Matthew Schuler | Why Creative People Sometimes Make No Sense
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Why Creative People Sometimes Make No Sense

Photo by Sophia.

I’ve been having an insightful shuffle through Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s book Creativity: The Work and Lives of 91 Eminent People. Mihaly is a seminal professor of Psychology and Management, and is the Founding Co-Director of the Quality of Life Research Center at Claremont. He writes:

“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.”

Nine out of the ten people in me strongly agree with that statement. As someone paid to be creative, I sometimes feel kaleidoscopic in my views or opinions, and that “multitude” of expressions sometimes confuses those around me. Why does that happen? My thoughts make cohesive sense to me, yet others sometimes feel that I am contradicting myself or switching positions. What is wrong with me?

Mihaly describes 9 contradictory traits that are frequently present in creative people:




Most creative people have a great deal of physical energy, but are often quiet and at rest. They can work long hours at great concentration.




Most creative people tend to be smart and naive at the same time. “It involves fluency, or the ability to generate a great quantity of ideas; flexibility, or the ability to switch from one perspective to another; and originality in picking unusual associations of ideas. These are the dimensions of thinking that most creativity tests measure, and that most creativity workshops try to enhance.”




Most creative people combine both playfulness and productivity, which can sometimes mean both responsibility and irresponsibility. “Despite the carefree air that many creative people affect, most of them work late into the night and persist when less driven individuals would not.” Usually this perseverance occurs at the expense of other responsibilities, or other people.




Most creative people alternate fluently between imagination and fantasy, and a rooted sense of reality. In both art and science, movement forward involves a leap of imagination, a leap into a world that is different from our present. Interestingly, this visionary imagination works in conjunction with a hyperawareness of reality. Attention to real details allows a creative person to imagine ways to improve them.




Most creative people tend to be both introverted and extroverted. Many people tend toward one extreme or the other, but highly creative people are a balance of both simultaneously.




Most creative people are genuinely humble and display a strong sense of pride at the same time.




Most creative people are both rebellious and conservative. “It is impossible to be creative without having first internalized an area of culture. So it’s difficult to see how a person can be creative without being both traditional and conservative and at the same time rebellious and iconoclastic.”




Most creative people are very passionate about their work, but remain extremely objective about it as well. They are able to admit when something they have made is not very good.




Most creative people’s openness and sensitivity exposes them to a large amount of suffering and pain, but joy and life in the midst of that suffering. “Perhaps the most important quality, the one that is most consistently present in all creative individuals, is the ability to enjoy the process of creation for its own sake. Without this trait, poets would give up striving for perfection and would write commercial jingles, economists would work for banks where they would earn at least twice as much as they do at universities, and physicists would stop doing basic research and join industrial laboratories where the conditions are better and the expectations more predictable.”


Sometimes what appears to be a contradiction on the surface is actually a harmony in disguise. My problem has been primarily one of communication. I am learning to let people know what I am thinking and why, and explaining myself in a way that helps them understand why I am discussing multiple perspectives instead of just cleanly stating my own. At first it might not make sense, but give me/us long enough, and it will.

Photo by Sophia.



  • Michael W. Moore

    November 4, 2013 at 8:47 am Reply

    This is great, as a creative, I was both really inspired and humbled by this blog post. Not only did it give me a sense of freedom in who I am as a creative, but also showed me areas I could improve in my life and art. I really appreciate that!
    I’m gonna go find me some of that Mihaly Csikszentmihaly reading material. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Liz

      November 9, 2013 at 5:47 am Reply

      Great post – valid points. I see myself in much of that list!


      November 13, 2013 at 9:01 pm Reply

      whats a creative? Such corporate talk.

      • Ross

        November 29, 2013 at 1:44 am Reply

        Creative (Noun)
        1. Someone who generates new ideas and sales materials for marketing a product
        2. Materials produced for marketing or advertising

        Dictionaries are our friends.

        • b

          November 30, 2013 at 8:37 am Reply

          it was a rhetorical question. he’s commenting on how the word is a buzzword

          • Emma

            December 3, 2013 at 5:43 pm

            That’s generous of you. Sure sounded like a troll to me.

      • krismyth

        December 5, 2013 at 9:05 am Reply

        hahahahahaha. A creative is a cog in the gears

        • cch

          December 29, 2013 at 10:10 am Reply

          cogs are the teeth of a gear… try:

          a wrench in the cogs
          a wrench in the gears

          • Steven

            December 29, 2013 at 12:38 pm

            …but a creative could be a cog in the gears. A gear may be the functioning unit with the creative as one of the necessary components to allow that gear to function. A creative should never be termed as a wrench in gears. A creative does not hamper progress, he is there is help it grow be it through a varying perspective or idea. The wrench is the person who resists a broader scope and, therefore, is the antagonist to the creative. Just my perspective, but I understand where you are coming from too as a set of gears is very monotonous in its repetitive revolutions, where a creative would come along and challenge the gears to stop their mundane spinning and try something new. Oh my, I will sign off before I transcend any further into the the creative’s cliche. Haha.

    • erin

      December 6, 2013 at 11:09 am Reply

      i absolutely agree. freedom.

    • red

      December 26, 2013 at 4:21 pm Reply

      Most creatives are resented by others, especially when they self-lionize, exalt and excuse. Barry and Amy consider themselves creatives in the destructive sense– they’re alt dark opposite “creators” who call themselves gods and luciferian agents and self-applaud when they degrade and ruin innocence, babies, and the human genome.

      I have learned from them and there is a plan in place to creatively destroy the dark ones. Interestingly, implementers of creative destructive plans don’t have to be lateral thinking or much of anything other than sufficiently intelligent, resourceful on the spot, and ruthless in the end.

