by David B. Goldstein, co-author of “Creative You: Using Your Personality Type to Thrive“
You can’t outsource creativity. You are creative whether you think so or not. There is no opposite of “creative.” There is no single special type of creative person. There are many types of creative people and we all have our own creative styles.
First you need to learn your personality type. Then you need to put it to use.
Our strengths come from our individual differences. Just as it’s important to know whether or not you are right or left handed before you throw a ball, there are several other important things you need to know about yourself and other people in order to be maximally creative.
Here’s four key questions that are critical to determining what type of a person you are:
How do you recharge your energy?
This is an important key to knowing where you generate ideas. If you prefer time alone to reflect and contemplate new ideas, you are an Introvert. If you generate ideas by engaging with objects and people you are an Extravert.
How do you prefer to gather information?
Do you sense things or use your intuition more? If you prefer to use your five senses to gather details you prefer to use what’s immediately available to solve problems today. If you prefer gathering information by making abstract generalization, then you tend to solve anticipated problems, problems of the future.
Do you like to make decisions objectively or subjectively?
Do you think or feel your way through to decisions? Do you focus on expressing universal truths and applying them to the provide ? Or do you expressing your personal values of what’s true to you and apply them to solve problems by promoting harmony? Do you ask What? Or do you ask Who?
How do you see the world around you?
Are you a Judger or a Perceiver? Are the leaves of the trees beautiful? Or are the leaves of the tree green, orange, and red? If you are the type of person who prefers to make final decisions and reach closure then you can get unblocked by opening up to new ideas and experiences. On the other hand, if you are the type of person who prefers to keep things open, you get unblocked by limiting the flow of new information and making some “temporary” decisions.
When you put these four types of preferences together that we all have, the various combinations results in 16 different types of personalities:
1. Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I)
2. Sensing (S) or Intuition (N)
3. Thinking (T) or Feeling (F)
4. Judging (J) or Perceiving (P)
Understanding yourself is like finding the rock that balances your weight so you can stand on it and dance. This first step allows you to understand yourself and your strengths and your unique creative style.
Too much of your strengths can become a liability. For example, a maximized extravert may not listen and a maximized introvert may not share. Know your strengths and use them to achieve a balance. Here are some examples:
For the Organizer, creativity involves solving today’s problems using practical solutions from the memory of what has worked before. Often, creativity takes the courage to be ﬁrst. George Washington, as the military leader of the American Revolutionary War, was known for his bravery, unwavering character, and administration skills. As the ﬁrst president of the United States, Washington’s brilliance came through in his implementation of the ideals held by the founding fathers, setting precedents and creating a culture of service in government that still exists today.
If you are the Visionary, when you have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail; similarly, it’s much like something Thomas Jefferson said: “The moment a person forms a theory, his imagination sees in every object only the traits that favor that theory.” If you’re a Visionary experiencing stumbling blocks in your creative process, make sure that you’re considering all the tools and options available to you. Thomas Jefferson was one who, by using all the means of his creative personality, was able to apply his diverse knowledge and interests to invent everyday items, and to help lay the foundation for an innovative form of government.
The Inspirer’s strength and inspiration for creativity comes from their rich imagination of fantasy and theory through their dominant Intuition, while they persistently and outwardly express their own personal values using their second strength, Feeling. “There is an indeﬁnable, mysterious power that pervades everything. I feel it, though I do not see it,” described Mohandas Gandhi, who continued, “It transcends the senses.” Gandhi used nonviolent civil disobedience to lead the independence movement in India. In true INFJ form, Gandhi internalized his message by using his own body to endure hunger strikes and imprisonment—a bold, creative act of passionate deﬁance that sent ripples throughout the globe and history.
No matter what type of personality you are, you can gain more power and capability by learning how to recognize and find other types of people. This will help you to collaborate more effectively so they can cover your blind spots and supplement your team or your project by enlisting the aid of others who have skills and capabilities that you lack.
Being creative takes courage and we can gain our courage by knowing the strengths of our natural creative style. We do this by learning about our personality type and that of other people including those we work with and those we love. There are tremendous opportunities for us all to be creative and work together so we all can thrive.
Co-author of “Creative You: Using Your Personality Type to Thrive” David B. Goldstein is an internationally recognized artist and a researcher into the connections between creativity and psychological type. He is Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® certified and has done extensive research on the connections between creativity and psychological types.