10 Traits of Highly Creative Achievers People who think big and work hard to create something no one else has imagined are not worried they will be misunderstood as weird or crazy.

By Sherrie Campbell

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Creative people often get a bad rap for being who they naturally are because they are different than everyone else. They tend to struggle through times of being ridiculed and misunderstood until they make such a major difference in the world that others can only admire them and want to be a part of it. These traits are traits we can cultivate if we can open our minds to think more flexibility and with more plasticity.

1. Restless.

Highly creative achievers are naturally restless. They tend to be easily bored and may even be accused of being hyper. This restlessness comes from being extremely open and also from their intense interest in having new experiences. They do not function well in routine or mundane work environments because their minds naturally wanders. For this reason it is fundamental to their happiness and success to be consistently involved in challenges or with projects which excite and drive them.

Highly creative achievers approach every new experience with the mindset of being a "beginner," no matter how advanced they may be. They are jumpy, spontaneous, inquisitive, and ask a lot of questions, rarely claiming to already know everything. Having this mindset helps them see things from a fresh perspective. They often ask "why" and "what," leading them to solve problems with levels of creativity they may not otherwise have had access to without questioning.

2. Bold risk takers.

Highly creative achievers are bold risk takers. They are brave and willing to risk it all just to see what happens. They are full of curiosity and show an interest in the trial and error process of learning. They embrace mistakes and use their wisdom and bravery to effectively execute their more innovative ideas, whether they do it themselves or delegate to a team of others.

Highly creative achievers show lower levels of fear than most people, and when they are not getting the proper dosages of the adrenaline rush they crave their equilibrium is off and they can struggle emotionally until they get back to their "normal." Their normal is balanced living on the precipice of risk and failure. Creative achievers thrive here and trust that the tools they need to manage the difficulties they face in life exist within themselves.

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3. Out-of-the box thinkers.

Creative achievers are creators not observers. They do not enjoy living off of other peoples lives, ideas, reputations or successes. These are not your basic sideline achievers. Highly creative achievers will create until they are done, rarely taking any time off. They are known for exhausting themselves until they have released all their creative energy and put it fully into the project at hand. Highly creative achievers are known to use both sides of their brain to process information in an integrated fashion, which gives them an edge up on innovation. Most people are more comfortable focusing on facts and minutia where they seemingly have more control, whereas, the creative achiever thrives in the space of the unknown, too stressful for most. Creative achievers are artists and scientists in tandem.

4. Lead with their heart.

Highly creative achievers tend to be anti-establishment. They view bureaucracy as something which stunts their creativity and serves only to dictate and limit their behavior, their full expression and their potential to have a significant impact in the world. They are often considered non-starters because they will not go by a rule, as they prefer to lead from their heart and not their head. They are more interested in people than status, and choose to work in ways that serve the larger whole rather than only serving to empower of the establishment itself.

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5. Curious.

Creative achievers are compelled to act on what they are curious about. They prefer to seek out and learn new things, and they enjoy the thrill of processing the emotions of anxiety, fear and excitement with great regularity. With their natural openness to novel experiences, curiosity creates as sense of wonder and imagination which has been linked with the development of true happiness. Because they are endlessly curious and remain open to new experiences, it increases their probability of doing something innovative and it helps them to more naturally discover the deeper meaning and relevance of their lives.

6. Disregard rules.

Creative achievers live with the belief that if they follow the crowd they will get lost in it. Their actions will be criticized and more people will try to bring them down then build them up, but they will continue to be fearless in their pursuits. Highly creative achievers know that what they have to offer this world is not self-serving, but rather what they offer is in service of the higher good. For this reason they embrace the times in life which call for the rules to be broken. When they find themselves getting comfortable, they consciously disrupt routine and violate status quo. At some point in every creative achievers career they must break rules, as this is the only way for the next levels of their innovation to be born.

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7. Work independently.

Creative achievers are deeply connected with their authentic nature and ambitions, which inevitably leads to their independence, growth, happiness and wholeness. They do not avoid challenges or struggles, as they see struggle as the very thing required for their growth. They do not walk paths which lead to weakness, conformity or regret. Creative achievers work independently and quietly, allowing their success to do the talking. In the pursuit of their personal freedom, these people independently discover their destiny.

8. Fickle.

Because creative achievers are open to new experiences they tend to be divergent people. They are non-conformists, are impulsive, demonstrate low levels of agreeableness and can also be low in frustration tolerance. They are often misperceived as aloof or unreachable, but they simply tend to be fickle and extremely independent in their thinking and approach to life and business. Highly creative achievers are not fickle to be annoying. Their minds are constantly in overdrive, and for this reason they change their minds quite often while in deeply engaged in the creative process.

9. Eccentric.

Creative achievers are akin to mad scientists. In reality they are creative geniuses. They are unique, emotionally intense and passionate which allows them to fully immerse themselves, and even lose themselves for a time, in their work where they lose track of time and space. They make use of repetition knowing that the more times they experience a unique trigger in association a particular emotion the stronger that association becomes. Ultimately all aspects of creativity are disorganized and difficult for outsiders to comprehend. Creativity is associated with an openness to experience, inspiration, hyperactivity, impulsivity, rebelliousness, critical thinking, precision and conscientiousness all working together in tandem. It is this perfect storm of contradicting traits mixing at once which makes these achievers seem eccentric.

10. Dreamers.

Daydreaming allows highly creative achievers to escape what is current and allows them to imagine what is future-forward. The imagination center in the brain allows them to imagine their future self, but it also allows them to imagine what someone else is thinking or needing. This allows highly creative achievers to see their visions impacting and supporting the thoughts and needs of others. Because they are naturally endowed with insight, they can imagine themselves changing the world based on what they perceive the needs of the consumer to be. They focus less on bling and more on creating a life of significance. Highly creative achievers think big, work tirelessly and are willing to be seen as weird or crazy. It is these people who attract the strongest gathering of naysayers, and they are also some our world's greatest innovators.

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Sherrie Campbell

Psychologist, Author, Speaker

Sherrie Campbell is a psychologist in Yorba Linda, Calif., with two decades of clinical training and experience in providing counseling and psychotherapy services. She is the author of Loving Yourself: The Mastery of Being Your Own Person. Her new book, Success Equations: A Path to an Emotionally Wealthy Life, is available for pre-order.

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