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Traits of Highly Creative People

Are you a HCP?

Just this morning I was watching a BrainyDose video on the traits of highly creative people (HCP) when the narrator said, "Highly creative people have structural differences in their brain that make them more creative, intuitive and imaginative." He stated this as fact without any explanation, research, or evidence, but continued to list some of the traits of highly creative people which I found interesting.

However I couldn't simply accept this statement at face value without some form of respectable corroboration (trait #5). Thank goodness for the internet and ease of conducting research!!

David DiSalvo wrote an interesting article (2018) in Psychology Today "It's True: The Creative Brain Is Wired Differently: A new study reveals a bit of the mystery about how the creative brain functions." The study referenced was actually published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

According to the study,

"if you put a group of people in a room, give them a set of objects, and ask them to come up with as many creative uses for those objects as possible, most people will produce a fairly limited number of ideas. But a minority of people, perhaps just one or two in the room, will come up with a range of creative ideas that will leave the others wondering how they thought of them.

The researchers wanted to know whether the brains of people who are consistently more creative would show different activation patterns than other brains, and which brain areas would be involved. The results of the imaging revealed that the brains of the most creative volunteers showed a distinct pattern of activity across three brain networks: the default mode network, the salience network, and the executive control network. Each is a seat of activity for different capabilities (the default mode network, for instance, kicks in when we’re daydreaming and plays a major role in imaginative thought), and typically there’s not much activity cutting across their boundaries. But in the highly creative brain, they collectively host a symphony of interactions that produce striking ideas.

"What this shows is that the creative brain is wired differently," said Roger Beaty, a Post-Doctoral Fellow in Psychology and the first author of the study. "People who are more creative can simultaneously engage brain networks that don't typically work together.”

And it’s not just that those brain areas work well together in the creative brain, but they also evidence a “flexibility of thought” that stands in contrast to the rigidity common to most brains when faced with creative challenges."


A nice side benefit of the research is that it undercuts the common myth that creativity is influenced by being either “left-brained” or “right-brained.” Instead, it seems clear (from this and previous research) that creativity involves multiple brain areas across both hemispheres.


A truly creative person uses both sides of their brain. Dependently. Independently. Connectedly. Collectively. Wholey. Separately. And Continuously.

Thank you!

A truly creative person can be great at English and great at Math, can be a comfortable extrovert and still savor quiet, alone time, can be a deep thinker and total ditz!

And though I haven't done the research, it's my opinion that we are all highly creative people. We were born creative with a creative "muscle." The only difference is that some people are motivated to work and strengthen that muscle and others pursue alternative interests.

But I digress (trait #2)

So what are some of the traits of highly creative people?

  1. Playful, yet disciplined. Possessing determination and focus.

  2. Yet have difficulty staying on task. New ideas flood their brain. So much to process at once.

  3. Both introverted and extroverted. In others words, they are Ambiverts.

  4. Realistic dreamers.

  5. Minds never slow down.

  6. Follow true passions. Naturally, intrinsically motivated.

  7. Objective about their work.

  8. Use procrastination as a tool.

  9. Lose track of time. As Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi explains in his book Flow, meaningful moments that make life worth living, moments of “optimal experience," also known as the "Flow" state occurs when you are doing what you love and lose all track of time. I love it when that happens.

  10. Deep thinkers. HCP dive deep into politics, religion and philosophical questions about the meaning of life, purpose, and legacy.

  11. Conservative, yet Rebellious. Non-conformist.

  12. Highly sensitive. Fueled by emotions. Decisions based on feelings.

  13. Emotions change quickly.

  14. Need creative space to call their own. A personal nook, man cave, she shed, sewing room, studio, you name it.

  15. Turn life's obstacles around. Trauma, sadness, time of fear or stress, all the negative experiences in life will be drawn upon to spark creativity and growth.

  16. They only work when they feel like it. (Although I've been self-employed for the past decade, I still thank God in my thoughts and prayers for previous employers who gave me autonomy and flexibility. Just saying those words with inner dialogue bring a modicum of joy and peace.)

  17. Sacrifice a stable life. They remain open to new chapters, experiences, and opportunities, not to mention sacrificing affordable health insurance. Just sayin'.

  18. Never give up. They do what works. Failing as HCP is simply finding many ways how NOT to do something which can be just as satisfying and preferred to throwing in the towel.

To place a nice red bow on the research, highly creative people dream big, work hard, never give up, and thrive in their own world. It's a happy, creative life.

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