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15 Things Only Truly Artistic People Would Understand

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15 Things Only Truly Artistic People Would Understand

Artistic people are a special group of people whose creative capabilities are engrossing and laced with such gentleness that ordinary people have to take notice. Their ability to coax the miraculous out of the mundane is not only exciting, but also frequently paradoxical.

Distinguished professor of psychology and management, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi explains it best in his seminal book Creativity: The Work and Lives of 91 Eminent People:

“I have devoted 30 years of research to how creative people live and work, to make more understandable the mysterious process by which they come up with new ideas and new things. If I had to express in one word what makes their personalities different from others, it’s complexity. They show tendencies of thought and action that in most people are segregated. They contain contradictory extremes; instead of being an individual, each of them is a multitude.”

That’s right; each of them is a multitude. Here are 15 things only truly artistic people would understand drawn largely from Mihaly’s Creativity:

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1. They get inspired at the least expected moment

Artistic people know they can’t decide when their next big idea will come. Sure they can have many great ideas, but they really don’t know when their greatest idea will come. It just will, in the least expected way, at the least expected moment.

2. They are passionate about their work, but can also be extremely objective about it as well

Artistic people are passionate about their work, but also objective and detached from it in such a way that they can accept criticism and response. That happens because they know without being objective art lacks credibility and is not very good.

3. They are humble, and yet proud and confident

Artistic people are always willing to learn and grow their skills no matter how good they are. Meeting them, you will be struck by their humility and self-depreciation. But amidst this humility and modest demeanor is deep seated pride and confidence in their ideas and creations.

4. They are here, but they’re not

Artistic people are dreamers. They alternate between fantasy and reality with considerable ease. When you’re conversing with them, you’ll get the feeling that they are present and at the same time they’re not. That’s because they can fly away with their mind at any given moment into a world that is different from the present, and yet rooted in the present reality.

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5. They tend to be both extroverted and introverted

Artistic people seem to exhibit both traits simultaneously. They can be a lone for long spells of time creating and also be in the thick of crowds showcasing their work. Other times they simple sit quietly on the sidelines observing and absorbing the passing show.

6. They are conservative and disruptive at the same time

Artistic people have internalized specific aspects of culture, so much so that they can breach or preserve both traditional and modern norms at will in their creative expressions. That’s the reason why artists can be so disruptive and unnerving in society sometimes.

7. They follow their heart even when their mind tells them otherwise

Artistic people tend to take more risks and worry less about problems than the average person. They understand a thousand fails can bring a million satisfactions. And so they never give up on their art or creative ideas. They stick to them no matter what others or even their own minds tell them.

8. They embrace their genius even if others don’t

Even when others misunderstand their art, artistic people stick to it and remain true to themselves without compromise. They treasure their creations and would rather be authentic than popular.

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9. They live on the edge of joy and depression

Because artistic people feel so deeply about their work, they can quickly fall from joy to sadness and even depression in an instant. They are sensitive human beings whose delicate hearts, while the source of their brilliance, is also the source of their suffering and emotional anguish.

10. They draw inspiration from their surroundings

Artistic people can seize moments or events in their surroundings and create something brilliant in an unusual way, including moments of internal and or external troubles. As Mihay says, “creative individuals are remarkable for their ability to adapt to almost any situation and to make do with whatever is at hand to reach their goals.”

11. They have immense physical energy and grit, but they’re also subdued and laid back

This is evident in the way artistic people work. They display remarkable physical energy and can work long hours behind closed doors with great zeal and enthusiasm. At the same time, they project an unmistakable aura of calmness and freshness while working that is quite awe inspiring.

12. They are free spirited and yet quite disciplined

Artistic people are so free spirited that they often come across as carefree, playful and even irresponsible. But that “carefree playfulness” helps unshackle their creativity, while their dogged self-discipline and perseverance in their art drives them on when less driven individuals would quit.

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13. They don’t subscribe to strict gender role stereotyping of masculinity and femininity

For some strange reason, the most creative and talented male artists are usually more sensitive and less aggressive than their non-artistic male peers, while the most creative and talented female artists are often more dominant and tough than their non-artistic female peers.

14. They are smart and naïve at the same time

This tendency is heightened by their hunger for originality in picking and generating unusual associations of ideas, and brilliant fluency in executing those ideas and switching from one perspective to another. This dimension of their personality is what makes artistic people equally smart and naïve.

15. They battle Resistance every day

Artistic people wake up each morning fully aware that they need to push themselves to grow. But there is always the fear, anxiety, or (as Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art, calls it) Resistance that stands in the way, telling them that they can’t do it; that they don’t have what it takes. No matter how masterful an artist gets, that fear never goes away. But, truly artistic people learn to battle Resistance and subdue it day by day.

Featured photo credit: Man hand holding retro photo camera outdoor Lifestyle concept with autumn nature on background via shutterstock.com

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David K. William

David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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Last Updated on November 18, 2021

10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

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10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

We all fall into the trap of judging a person’s character by their appearance. How wrong we are! All too often, the real character of the person only appears when some negative event hits them or you. Then you may see a toxic person emerging from the ruins and it is often a shock.

