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Crea%ve  people  are  humble  and  proud.  Crea%ve  people  tend  
to  be  both  extroverted  and  introverted.  Crea%ve  people  are  
rebellious  and  conserva%ve.  How  crea%ve  are  you?
10 PARADOXICAL TRAITS
OF CREATIVE PEOPLE
by  Faisal Hoque
founder  of:
It is safe to say that more
and more entrepreneurs
are artists, and artists of
all kinds are
entrepreneurs.
The  trend  is  only  on  the  rise  as  all  things  (art,  science,  
technology,  business,  culture,  spirituality)  are  increasingly  
converging.  Crea%vity  is  the  common  theme  that  drives  both  
entrepreneurs  and  ar%sts  alike.  But  crea%ve  people  are  oEen  
also  paradoxical.
10 Traits Often
Contradictory in Nature
In  the  following  10  traits,  dis%nguished  professor  of  psychology  and  
management  Mihaly  Csikszentmihalyi’s  seminal  book  Crea%vity:  The  
Work  and  Lives  of  91  Eminent  People,  describes  ten  traits  that  are  
frequently  present  in  crea%ve  people.
CREATIVE PEOPLE HAVE A GREAT DEAL
OF PHYSICAL ENERGY, BUT THEY'RE
ALSO OFTEN QUIET & AT REST.
They  work  long  hours,  with  great  concentra%on,  
while  projec%ng  an  aura  of  freshness  and  enthusiasm.
1
CREATIVE PEOPLE TEND TO BE SMART
YET NAIVE AT THE SAME TIME.
It  involves  fluency,  or  the  ability  to  generate  a  great  quan%ty  of  
ideas;  flexibility,  or  the  ability  to  switch  from  one  perspec%ve  to  
another;  and  originality  in  picking  unusual  associa%ons  of  ideas.
2
CREATIVE PEOPLE COMBINE
PLAYFULNESS & DISCIPLINE, OR
RESPONSIBILITY & IRRESPONSIBILITY.
But  this  playfulness  doesn't  go  very  far  without  its  an%thesis,  a  
quality  of  doggedness,  endurance,  and  perseverance.
3
CREATIVE PEOPLE ALTERNATE BETWEEN
IMAGINATION & FANTASY, & A ROOTED
SENSE OF REALITY.
Great  art  and  great  science  involve  a  leap  of  imagina%on  into  a  
world  that  is  different  from  the  present.
4
CREATIVE PEOPLE TEND TO BE BOTH
EXTROVERTED & INTROVERTED.
We're  usually  one  or  the  other,  either  preferring  to  be  in  the  thick  
of  crowds  or  siWng  on  the  sidelines  and  observing  the  passing  
show.  Crea%ve  individuals,  on  the  other  hand,  seem  to  exhibit  both  
traits  simultaneously.
5
CREATIVE PEOPLE ARE HUMBLE & PROUD
AT THE SAME TIME.
It  is  remarkable  to  meet  a  famous  person  who  you  expect  to  be  
arrogant  or  supercilious,  only  to  encounter  self-­‐depreca%on  and  
shyness  instead.
6
CREATIVE PEOPLE, TO AN EXTENT,
ESCAPE RIGID GENDER ROLE
STEREOTYPING.
When  tests  of  masculinity  and  femininity  are  given  to  young  
people,  over  and  over  one  finds  that  crea%ve  and  talented  girls  are  
more  dominant  and  tough  than  other  girls,  and  crea%ve  boys  are  
more  sensi%ve  and  less  aggressive  than  their  male  peers.
7
CREATIVE PEOPLE ARE BOTH REBELLIOUS
& CONSERVATIVE.
It  is  impossible  to  be  crea%ve  without  having  first  internalized  an  
area  of  culture.  So  it's  difficult  to  see  how  a  person  can  be  crea%ve  
without  being  both  tradi%onal  and  conserva%ve  and  at  the  same  
%me  rebellious  and  iconoclas%c.
8
MOST CREATIVE PEOPLE ARE VERY
PASSIONATE ABOUT THEIR WORK, YET
THEY CAN BE EXTREMELY OBJECTIVE
ABOUT IT AS WELL.
Without  the  passion,  we  soon  lose  interest  in  a  difficult  task.  Yet  
without  being  objec%ve  about  it,  our  work  is  not  very  good  and  
lacks  credibility.
9
CREATIVE PEOPLE'S OPENNESS &
SENSITIVITY OFTEN EXPOSES THEM TO
SUFFERING & PAIN, YET ALSO TO A
GREAT DEAL OF ENJOYMENT.
Perhaps  the  most  important  quality,  the  one  that  is  most  
consistently  present  in  all  crea%ve  individuals,  is  the  ability  to  enjoy  
the  process  of  crea%on  for  its  own  sake.
10
About Me
Founder  of  Shadoka  and  other  
companies.  Shadoka  enables  
entrepreneurship,  growth,  and  social  
impact.  

Formerly  of  GE  and  other  global  brands.  
Author  of  several  books,  includiing  
Everything  Connects  –  How  to  Transform  
and  Lead  in  the  Age  of  Crea%vity,  
Innova%on  and  Sustainability  (McGraw  
Hill,  Spring  2014)  and  
Survive  to  Thrive  –  27  Prac%ces  of  
Resilient  Entrepreneurs,  Innovators,  And  
Leaders  (Mo%va%onal  Press,  2015).