    • J. Lennon

      January 2, 2014 at 9:26 am Reply

      Then you’re an idiot.

      This blog post states that artists are;
      Hyper, but lethargic
      Smart, but naïve
      Playful, but productive
      Imaginative, but logical
      Introverted, but extroverted
      Humble, but proud
      Rebellious, but conservative
      Passionate, but objective, and
      Euphoric, but depressed.

      The only creativity people possess who identify with these labels is thought twisting mind games when they can somehow relate their creative process into contradictory binaries simultaneously, which is impossible. And the blogger didn’t even try and mask how general all this is if it’s an either/or. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was all some social experiment to make the self-indulgingly creatively inclined feel like dicks. And you should.

      Maybe you’re not an artist. Maybe you’re just a liar. Watch how you reply, because it might be telling.

      • ohdear

        January 4, 2014 at 7:46 am Reply

        and you must be a manager

      • Agree

        January 8, 2014 at 6:37 am Reply

        Thanks for this post. I was thinking the same thing as I went through the list.

      • Marla A.

        January 16, 2014 at 8:58 pm Reply

        So sad that you anted to start off your New Year on such a negative note….and too bad you obviously live in a “this OR that” world….when most of we creatives live in a “this AND that” one. Black and white thinking is not only dangerous and immature, it doesn’t leave ANY room for original thinking–which is what we do and how we are! Most creatives (the ones I’m friends with from ALL genres—love to provide whats missing–therefor see the 360 in most situation—we like to provide harmony–thru music, color,writing,design, etc. etc—–AND it’s both a Blessing and a responsibility to use it wisely. Your cynical remarks are utterly revealing about YOUR mindset–the post was/is MAGNIFICANT—-but I guess one has to be OPEN to receive the TRUTH ,,,,and not everyone is.

      • Lily

        January 26, 2014 at 5:53 am Reply

        As weird as it sounds, as a writer, I find most of these things true. It’s not how I try to be, it’s just who I am.
        I am full of energy, often bouncing off the walls and going crazy. However, when I sit down and write, I can focus for hours. I put on my headphones, open my word document, and write.
        I consider myself book smart. I have a lot to learn about the real world but I am often told I am intelligent. I do trust people more than I should. If someone tells me something, I believe them because why would they lie? I don’t see how this effects my creative process but it is who I am.
        As for playful yet productive, that is who I am. When I write, I am constantly playing. When I was younger, I had imaginary friends, all with backstories and their own lives. Now, I have characters, all with backstories and their own lives. I’m playing just as I did when I was little but instead of acting out the stories, I am writing them down. Though I won’t work late like the article suggests, I will start early. It isn’t uncommon to wake up at 5 AM because that is my most productive time.
        It talks about being imaginative but logical. I see these things going together. Sure, I come up with a lot of ideas, but many of them are thrown out because they logically would not work. I struggle to see how these things would not go hand in hand.
        I work alone. Too much time with people drives me crazy. However, so does not enough. In fact, I get most of my ideas from being around people. I learn how people act so that I am able to make believable characters around people.
        I will be the first to tell you my work sucks. I am my biggest critic. I will always be honest and tell you that my project needs some work… A lot of work. However, I am still very proud of it. For everything that I don’t like, there is something that I love. There is a character that I know I did well with. There is a chapter that I absolutely love. I still need to be my biggest critic to make my work perfect.
        Now, being rebellious but conservative… Maybe this is the one that I am least like. I tend to follow written rules. Social rules, not so much. My characters can and will go either way. Some are rebellious, some are not. Really, I personally don’t see myself on either side of this one. I like the idea of being rebellious but I’m just not rebellious.
        I already explained how I’m my biggest critic however, I love my work.
        As for the last one, I would not say I’m depressed but I would say writing takes me on an emotional roller coaster. I love every minute of it. I am happy and laugh a lot. I also cry a lot. I feel like I experience emotions in a different way than most people because of my writing.

        Maybe not everyone is like this and I totally understand that. I do have many sides to me and am completely unpredictable. Maybe that’s not normal. Maybe you shouldn’t judge so much. Different people have a different creative process.

      • Curious Cat

        June 21, 2014 at 1:36 pm Reply

        The contradictions cover such a vast ground of qualities in existence that basically illustrate creatives as omnipresent…ahahaha [evil laugh]. Creatives are a compilation of EVERYTHING. Yes, creatives can also be idiots and liars at times…what human isn’t? But they can also be mind-blowing-ly (if you will) genius, at their best. Forget living in moderation.

        And please share. I’m curious how my reply is telling of me from a seemingly hater’s perspective. Challenges are the best way to grow…and what you say just might be right!

  • Matthew

    November 4, 2013 at 9:09 am Reply

    Yeah, I felt the same way, it was nice to find out that who am is actually very normal, for a creative. The awareness of those contradictions really helped me understand how I can bring less confusion to other people. Glad you liked it!

    • Eric

      November 8, 2013 at 8:46 am Reply


  • angie stimson

    November 5, 2013 at 8:20 am Reply

    this really resonated with me. While deep into my last project a well meaning friend sent me some meditation dvds to help “balance me ” while I was working. I had to tell her, I can’t be balanced while working , I have to be manic, insane, consumed by the piece to the exclusion of all else. I’ll leave the dvd’s tip after the exhibition when I can then return into the real world.

    • Suheena

      November 11, 2013 at 6:52 am Reply

      Oh My. this is so true. When you are working creatively on something / a large piece of work, it becomes a mania that consumes you to the expense of all else. Nothing matters. The rest of the world can float away on a cloud. The only thing you can see in front of you is your work.

  • Damien Christian

    November 6, 2013 at 8:19 am Reply

    Mostly spot on for me! Thanks for breaking that down for those who don’t always understand us!

