The 10 Dimensions of Creative Complexity

Posted on March 10, 2011

2 10 Dimensions of Creative Complexity

This is taken directly from Liz Strauss’s blog, I loved it and had to share: “I find that these 10 paradoxes explain a lot the creative folks I work with. I also use them to understand what’s going on when things aren’t going well, particularly when we have a creative project going full speed under tight deadlines. That’s when I review this list to look for pairs that are out of balance. When I find and adjust the imbalances, the stressful moments fade away.

The 10 Dimensions of Complexity of the Highly Creative Personality. That’s what Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls them. I call them the 10 Reasons that Creative People Drive Us Crazy. Each item is a paradox, a complexity, a contradiction that’s frustrating to others when they exist together at odds in one human being. Take a look and then I’ll tell you how knowing them has helped me keep my sanity, or at least relieve some stress.

  1. Creative individuals have great physical energy, but they become extremely quiet when they are at rest.
    This restful period can lead others to think that they are not feeling well or that they are unhappy, when the truth is they are fine.
  2. Creative folks tend to be both highly intelligent and naive at the same time.
  3. Creative people are disciplined and playful simultaneously. In some creative people, this can mean that they are responsible and irresponsible at the same time as well.
  4. Creative minds move between a spectrum of fantasy and imagination and a firm grounding in reality. They understand the present and need to keep in touch with the past.
  5. Creative individuals seem to be both introverted and extroverted, expressing both traits at once. An image to explain this might be that they are shy showoffs, if you can picture that.
  6. Creative people are sincerely humble and extremely proud in a childlike way. It requires ego to have a risky, fresh idea. It takes self-doubt to hammer itAP Photo/Alan Diaz out to a workable form.
  7. Creative folks don’t feel as tied to gender roles. They feel distinctly individual. They don’t feel the barriers of authority or the rules of what they are “supposed to do.”
  8. Creative individuals are thought to be rebellious. Yet, in order to be creative one has to understand and have internalized the traditional culture. Therefore creativity comes from deep roots in tradition. Creative people are traditional and cutting edge.
  9. Creative people are deeply passionate about their work, yet can be extremely detached and objective when discussing it.
  10. Creative people are highly open and sensitive, which exposes them to pain and suffering, but also allows them to feel higher values of joy and happiness.

“Being Creative” Photo by Mark andrew Webber
Being Creative: so i came up with this, whilst trying to actually think about creativity..
“being creative makes you a weird little beast, because everything seems so bloody interesting for some strange reason”

AP Photo/Alan DiazProfessor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the man who wrote Flow — also wrote the pivotal book on creativity— Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention. The book covers a 5-year study of 91 individuals over 60 years old, who had a creative impact on the world.