18 things highly creative people do differently.


Instagram pic by Jin Chu-Ferrer.

A wildly popular Huffington Post article about the intricacies of creative minds caught my attention the other day. As a self-proclaimed creative (and someone who feels highly uncomfortable in conservative, judgmental crowds) - this is some interesting stuff. A list of suggestive traits of a hopeless creative in a world that rewards conformity? Let's hear it. And I ain't gonna lie. I was curious. That, too. So let's see what we have here. Personality characteristics? Paradoxical (check), tend to avoid habit or routine (check), don't accept things as they are and constantly question/ponder (like a nonconformist? ch-ch-check), vehemently against mundane and copycat (check), advocate for original thought and design (double check), straight-up weird (straight-up check).

Possible theories? Left brain = rational and analytical. Right brain = creative and emotional.

"It's actually hard for creative people to know themselves because the creative self is more complex than the non-creative self. The things that stand out the most are the paradoxes of the creative self ... Imaginative people have messier minds."

Hot messier minds, at that. Check.

Pop on over to the HuffPost article to see the full details and 'science' on each of the 18 tell-tale signs. I've read it. And self-indulgently justified myself. And I know you're about to do the same. ;-) Let's compare answers! I'll go first.


1 // They daydream.

My grade school reports were littered with these exact words: 'Constantly Daydreaming'. I kid you not. Apparently, as I've come to realize over the years, it's a chronic thing and occurs on a daily basis. I do heaps of it at work/coffeehouses/home whilst looking out the window - wishing upon faraway lands to travel to and mashing together colorful abstracts and conjuring up mini adventures.

"Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."

I feel ya, White Queen, I feel ya!

2 // They observe everything.

Not aesthetically pleasing to the eyes? Don't matter. Lovely eyesores are my favorite fodder for inspiration.

3 // They work the hours that work for them.

Late night. Or last minute. Often times they overlap. But I gets it done.

4 // They take time for solitude.

Good for the inner daydreaming soul.

5 // They turn life's obstacles around.

I assume, like the rest of this list, that we're on terms of non-societal norms. In that case, one major life obstacle comes to mind. An attempt to move to California to chase a creative dream. Ran into some paperwork trouble with the government which lasted 3 long years and at the end of it all, I was heartbreakingly back at square one, haunted by some pretty scary ominous dreams, and out loads of money. Thanks, Cali, for taking my money. I did, however, took the time, in between fighting the Cali system, to hone the creative viewpoint of my photog craft. So some good came of that arduous experience. I became a more resilient individual and, surprisingly, with a clearer course of where I want my photog voice to venture into.

6 // They seek out new experiences.

Sometime in my early 20s an epiphany happened. Why was I trying to be a dutiful lemming living a certain lifestyle pre-approved by society? Did I really want a 9-to-5, buy a nice gas-guzzling car, get married, move into a cookie-cutter home, have kids? In that order? Heck no. I wanted the creative freedom I oh-so-craved, and to get there, I had to be incredibly open-minded. It's amazing how this world is full of judgmental and assuming people holding themselves and everyone around them back. Family is the biggest culprit. I didn't want to be that person. So I embarked on a 7 year world journey to broaden my perspective, experience other cultural POVs, soak in the curiosities of the human mind, explore the mysteries of the world, learn everything and anything, listen to everyone's personal story, and above all, live life how it's meant to be lived - carefree, no limitations, and very little planning involved because spontaneity is the best kind of happy surprise. There's this constant stream of inspo from the exposure to all these stimuli and various world-views - and my! - has it taken my imagination to a whole 'nother level, in turn shaping my photographic vision. Something that never would have happened if I stayed in my comfort zone.

7 // They "fail up". 

See #5.

8 // They ask the big questions.

I find it amusing how so many travelers I've met along the way aren't associated with religion. My kinds of peoples.

9 // They people-watch.

Coffee shops are my thayng.

10 // They take a risk.

So what if I didn't have insurance or necessarily had a place to stay or had a planned itinerary throughout my 7 year traveling stint. Some of my most cherished life stories and creative moments arise from spontaneity. Like I said, the happy kind of surprise.

11 // They view all of life as an opportunity for self-expression.

Would you believe me when I say that I pretend giant paintbrushes and pencils paint/draw in the scenery as it blurs past me when driving?

12 // They follow their true passions.


13 // They get out of their own heads.

See #1.

14 // They lose track of time.

You wouldn't believe how much time I've spent in Anthropologie or various coffee shops just taking pictures. Let alone talk photography with fellow photogs. Some of my longest marathon photog convos includes staying up til 4am talking anything and everything about photography with Ray, accidentally racking up work overtime discussing the technicalities of cameras with Rachel, and spending an entire work day sharing unique visions and photog styles with Wade (when I should've been teaching him the wonderful world of Microbiology!).

15 // They surround themselves with beauty.

... and like-minded creatives and dreamers. 

16 // They connect the dots.

Even if it's so far-fetched and unconventional. I gots solutions.

17 // They constantly shake things up.

See #6.

18 // They make time for mindfulness.

8 years of (basic) yoga. And counting. Ommm.


Want more of the creative 'truth'? Check out these other entertaining articles:

3 Signs You Are Too Creative for a 9-to-5 // Humorous approach. A bit cheeky. So true. I like it.

20 Signs You're A Creative Type // So borderline contradictory, only creative types would get it.


besos ... jin.