  • Gwen Uszuko

    November 6, 2013 at 9:59 am Reply

    Such an incredible post, and a ridiculously well-timed read for me. I want to wrap this up as a Christmas gift to every person in my life who doesn’t understand my particular brand of crazy. It was a gift for me, too! Thank you, Matthew.

  • Kristin

    November 6, 2013 at 10:26 am Reply

    I wanted to reach out and tell you how popular this article has been with my creative friends on Facebook. I read the article and had to share – it is spot on and really resonates with artists of all mediums. There has been excellent feedback and sharing from my network of friends in the entertainment industry in Hollywood – from writers to producers, graffiti artists to photographers, wardrobe stylists to dancers – we can all relate! It is helping us to understand ourselves better and also to explain our artistic process to our friends, families, and coworkers. Thanks for this excellent insight into an artist’s mind!

  • Donna Pugh

    November 6, 2013 at 7:29 pm Reply

    “Made Perfect Sense to me…as a CREATVE PERSON, I consider myself as being a Genius, that did not quit come into full blossoming until I turned 63. Always been Creative in some way or nother. I keep Re-inventing myself ALL of the time. Life is a DREAM…it’s how you want to play inside the RAINBOW..~Dona~another BEING on this COSMIC PATH.

    • jane

      November 15, 2013 at 6:02 am Reply

      Donna, loved hearing from another creative ‘older’ person. I am 61 and have spent most of my life raising kids and living for others at the expense of my sanity! Now I can let go and be that eccentric old lady, wearing whatever I grab first from the floor of my closet, and heading out to my yard sales and flea markets in search of the next treasure or inspiration for my recycle-art. This blog makes total sense to me.

      • urbanartifaks

        December 4, 2013 at 5:21 pm Reply

        This explains a lot! i always felt so pretentious when trying to explain myself…yes, i am an artist, but i never identified with the stereotyped artist. its only since i have hit that 60 mark that i am beginning to come to terms with my own ‘eccentricities’.
        @jane & donna- i can so relate to you both! where ARE you???

    • Susan Stephens

      December 26, 2013 at 5:04 pm Reply

      OMG YES!! ME TOO! formerly artist, entrepreneur for 1/2 my life and always ‘out of place’ – now retired restless and bored at 64 – have found new passion in writing and have 5 children’s books coming out, plus 2 non-fiction! Don’t give up the dream 5mins before it manifests!! this article was vindication, there IS reason to my madness LOL thank you Matthew and Mihaly!

  • Russell H. Ragsdale

    November 7, 2013 at 7:50 am Reply

    Interestingly enough, my first book of poetry was precisely about this multiplicity and was called Book of Aliases. I found this article about Mihaly Csikszentmihaly research very reassuring. Until I wrote Book of Aliases I was really puzzled about all the contradiction in me and it helped me as a kind of therapy to get lots of parts of me on paper despite the contradictions. Thanks Mathew for sharing this work with us. It certainly helps make sense of things that can seem wrong with creative types. Can I use this in court for a sanity plea?

  • Lisa

    November 7, 2013 at 1:19 pm Reply

    Wow, thank you for explaining me to a tea! And I thought I was just plain CRAZY, now it all makes sense!

  • Picasso

    November 7, 2013 at 1:43 pm Reply

    Thank God an article came around that said so much and nothing at the same time. It really resonates with me, a super creative genius who has nothing interesting to say in the comments except how this vague list of half-traits so accurately reflects super-original me. As much as this morning’s horoscope. As I sit a computer surfing Facebook.

    Obviously every commenter so far lacks the self-awareness described in the article.
    – Non-Creative Luddite

    • Eli

      November 9, 2013 at 10:59 am Reply

      Thank you. I was intrigued by this article, and then as I read the comments, I became very annoyed. Humility anyone?

    • Leonardo

      November 11, 2013 at 4:25 am Reply

      Did no one actually see this…?

    • Renee

      November 12, 2013 at 8:17 am Reply

      Amen. Can’t believe how many people here are channeling Kanye and referring to themselves as geniuses. But as contradictory trait #06 claims, I’m sure they’re all “genuinely humble”…

      • Lisa

        November 18, 2013 at 8:19 pm Reply

        “channeling Kanye” LOL

    • Raphael

      November 12, 2013 at 11:29 am Reply

      Creative people often assume that their minds are utterly incomprehensible to “them,” a terrible, amphibious, amorphous entity of simplistic individuals. The existence of “them” as never been scientifically confirmed, though reported sitings abound.
      And by creative people, I mean humans.

      • Laramie

        November 14, 2013 at 12:32 am Reply

        Could you translate your gibberish critique into something that makes semantic and logical sense? That would be great. Thanks.

        Something less amphibious. At a drier site, as it were. Go grab a dictionary and look up some of these words, please. Oh, “creative people” is a rather amorphous entity, I find it itterly uncomprehenisble. They are no terrible amphibian Lovecraftian Cathyloos. Just people who create thangs. A little like you, a little like me. A lot like them. Your generalizations contain multitudes. And by generalizations, I mean aliens.

        • Iisdbomb

          November 30, 2013 at 7:26 am Reply

          What she said

        • red

          December 26, 2013 at 4:02 pm Reply

          Seemingly less but still amphibious and smushy in the hard streets of Houston per your Lovecraft alluding comment : You, Laramie Eliot Leavitt, are a toadie. No frog you living inToad Hell, I mean, Hall.

          Itterly– a portmanteau of an utterly bi- or tri-?

    • Rogue

      November 12, 2013 at 7:33 pm Reply

      hahaha most accurate comment thus far

  • Nancy

    November 7, 2013 at 3:58 pm Reply

    Thank you. I have seen this popping up more and more recently and I really appreciate it. It would have been nice to have had this information growing up.

