It isn't always easy having a creative brain, since creativity works in mysterious and often confusing ways. There are times when you're constantly having new ideas and moments of extraordinary inspiration, and other times they're nowhere to be found when you need them most. People with a creative brain know that their point-of-view and way of doing things is unique to them.
In an article on Quartz, Carolyn Gregoire and Scott Barry Kaufman, authors of the book Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind, offer some insights into the messy minds of highly creative people.
So what exactly makes highly creative people different than most people?
1. They have a high tolerance for messiness.
Gregoire and Kaufman write, "The common traits that people across all creative fields seemed to have in common were an openness to one's inner life; a preference for complexity and ambiguity; an unusually high tolerance for disorder and disarray; the ability to extract order from chaos; independence; unconventionality; and a willingness to take risk."
The late psychologist Frank X. Barron, whose historic study on creativity is the basis for much of what we believe about the creative mind, wrote that the creative genius was "both more primitive and more cultured, more destructive and more constructive, occasionally crazier and yet adamantly saner than the average person."
2. They have very strong self-awareness.
People with big, creative brains are very comfortable looking inwards and have an increased self-awareness. No one is entirely light of spirit, nor are they completely dark.
Gregoire and Kaufman write, "In openly and boldly confronting themselves and the world, creative-minded people seemed to find an unusual synthesis between healthy and 'pathological' behaviors. It is these contradictory traits of the creative that gives them the impetus to create."
3. They don't think; they imagine.
The creative process is quickly moving interplay between the many different brain regions, emotions and both the unconscious and conscious processing systems. The brain's default mode network — or as Gregoire and Kaufman call it, the imagination network — is crucial for creativity.
"We spend as much as half our mental lives using this network. It appears to be most active when we're engaged in what researchers call 'self-generated cognition', daydreaming, ruminating, or otherwise letting our minds wander," Gregoire and Kaufman write.
4. They have original, out-of-the-box ways of problem-solving.
"The functions of the imagination network form the core of human experience," Gregoire and Kaufman write. "Its three main components are personal meaning-making, mental stimulation, and perspective taking. This allows us to construct meaning from our experiences, remember the past, think about the future, imagine other people's perspectives and alternative scenarios, understand stories, and reflect on mental and emotional states."
Clearly, the creative brain is very complex, and highly creative people are able to handle both the intricate processes that their brains go through and come up with original ways of problem-solving, looking at the world, and conceiving breathtaking creations.