Audio Post: The Psychology of Highly Creative People @ Work

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Creative people have been described as enigmas, impossible to understand, even weird. If creative people are a mystery to themselves and others, how are companies supposed to manage them? And how do creative people thrive in a corporate culture that tends to reward emotional and intellectual predictability?

Lee Konecke
, a psychologist who specializes in working with creative people. He has a background in Buddhist psychology (he’s not a Buddhist) and the psychology of creativity.

We begin by discussing some of traits in Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s (me-HIGH chick-sent-me-HIGH-ee) “The Creative Personality: Ten paradoxical traits of the creative personality.” Csiksgentmihalyi is one of the creators of ‘positive psychology,’ or the scientific study of human flourishing. This is a counterpoint to the conventional way of diagnosing and treating a “problem” or “dysfunction.”

Follow Along
Use the time codes below to navigate through the interview.

1:00 Are you an introvert or extrovert? If you’re highly creative, you may be both.

1:39 Highly creative people are psychologically
androgynous. They have a double repertoire of emotions.

2:15 Creative people are both divergent and convergent thinkers. They don’t subscribe to the “If X, then Y” way of thinking.

3:42 This is the way middle management messes up creatives.

3:56 The personality of a creative can be unusual.

They are complex. They are a paradox in personality. They can be both sides of the extreme within the drop of a dime and many people find that frustrating, threatening, they don’t know what to do with them.

4:31 ADHD, ADD, bipolar, or just highly creative?

5:30 Want off the charts creativity? We discuss Konecke’s “6, 7, 8, 9, 10” theory. The 9 &10’s are God given.

7:21 Are you a frustrated artist? If you think you’re not good enough, you’re not alone. Creatives are the “master sufferers.”

7:54 Creative people like to reinvent themselves.

8:03 ‘Nothingness’ is a gift for creatives, but they aren’t comfortable with stillness.

8:52 If you don’t clean up your psychological issues, it can thwart your creativity. Michael Jordan does it, should you?

10:30 Are some people born more creative than others?

11:44 With practice, can people become more creative?

12:32 ‘Forcing error’ is a HUGE component of creativity.

13:10 Some of the newest and most creative companies like Google, support failure.

13:28 Did your dysfunctional family make you highly creative? Are you a ‘parentified’ child?

14:58 How do creative people handle rejection?

If you are closing because someone doesn’t approve of your creativity, you are shutting down your creativity, not them.

17:23 If you take medication for depression, it can affect your level of joy and shrink your emotional bandwidth.

The reason some of the low, low depressions are occurring, in my experience, is because they are never following and trusting what they want to do. There is such a high connection between happiness and people who do what they want that gives them joy and those who don’t.

19:28 Do you tend to be self-critical or judge others? You may experience the same downside as someone taking medication for depression.

If we are someone who is more prone to be critical, to compare ourselves to others, to judge, to be pessimistic, we are actually shrinking our emotional bandwidth.

18:39 Why do some people live a fully creative life and choose to work in creative professions and others don’t?

19:45 Are you courageous enough to create something new or do you follow the mold?

19:54 A really good creative isn’t satisfied with the status quo.

21:17 Do creatives have to have a stronger sense of self?

Feature image by urfinguss –  iStock

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