  • Dick

    November 7, 2013 at 5:37 pm Reply

    Amen to all the comments and the article. Now maybe I can understand why I get strange responses to some thoughts etc that I express.

  • Meredith

    November 7, 2013 at 6:07 pm Reply

    Thank you for very succinctly breaking down these complexities of contradictions. I’ve never really viewed myself as a creative person, but one that was scattered – maybe unfocused. This piece is actually making me rethink that view a bit, and appreciating the dynamic way my mind operates instead of viewing it as a problem…

    • C

      November 10, 2013 at 3:40 pm Reply

      Do you create anything Meredith? One might assume that scattered, unfocused people simply radiate banality back against the universe while creative people bring into being something which did not exist before. I’m certain that you are creative, so no offense is meant. Rather, I’m interested in what it is you produce through the creative process you now see as dynamic.

      That’s why I ask, no other intent is meant. The clarification is because I’m tripping my balls off and don’t want to come across as a jerk.

      • Prof Thomas

        November 14, 2013 at 1:08 am Reply

        I create LIFE (!!!) from blobs of peanut butter, using galvanism, certain invocations, and a generous amount of friction. The process is dynamic, though the product itself tends to fall apart and create what I like to call a “work-in-progmess” on the table of my office-kitchen. Do you mind if I join the club? Because, frankly, my endeavors are starting to seem more and more like simply radiating banality back against the universe the closer to actualization I get.

  • Stephanie Karfelt

    November 7, 2013 at 8:13 pm Reply

    Wow. I’ve never seen myself in a composite before. I actually printed this out to use as possible defense against all those logical people in my life. Thank you!

  • Devin T. Didier

    November 7, 2013 at 8:23 pm Reply

    I have never read anything more clear in describing what happens internally with me. I believe that I am a very creative person, not everything I create is beautiful or the best, but it is my creation. I have struggled to help others understand what happens inside of me. Thank you for penning this so well.

  • Peter

    November 7, 2013 at 8:39 pm Reply

    I have always thought of myself as being normal. Now I can see why my friends don’t.

  • Cortney

    November 7, 2013 at 10:30 pm Reply

    Great post. Thanks for bringing this research to a wider audience. It makes me sad to think how many creative children (and adults) learn to quash these instincts/skills in order to fit in, or at least not to be teased.

  • JP Miklovic

    November 8, 2013 at 3:59 am Reply

    Wow!!! This post makes me so happy, I could cry! At 58, I am still trying to figure out this inability to be able to explain some of my thoughts, ideas, projects, opinions and general babble to those around me, who tick me off, but yet I feel sorry for, as they lack understanding. If you combine this with my tendency to chase every new idea that pops (ADHD?), it just makes me want to take a nap, after I clean the garage!

  • Joe

    November 8, 2013 at 4:30 am Reply

    Spot on. I am a very creative person (or at least it appears that way) suffering from a multitude of hobbies. Everything you said rings true about me and grants me greater perspective on myself. Thank you.

  • Elisabeth on Earth

    November 8, 2013 at 4:57 am Reply

    So enlightening, and so familiar.

  • Jean

    November 8, 2013 at 5:59 am Reply

    100% ! I have never heard myself described with such accuracy. Thank you for understanding the complexity of the creative being.

    • Scarlyle

      November 10, 2013 at 6:47 am Reply

      well said Matthew, and Jean exactly expresses my reaction.

      • Creatogram

        November 15, 2013 at 9:16 am Reply

        I second that. Perfect description.

  • Rudi

    November 8, 2013 at 6:26 am Reply

    This is great! I completely relate to all of this- it’s nice to know that I’m not just crazy and high-maintenance!

  • Nicole

    November 8, 2013 at 7:04 am Reply

    I really like #5. Always been confused about that trait in me…

  • […] – while you are still in the blog reading  mood, click here to read up on Why Creative People Sometimes Make No Sense – may also shed some light on why […]

  • Timothy Carson

    November 8, 2013 at 7:38 am Reply

    Spot on! And i think the brain research supports this idea of toggling back and forth across hemispheres, interrelating the many to one another…

  • Megan

    November 8, 2013 at 8:06 am Reply

    Amazing. I just read an exact description of myself! Thanks for putting it in words, there are things here that are so true, but I never realized in this way! Spot on.

  • Karolina

    November 8, 2013 at 8:53 am Reply

    Where is the photo credit from?

  • Penny Otwell

    November 8, 2013 at 9:44 am Reply

    thank you !! I am a fine art painter and each of these statements resonated with my life. I paint in a “zone” that allows total absorption and also love people and party gatherings. But I honor my painting time especially. I recently read a book called, “The Highly Sensitive Person,” by Elaine N. Aron and realized my life was not so crazy. I now understand better who I am, and feel good about my contradictions and different styles. I paint mountains with great passion and love my life!

  • simon o'corra

    November 8, 2013 at 9:52 am Reply

    Truly inspiring and good to get of the contradiction argument and focus on harmony
    Many thanks


  • Madeleine

    November 8, 2013 at 10:01 am Reply

    This is so very true….I always did wonder why my traits contradicted themselves, seemingly. I don’t think I’m necessarily creative though, I just think a long and hard is all. Thank you for making me realize something I didn’t know about myself but always felt. Hm. A feeling into words for the first time is always inspiring and thought provoking. Love it.

  • […] multitude  This article, which cites creativity research, has been making the rounds on the interwebs, and I’ve found […]

  • Max

    November 8, 2013 at 11:49 am Reply

    By who’s definition is one creative? I would argue that creativity is not just a thought. It is an action. Thinking up ideas is just fantasy. Thinking up an idea and then implementing it is creation.