Follow  me  @faisal_hoque.

faisalhoque.com  |  shadoka.com

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10 Paradoxical Traits of Creative People

  • 1. Crea%ve  people  are  humble  and  proud.  Crea%ve  people  tend   to  be  both  extroverted  and  introverted.  Crea%ve  people  are   rebellious  and  conserva%ve.  How  crea%ve  are  you? 10 PARADOXICAL TRAITS OF CREATIVE PEOPLE by  Faisal Hoque founder  of:
  • 2. It is safe to say that more and more entrepreneurs are artists, and artists of all kinds are entrepreneurs. The  trend  is  only  on  the  rise  as  all  things  (art,  science,   technology,  business,  culture,  spirituality)  are  increasingly   converging.  Crea%vity  is  the  common  theme  that  drives  both   entrepreneurs  and  ar%sts  alike.  But  crea%ve  people  are  oEen   also  paradoxical.
  • 3. 10 Traits Often Contradictory in Nature In  the  following  10  traits,  dis%nguished  professor  of  psychology  and   management  Mihaly  Csikszentmihalyi’s  seminal  book  Crea%vity:  The   Work  and  Lives  of  91  Eminent  People,  describes  ten  traits  that  are   frequently  present  in  crea%ve  people.
  • 4. CREATIVE PEOPLE HAVE A GREAT DEAL OF PHYSICAL ENERGY, BUT THEY'RE ALSO OFTEN QUIET & AT REST. They  work  long  hours,  with  great  concentra%on,   while  projec%ng  an  aura  of  freshness  and  enthusiasm. 1
  • 5. CREATIVE PEOPLE TEND TO BE SMART YET NAIVE AT THE SAME TIME. It  involves  fluency,  or  the  ability  to  generate  a  great  quan%ty  of   ideas;  flexibility,  or  the  ability  to  switch  from  one  perspec%ve  to   another;  and  originality  in  picking  unusual  associa%ons  of  ideas. 2
  • 6. CREATIVE PEOPLE COMBINE PLAYFULNESS & DISCIPLINE, OR RESPONSIBILITY & IRRESPONSIBILITY. But  this  playfulness  doesn't  go  very  far  without  its  an%thesis,  a   quality  of  doggedness,  endurance,  and  perseverance. 3
  • 7. CREATIVE PEOPLE ALTERNATE BETWEEN IMAGINATION & FANTASY, & A ROOTED SENSE OF REALITY. Great  art  and  great  science  involve  a  leap  of  imagina%on  into  a   world  that  is  different  from  the  present. 4
  • 8. CREATIVE PEOPLE TEND TO BE BOTH EXTROVERTED & INTROVERTED. We're  usually  one  or  the  other,  either  preferring  to  be  in  the  thick   of  crowds  or  siWng  on  the  sidelines  and  observing  the  passing   show.  Crea%ve  individuals,  on  the  other  hand,  seem  to  exhibit  both   traits  simultaneously. 5
  • 9. CREATIVE PEOPLE ARE HUMBLE & PROUD AT THE SAME TIME. It  is  remarkable  to  meet  a  famous  person  who  you  expect  to  be   arrogant  or  supercilious,  only  to  encounter  self-­‐depreca%on  and   shyness  instead. 6
  • 10. CREATIVE PEOPLE, TO AN EXTENT, ESCAPE RIGID GENDER ROLE STEREOTYPING. When  tests  of  masculinity  and  femininity  are  given  to  young   people,  over  and  over  one  finds  that  crea%ve  and  talented  girls  are   more  dominant  and  tough  than  other  girls,  and  crea%ve  boys  are   more  sensi%ve  and  less  aggressive  than  their  male  peers. 7
  • 11. CREATIVE PEOPLE ARE BOTH REBELLIOUS & CONSERVATIVE. It  is  impossible  to  be  crea%ve  without  having  first  internalized  an   area  of  culture.  So  it's  difficult  to  see  how  a  person  can  be  crea%ve   without  being  both  tradi%onal  and  conserva%ve  and  at  the  same   %me  rebellious  and  iconoclas%c. 8
  • 12. MOST CREATIVE PEOPLE ARE VERY PASSIONATE ABOUT THEIR WORK, YET THEY CAN BE EXTREMELY OBJECTIVE ABOUT IT AS WELL. Without  the  passion,  we  soon  lose  interest  in  a  difficult  task.  Yet   without  being  objec%ve  about  it,  our  work  is  not  very  good  and   lacks  credibility. 9
  • 13. CREATIVE PEOPLE'S OPENNESS & SENSITIVITY OFTEN EXPOSES THEM TO SUFFERING & PAIN, YET ALSO TO A GREAT DEAL OF ENJOYMENT. Perhaps  the  most  important  quality,  the  one  that  is  most   consistently  present  in  all  crea%ve  individuals,  is  the  ability  to  enjoy   the  process  of  crea%on  for  its  own  sake. 10
  • 14. About Me Founder  of  Shadoka  and  other   companies.  Shadoka  enables   entrepreneurship,  growth,  and  social   impact.   Formerly  of  GE  and  other  global  brands.   Author  of  several  books,  includiing   Everything  Connects  –  How  to  Transform   and  Lead  in  the  Age  of  Crea%vity,   Innova%on  and  Sustainability  (McGraw   Hill,  Spring  2014)  and   Survive  to  Thrive  –  27  Prac%ces  of   Resilient  Entrepreneurs,  Innovators,  And   Leaders  (Mo%va%onal  Press,  2015). Follow  me  @faisal_hoque. faisalhoque.com  |  shadoka.com