and how to let go.
  18. are patient.
  19. do not mind being lost or feeling ambiguous.

OK, so I've got 4, 8, 9, maybe 10, definitely 12 when it comes to some random things, but none of the rest.

But I'm okay with that.  Because I don't necessarily think that you have to be every single thing on this list to consider yourself a creative person.  I'm punctual to a fault.  But that's just who I am.  I'm not the most patient person in the world, but I don't care.

I've definitely felt lost these last few months without any real direction in my life.  Things have begun to return to normal now.  I can see the appeal in becoming a "professional student."

Q4U: Which traits do you have on this list?  What's the one on there you most wish you did have?  What's the one you most wish you didn't have?


  1. Oh, well. I guess I'm not creative either. LOL I like being punctual and I have a hard time breaking rules.

    The one I wish had was the ability to let things go. I'm a stewer.:)

    Interesting class. Is it for design?

  2. Yeah, it's all the basics of 2-dimensional design: line, shape, color, space, balance, etcetera etcetera etcetera.

    It'll be a nice refresher as I haven't really studied this stuff since interior design in high school.

    Ability to let things go would be nice.

  3. I don't like this list. I have a majority of these traits, but I don't think you can make a list of what makes people creative. There are so many ways to be creative. Saying that creative people are all late, spontaneous, illogical, passionate, etc. is putting creativity in a box. That goes against creativity's very nature.

  4. I so disagree with this assesment. It's putting a type of person into a box. I think of myself as creative and resourceful, but I'm no McGyvre. (sp?) I'm creative on the artistic side, but not the mechanical. Everyone is different and we all have strengths and weaknesses.

    I'm also punctual. Creative people can't be respectful? Hmmm... I'm just not buying this.

    Last, I don't think you need to be "different" to be creative. I have a C.S. Lewis quote on my blog about originality that sums it up pretty well.

    "Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it."
    – C.S. Lewis

    Obviously, this is just my opinion, but I think truth is a far better judge of creativity than whether a person is adventurous or not. (That was one of my few as well. lol)

    Don't let someone else label you. You get to do that. Ali has a great post on this actually. Ironic!

  5. I'd be interested to know how Mr. Lyman defined "creative" because clearly, he was trying to find a pigeon-hole to put artists in.

    And that's just it. Writers are artists too. Our tools are just a bit different. All artists are creative in their own right.

    For someone to arbitrarily cite that creativity means you have to have all these qualities is ridiculous. Isn't that part of being different and being who we are?

    I'd think that if all "creative" people had all those exact qualities, creativity would turn out to be pretty dull.

  6. Maybe these are stereotypes of creative people? Otherwise, I better put down my writing pen. Interesting how many people who responded to you are punctual. I am, to a fault.

  7. I'm with Liza -- this seems more like a list of stereotypes. I think creativity is about thinking and output, not living a certain "artistic" lifestyle!

    Oh, and I'm also very punctual. We should start a club for timely artists!

  8. Definitely stereotypes. If you had to be all of these things to be creative, I don't think there would be one creative person on the planet.

  9. 4, 7, and 18 are not in my personality at all. Like AT ALL. But the others seem to fit pretty well.

  10. I'm a yes to almost all of these. But a lot of them don't seem like such a great thing to admit as a personality trait

  11. Wow I guess I'm really not creative at all! I've only got two on that list--#4 and #9, possibly #6 and #8.

    For me, I most wish to have #18 and #11. But patience is a virtue I struggle to attain on a daily--or even hourly--basis; and bold is certainly not in my nature at all. #19 is something that I don't know if I'd want to have--I kind of freak out if I'm lost or feel ambiguous.

    Great entry! Oh, I found your blog through Natalie Whipple's :) Just in case you're curious where this random first-time commenter came from :P

  12. Thanks for stopping by everyone! Just to note, I was kind of being facetious with this. I definitely don't agree that you have to have every one of these traits to be creative.

  13. I think 8, 9, and 10 describe me best. Most everything else is not "me" at all - interesting checklist! Some of these traits even contradict others, but it's intriguing to see this guy's opinion of what makes a creative person. Maybe this list compiled his own personality traits? Haha. Thanks for sharing!

  14. It'll be a nice refresher as I haven't really studied this stuff since interior design in high school.

    Work from home India


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