    • Jess

      November 10, 2013 at 11:37 am Reply

      Agreed completely and this article speaks to fantasy and looking for self-purpose

  • Jimmy Jamma

    November 8, 2013 at 3:43 pm Reply


  • autumn

    November 8, 2013 at 3:55 pm Reply

    THANK YOU. for posting this.

  • winter

    November 8, 2013 at 6:30 pm Reply

    I concur. Thank you, Matthew.

  • Brian

    November 8, 2013 at 6:54 pm Reply

    Amazing article. Thank you so much for posting this. It was perfectly stated, I’m amazed at how on point it is. I am very much all of these things, but the one which has plagued me most is being both smart and naive. Often too smart, and/or too naive to put it more accurately. Duality is my biggest struggle in my self, however balance is something I understand and appreciate more than almost anything. This article really helps describe and explain so much into what is really going on, at least in the heart and mind of this mad scientist. Thank you. :)

  • mike

    November 8, 2013 at 8:52 pm Reply

    I’m cleaning, cleaning my brain.

  • harvey lacey

    November 8, 2013 at 8:59 pm Reply

    I’m a creative and most of the above I can relate to. But there’s something else, I’m in the autistic spectrum, fringe thinker, mind works differently than most folks, didn’t realize it until I was exposed to Temple Grandin.

    I thought everyone thought like I did. It wasn’t until I saw the part about her thinking in pictures that I realized I had an advantage over most thinkers.

    It made being a square peg in a world of round holes acceptable. I’ll trade being socially inept for experiencing the thrill of living a life of appreciating the lines in our world coloring book is where we start, not where we stop.

  • Diane

    November 8, 2013 at 10:29 pm Reply

    I took Catechism from a Jesuit at an early age. I always blamed that for my love of switching sides in discussion/argument.

  • morris

    November 8, 2013 at 10:33 pm Reply

    i will forever remain in comfort after reading this, that we creatives are understood by our certain selves. ….. the curiosity and uncertainty of how perfect or improved i have become drives me into pure madness to create, no category, just create and often times “ Usually this perseverance occurs at the expense of other responsibilities, or other people “ – like Matthew wrote. but what other better way to be sure you indeed made a creation a valuable one, other than making it for others, your life almost seems like a sacrifice to existence itself but inside you, you know you are living even more…. you are a creative :)

  • Me

    November 9, 2013 at 12:54 am Reply

    thanks for this… #notforeveralone

  • regine

    November 9, 2013 at 12:58 am Reply

    it’s the answer to my hurts

  • Araam

    November 9, 2013 at 1:34 am Reply

    Thank you

  • Voltaire

    November 9, 2013 at 2:19 am Reply

    Don’t horoscopes usually use the twelve signs of the Zodiac?

  • Heather

    November 9, 2013 at 2:31 am Reply

    It’s amazing how less alone I feel now. Thank you!

  • John Z

    November 9, 2013 at 5:58 am Reply

    Thank you for spelling this out, Matthew. The last sentence is something I deal with all the time. In trying to have conversations with people, asking and answering questions in both directions, most people want to know “what” the answer is. It confuses and frustrates them that I’m less interested in “what” the answer is and more focused on “why” the answer is what it is. Show me the logic, the train of thought, the progression of how the answer was reached and I’m more likely to accept it as being the answer even if I don’t agree with it.

    • Kathleen Krueger

      November 9, 2013 at 11:39 am Reply

      Yes!! It’s our inductive rather than deductive reasoning, John. We don’t decide on an answer and then justify it; we truly want to explore the question, and in following the logical path created by the question, discover the answer, or answers, that are there. This way, we learn the why behind the what.

      • Brian Foley

        November 10, 2013 at 10:46 am Reply

        I’d say it’s even more about eduction than in- or deduction. Maybe?

  • Exploding Mary

    November 9, 2013 at 6:01 am Reply

    Very well said. Thank you.

  • Sarah Bracey White

    November 9, 2013 at 6:10 am Reply

    Thank you for this post! I’ve always been unable to take a side and stay there . . . No one believes I’m introverted, but I am . . . I lose track of time when I’m writing or gardening. Thank you for describing me to myself. I’m going to print this post and hang it where I can see it often and remind myself that I am not crazy — just creative.

  • Cindy

    November 9, 2013 at 6:34 am Reply

    Creative people are bitter sweet? I love it and thanks for the great decription of a category hard to describe.

  • Vivienne

    November 9, 2013 at 8:07 am Reply

    People never understand when I tell them my head is exploding with ideas all the time on several levels. Everybody knows I’m crazy and I embrace my ideas. hate anybody in my way trying to take me down from my dream that I am in the middle of taking to fruition. Been misunderstood all my life and I kinda didn’t understand myself either half the time. From reading this, I realize I am not alone. I finally get it!

  • Selah

    November 9, 2013 at 9:14 am Reply

    This article is an EXTRAORDINARY and POWERFUL article, Matthew!!! For years I have tried to put into words…. what you have so eloquently explained. However my left brain just would not accept or allow me to write such contradictions!!! Thus I slumped into guilt and silence…feeling no one would understand…not even myself! Thank You Thank You Thank You!!! I’m spreading the word… We’re OK fellow creatives!!! Watch out world… here we come! ~ Selah

  • Patti

    November 9, 2013 at 10:06 am Reply

    Wow, I feel like you understand me perfectly. And now I see why I have such trouble communicating with some people. I always thought it was odd when I took a test for right or left brain that I always ended up in the middle as I think I am very creative. I also thought it was normal for everyone to have lots of ideas flying around in your head. I am so happy I am creative and happier that you have helped me understand myself so much better.

