(Un)Common Traits of Creative People

by Dean Rieck

So you want to be creative. Guess what? You already are. We are all creative to some degree. You. Me. Your accountant. Your hairdresser. The kid who bags your groceries. Everyone.

Creativity isn't something you're born with. It's not some mysterious aura that hovers around wild-haired writers and artists. And it has nothing to do with how smart you are. In fact, research has shown that once you get beyond an I.Q. of about 120 (which is fairly average), intelligence and creativity are not correlated. So you could be a genius and display little creativity. Or you could be perfectly average in intelligence and wield amazing creative powers.

Creativity is really just a matter of how you approach things. It's how you act or react to new circumstances. Your proclivity to look at things in a different way. To question. Experiment. In other words, creativity is not what you are as much as what you do. It's a learned behavior and therefore can be controlled and improved.

Think of creativity like a muscle. The more you use it the stronger it gets. To increase your creativity, you simply need to act in creative ways and do what other creative people do.

Not surprisingly, people recognized as creative tend to share common traits. They act in ways that are actually quite uncommon for most people. Creative people ...

These are certainly uncommon traits for most people in business today. But they're not particularly difficult. Watch how the creative people you know solve problems and deal with projects. You may choose one particularly creative person you admire and, when faced with a problem, ask yourself, "What would so-and-so do in this situation?" Over time, you'll find yourself becoming more and more creative and, most likely, more and more successful.

But it's not just what you do that makes you creative. It's also what you don't do. So in the next session, we'll look at some of the things that may be stifling your creativity.

Copyright © 1999 Dean Rieck. All Rights Reserved.
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