A truly frightening example is revealed in the book by O’Toole in Bowman called Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Instincts Betray Us. A perfectly respectable, charming, well dressed neighbor was found to have installed a torture chamber in his garage where he was systematically abusing kidnapped women. This is an extreme example, but it does show how we can be totally deceived by a person’s physical appearance, manners and behavior.

So, what can you do? You want to be able to assess personal qualities when you come into contact with colleagues, fresh acquaintances and new friends who might even become lifelong partners. You want to know if they are:

  • honest
  • reliable
  • competent
  • kind and compassionate
  • capable of taking the blame
  • able to persevere
  • modest and humble
  • pacific and can control anger.

The secret is to reserve judgment and take your time. Observe them in certain situations; look at how they react. Listen to them talking, joking, laughing, explaining, complaining, blaming, praising, ranting, and preaching. Only then will you be able to judge their character. This is not foolproof, but if you follow the 10 ways below, you have a pretty good chance of not ending up in an abusive relationship.

1. Is anger a frequent occurrence?

All too often, angry reactions which may seem to be excessive are a sign that there are underlying issues. Do not think that every person who just snaps and throws his/her weight around mentally and physically is just reacting normally. Everyone has an occasional angry outburst when driving or when things go pear-shaped.

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But if this is almost a daily occurrence, then you need to discover why and maybe avoid that person. Too often, anger will escalate to violent and aggressive behavior. You do not want to be near someone who thinks violence can solve personal or global problems.

2. Can you witness acts of kindness?

How often do you see this person being kind and considerate? Do they give money to beggars, donate to charity, do voluntary work or in some simple way show that they are willing to share the planet with about 7 billion other people?

I was shocked when a guest of mine never showed any kindness to the weak and disadvantaged people in our town. She was ostensibly a religious person, but I began to doubt the sincerity of her beliefs.

“The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

Abigail Van Buren

3. How does this person take the blame?

Maybe you know that s/he is responsible for a screw-up in the office or even in not turning up on time for a date. Look at their reaction. If they start blaming other colleagues or the traffic, well, this is an indication that they are not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes.

4. Don’t use Facebook as an indicator.

You will be relieved to know that graphology (the study of that forgotten skill of handwriting) is no longer considered a reliable test of a person’s character. Neither is Facebook stalking, fortunately. A study showed that Facebook use of foul language, sexual innuendo and gossip were not reliable indicators of a candidate’s character or future performance in the workplace.

5. Read their emails.

Now a much better idea is to read the person’s emails. Studies show that the use of the following can indicate certain personality traits:

  • Too many exclamation points may reveal a sunny disposition
  • Frequent errors may indicate apathy
  • Use of smileys is the only way a person can smile at you
  • Use of the third person may reveal a certain formality
  • Too many question marks can show anger
  • Overuse of capital letters is regarded as shouting. They are a definite no-no in netiquette, yet a surprising number of  people still use them.

6. Watch out for the show offs.

Listen to people as they talk. How often do they mention their achievements, promotions, awards and successes? If this happens a lot, it is a sure indication that this person has an over-inflated view of his/her achievements. They are unlikely to be modest or show humility. What a pity!  Another person to avoid.

7. Look for evidence of perseverance.

A powerful indicator of grit and tenacity is when a person persists and never gives up when they really want to achieve a life goal. Look for evidence of them keeping going in spite of enormous difficulties.

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Great achievements by scientists and inventors all bear the hallmark of perseverance. We only have to think of Einstein, Edison (who failed thousands of times) and Nelson Mandela to get inspiration. The US Department of Education is in no doubt about how grit, tenacity and perseverance will be key success factors for youth in the 21st century.

8. Their empathy score is high.

Listen to how they talk about the less fortunate members of our society such as the poor, immigrants and the disabled. Do you notice that they talk in a compassionate way about these people? The fact that they even mention them is a strong indicator of empathy.

People with zero empathy will never talk about the disadvantaged. They will rarely ask you a question about a difficult time or relationship. They will usually steer the conversation back to themselves. These people have zero empathy and in extreme cases, they are psychopaths who never show any feelings towards their victims.

9. Learn how to be socially interactive.

We are social animals and this is what makes us so uniquely human. If a person is isolated or a loner, this may be a negative indicator of their character. You want to meet a person who knows about trust, honesty and loyalty. The only way to practice these great qualities is to actually interact socially. The great advantage is that you can share problems and celebrate success and joy together.

“One can acquire everything in solitude, except character.”

Stendhal

 10. Avoid toxic people.

These people are trying to control others and often are failing to come to terms with their own failures. Typical behavior and conversations may concern:

  • Envy or jealousy
  • Criticism of partners, colleagues and friends
  • Complaining about their own lack of success
  • Blaming others for their own bad luck or failure
  • Obsession with themselves and their problems

Listen to these people talk and you will quickly discover that you need to avoid them at all costs because their negativity will drag you down. In addition, as much as you would like to help them, you are not qualified to do so.

Now, having looked at some of the best ways to judge a person, what about yourself? How do others see you? Why not take Dr. Phil’s quiz and find out. Can you bear it?

Featured photo credit: Jacek Dylag via unsplash.com

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