    Thank you!

  • Eli

    November 9, 2013 at 10:22 am Reply

    Picasso, thank you such I was thinking the exact same thing. Most of these posts lack any humility at all.

  • cabbotcove

    November 9, 2013 at 11:09 am Reply

    Oh dear, gosh, look at me, I’m so adorably socially inadequate, I must be a creative person. This article is as offensive as it is vague, riddled with that godawful need to be so desperately interesting in the humble shouldering of this or that imagined, half-spoken flaw. It’s no better than the selection of every X-factor competitor on the histrionic merits of their tragic backstory. Maybe it would have been more apt to draw the line in the sand between successful creatives who communicate creatively, and the glad-handing jagoffs whose investment in the quiet contemplation of their navels was distracted here, only briefly, to accept the reassurance that they so sorely need. Oh gosh, I’m like uhh sooooooo crazy. Jeeez. You want to talk crazy, fringe-thinking, progressive? Try Daniel Johnston trying to crash his father’s plane into the ground with the two of them in it, being committed and recording an album in an asylum. Trivialising stereotypes is offensive any way you swing it. Doing so at the expense of those with genuine life-altering conditions in a bid to sound interesting to strangers? Shamefully so.

    • casgarble

      November 18, 2013 at 2:09 pm Reply

      This is a strangely cynical response to, what seemed to me, a fairly clear representation of one’s research on “creative” people. This wasn’t posted as an opinion, or something with a thinly veiled agenda intended to antagonize people with life-altering conditions, so it might be more productive not to take it as “offensive” or “vague.” If it does not speak to you personally, no problem. It speaks to many others in a very positive, personal, and clearly explicit way, that it seems to be somewhat revelatory to many of them, given the general sentiment of many posts I have seen in the comments here. No ill will intended here… just a thought.

  • Elliott Marti

    November 9, 2013 at 12:18 pm Reply

    This is not this guys writings! This guy extremely simplified and skewed what was actually written in Mihaly’s book: 10 antithetical traits often present in creative people THAT GIVE THEM SUPERIOR CREATIVE POTENTIAL were written. THIS DOES NOT MEAN THEY MAKE NO SENSE. This guy actually left out the most interesting trait for personal reasons I’m assuming and dumbed down the whole thing. It’s nice that he’s spreading information, but it’s a shame you people are patronizing him for repeating and skewing a person’s hard work. If you want to really understand the subject READ THE ACTUAL WRITING OF THE GUY WHO DID 30 YEARS OF RESEARCH ON IT. This is not an accurate portrayal of the original article: don’t treat it as one. This guy simplified paragraphs of discussion into a few vague sentences. WHY WOULD YOU NOT JUST POST WORD FOR WORD WHAT WAS WRITTEN SO PEOPLE ARE ACCURATELY INFORMED??

  • Marty

    November 9, 2013 at 12:32 pm Reply

    I’m creative!, not crazy, not deaf, I can hear you, I’m just not interested, just came in from my studio, after five hours of classical music, and stop telling me to turn it off, stop saying ” I don’t understand what you’re talking about”! it’s because. iM CREATIVE. Yeah, maybe I don’t need all that Xanax after all. Thank youy

  • cabbotcove

    November 9, 2013 at 12:45 pm Reply

    Elliot: Good sir, It seems I must concede that your horse is indeed taller, but that is not to say so much. Spitting from atop a pony would be patronage from high horses to plagiarism (no less the worst form; that which demeans from which it steals.), if the author does indeed partake of such a borrowed broth.

  • Duncan Long

    November 9, 2013 at 1:09 pm Reply

    Good points — well stated and sometimes uncomfortably close to home. Thanks for posting these.

  • Zak

    November 9, 2013 at 1:23 pm Reply

    This issue is very ( extremely ) subjective !

    • Mvrlpw

      December 29, 2013 at 10:13 am Reply

      Yes, exactly, almost.

  • Kitt

    November 9, 2013 at 2:36 pm Reply

    I’m sorry but I did not like this. It describes creative people in both extremes on every subject which is not much of a revelation, rather it describes them with a horoscope-style vagueness which caters to self-adulation. I’d rather that creatives people humbly stated that they aren’t always comfortable trying different things, and they aren’t comfortable with rejection they receive for their ideas whether it be healthy criticism or not. And I;d rather they told them to not give up the fight and stay to the course that God has set before them.

    • noway

      January 16, 2014 at 6:28 am Reply

      so self-adulation is bad, but adulation of a fictional being and trying to force that ridiculous belief (I’m talking about “god” here) on other people is fine?

  • Marta

    November 9, 2013 at 3:13 pm Reply

    This post basically lifted pieces and parts from a 1996 article titled: The Creative Personality in Psychology Today written by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. It is important to note Csikszentmihalyi studied ’emiment’ creatives who changed their domain with their creative products/artifacts/ideas. This is a far cry from personal or everyday creativity which relates to the ‘rest of the people on earth.’ It is subjective. It you are interested in creativity – go to the source.

    • Bob S

      November 13, 2013 at 11:06 am Reply

      Hi Morta :-) I agree with you completely, and to add to it, I think only two things separate those eminent, ‘successful’ creatives from other, hyper creatives (which is essentially what the article is talking about). Opportunity and Circumstance.

      If our culture was not so money-value driven, then we would see so much more creativity blooming! As it is, creatives only reach full flower when their skills line up with the market’s idea of value, combined with many opportunities along the way that are driven by sheer chance and circumstance (who your parents were, where you were raised, the many decisions you made in youth, etc). This is because we are all forced to sublimate our creativity to the needs of the society, which is currently driven by money, property and earning potential. If we are not earning dollars, our creativity almost doesn’t matter to that society. Van Gogh would have been considered a failed artist by today’s standards.. I mean, we could talk about a lot of the great masters in that context. Why were so many penniless during their lives? Why do we value creativity so little? It is because the system of earning is designed the way it is.

      So, if allowed, many hyper creatives would flower out and produce beautiful things.. scientific discoveries, artworks, novels, and everything else you can imagine. But that can’t happen since they are chained to the system of production we currently have.

      There are a lot more than ‘a few’ hyper creatives out there. Malcolm Gladwell posits that something like 1% or more of our population is composed of these types of people. He says that something like 15% of our population drives the other 85%, and within that 15% (the ‘creative class’) are sort of three types (Im not quoting here): Regular folks who are somewhat creative, True creatives, and hyper creatives. In my experience, he is pretty close to the mark.

      I’ll be the first to say I don’t really know anything :-) But I think this has the kernel of truth to it, and I hope that more hyper creatives can come together and make some real magic happen.

  • Mitch Mitchell

    November 9, 2013 at 3:37 pm Reply

    Wow, do I see myself in this. I’ve had times where I’ve sat at my computer upwards of 10 hours straight either writing or coming up with something new, and since I’m self employed, it’s pretty quiet, to the point where often I can’t even turn on background music. Of course, at this stage I don’t feel that I always have the energy I initially had; that’s kind of a bummer…

  • Jeannie Hatrch

    November 9, 2013 at 4:11 pm Reply

    Matthew, thank you for truly understanding me. What an amazing read.

  • chartier

    November 9, 2013 at 4:48 pm Reply

    After 23 years, does this mean I can finally come off of my meds?

    Regardless, it really is a great article.


  • […] – Read more of Matthew Schuler’s blog post titled: “Why Creative People Sometimes Make No Sense“. […]

  • Beth

    November 9, 2013 at 5:02 pm Reply

    Max, thinking is an action. A unique thought, or revelation to one’s self, is implementation. Sometimes others can see it, too. Whether they agree or not is entirely a different matter.

  • That’s Crea-zy | Writin' Fish

    November 9, 2013 at 5:18 pm Reply

    […] few days ago, I came across this blog post by Matthew Schuler, which quotes a passage from Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s Creativity: The […]

  • Andi

    November 9, 2013 at 5:46 pm Reply

    I find this article to be very vague. Also, it doesn’t define what makes a creative person. And most of the self-centered people I know who consider themselves “creatives” will be using this article to justify their selfishness and eccentricities. “I’m special! I’m too much of a creative artist to do dishes!”

  • miss_tee

    November 9, 2013 at 7:04 pm Reply

    Yeah, either really into something or not at all. I always play stuff out in my head. If I’m not feeling it, trash it. Do I feel creative? Sometimes. I just have tunes in my head that need played to get it out . The joy of a self masterpiece is like finding water in the desert. Once you taste that water, you want more. Does it need to make since to you, heck no. It does by far make since to me. Do I need a article to tell me I’m creative, heck no. The beautiful tunes I put from a lead pencil to lined paper. Is sweet joy to my ears. Beauty to my eyes. Feeds my soul to be complete. Were all creative. It just depends on how motivated you are to get off that couch and put your tools your equipped with to work. Get to work.

  • […] then I fall upon this article by Matthew Schuler that Lakshmi Prabhala put up.  It was embarrassing to admit that I qualified in […]

  • Bhumika B

    November 9, 2013 at 10:13 pm Reply

    Sums up my story. :)

  • Lynn Rosen

    November 9, 2013 at 10:20 pm Reply

    There is no distinction between “creative people” and “others.” We are ALL creative people in our own ways, sometimes waiting to discover new avenues.

    • Jack Ray

      November 10, 2013 at 10:35 am Reply

      The smartest comment made about this article.

    • Sandra Litzenberger

      November 15, 2013 at 5:54 am Reply

      The interesting thing about the idea that all are creative, is that many people do not accept their own creativity. For some, it seems a dangerous thing. Accepting and acting on one’s creativity requires courage it seems and a willingness to question a status quo. If we are all creative, why do so many not act on it?

      • John

        November 22, 2013 at 2:24 am Reply

        I think creation comes from the different ways in which people are motivated by their core values. I think for some people, this can be a fluid sense of establishment. For others, it can be guided by an absolute being. As you’ll notice if you read some of these comments, its the former group that seem to be taking to what this article has to say. The latter seems to pick at the sort of “horoscope-like” motivations of this article.

        We are all creative, in the sense that we execute and execute events that both affect others, and bring corporal forms of some sort into the world. I think some people need to define themselves to a stricter subset of creation (in an art for arts sake sort of way), while others are content on being a part of a group and contributing without being recognized as a “creative”.

        I don’t know what I’m really trying to say here, other than people, in general, are really complex, and this article is good because it helps some people realize their traits and appreciate belonging to this group. On the other hand, I think the article is bad because it causes a barrier to be drawn that really doesn’t exist.

    • Tosca

      December 29, 2013 at 10:04 am Reply

      Personally I feel there’s a massive distinction. While everyone may hold some form of creativity (unshared or acknowledged) there are those that fit the nine descriptives above, to a T. I know many people that consider themselves creative (it’s subjective), and many people that do not.

  • joanna

    November 9, 2013 at 11:04 pm Reply

    Reading the post was like reading symptoms of a disease I suspected I have. Diagnosis made.

  • Loon aka Robin

    November 10, 2013 at 1:06 am Reply

    This is my favorite masterpiece of yours. Keep it, live it. And, for God’s sake, and yours, enjoy it.

    Even a Grandma can make a beautiful, and never before seen design, into a potholder. A handy and memorable thing to do with one’s time, when all else fails. I love the potholders I own, from old ladies I have known, and remember fondly. I have five. They are tucked away and not to be soiled, but rather, treasured by me.

  • Margot

    November 10, 2013 at 2:14 am Reply

    Thank you – this hit the sweet spot

  • cindy

    November 10, 2013 at 2:20 am Reply


    great post.

  • Travis

    November 10, 2013 at 2:25 am Reply

    I love the idea of studying creative people to see how they work, and I’ve spent the last few years rubbing elbows with poets, novelists, painters and various other creative people.

    However, having come from a math background, I feel that something is missing in the analysis. Without including non-creative people in some kind of qualitative research, something is bound to be missing from the analysis. After all, there may well be people who have all of these traits who aren’t particularly creative, but you aren’t looking at these people. By looking only at the creative people, you tend to have a very biased view. There was a WWII mathematician studying bombers who had returned from bombing runs. He recommended, against all instinct, to reinforce the areas where the plane hadn’t been hit. Similarly, any study of creative people should include non-creative people as well. Looking at non-creative people will give you insight not only into creative people, but into how to be more creative.

    Also, like one of the other commenters, everyone who is agreeing wholeheartedly, is saying “Me! Me! I’m creative. You so get me.”, but it is somewhat horoscope-ish, covering almost everything, i.e. “creative people are usually X and not-X at the same time” – of course, no one is set in stone, and everyone can contain one of these opposites in at least one of the areas.

    • Sharon Elin

      November 12, 2013 at 9:17 am Reply

      I’ve known many creative people who do NOT fit this blog’s description. I’ve also know many people who DO fit this description who are NOT creative. For those reasons, I read this article not as factual science but as sophomoric Self-Love.

  • Khuyen

    November 10, 2013 at 2:25 am Reply

    Very interesting article, however aren’t those symptoms apply to most of the people? Conclusion? Every single person is an creative individual and the truth is that no one can understand the second individual truly because sometime we can’t even understand our self.

  • Mark

    November 10, 2013 at 2:35 am Reply

    I read at least one comment (there may have been more) talking about the elephant in the room… Is there any humility to be found in those who claim creativity? Is it just me or do the majority of those commenting claim to be geniuses? Get a life, people.

  • […] read a great blog post titled Why Creative People Sometimes Make No Sense by Matthew Schuler (via Framed Network’s Facebook feed) about […]

  • Laura Babb

    November 10, 2013 at 4:54 am Reply

    I don’t disagree but I don’t think duality is limited to creative people. Most people are trying to balance being one or more thing at the same time. Before I was a photographer I had a very sensible office job, with a lot of management responsibility. When I walked into the office I put on a very distinct hat that dictated my behaviours and, to an extent, governed my way of thinking. At the same time, though, there was always the other side of me that wanted to be silly and not take any of it seriously. We are human and our emotions, wants and needs ebb and flow. I also agree that everyone is creative and that creativity should be nurtured.

  • Sophia

    November 10, 2013 at 5:18 am Reply

    My name is Sophia and its my photo you have used in the top. Could you please give me some credit??

    Flickrpage is:
    Facebookpage is:

    Thanks in advance,

    • melanie

      November 11, 2013 at 7:04 am Reply

      Sophia, Your photo is beautiful and, being a graphic designer, what originally attracted me to reading this article. I particularly liked your figure silhouettes with other natural textures clipped inside. While the article is interesting on many points – particularly the very informative comments – what resonates are the main attraction elements created by others: the 9 contradictory traits excerpts from Mihaly’s book and your beautiful photo. Interesting that in an article on creativity, the writer is credited but the photographer isn’t. I hope Mr. Schuler will add the credit you so politely requested.

      • Matthew

        November 11, 2013 at 7:50 am Reply

        i did give her credit, it’s at the bottom of the article

        • Lori

          November 11, 2013 at 4:55 pm Reply

          The credit should have been much closer to the photo. Not impressed at all.

        • Sophia

          November 17, 2013 at 7:10 am Reply

          I would have appreciated if it were under the photo. You havent even asked for my premission to use to photo so i think its rude that you have used my photo. I could have asked you to take down my photo but i havent.
          Please take it under the photo.
          Thank you.

          • Matthew

            November 20, 2013 at 7:54 am

            Hey Sophia, I apologize, I did not see your second comment until this morning. I added a photo credit at the top of the article as well. I also sent you a permission request via Flickr a few weeks ago, I will send another one now!

  • Paul

    November 10, 2013 at 6:06 am Reply

    I’m definitely a genius.

  • kelisha osborne

    November 10, 2013 at 6:11 am Reply
  • Micah

    November 10, 2013 at 7:31 am Reply

    Makes sense to me

  • Steve Behal

    November 10, 2013 at 7:59 am Reply

    LOVE THIS :)

  • K. Hugh Breslin

    November 10, 2013 at 8:23 am Reply

    This was shared by a friend on FB. Thanks Matthew – I really connected with your post. I bought the book in order to explore the topic more. I’ve always been creative but this has ebbed and flowed in me to varying degrees throughout my life. I feel like I have found it now and am holding on for dear life. I’ve been inventing and taking it more seriously over the course of the last year. I’ve also collaborated with my wife on a product that was presented to a manufacturer recently and also had a presentation on a solo project at the end of October. There is no purer adventure for me. I am determined to shift careers – from my “day job” to creating products that add to people’s lives in positive ways…

  • S.Furrate

    November 10, 2013 at 9:05 am Reply

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your article on Creative people. It made me feel like ok—I get myself. Thanks for the insight into the minds of creative people. I am an artist, writer, teacher, special events planner, fundraiser, mom, etc…and then some. How do I sign up to receive your blog posts?

  • Tere

    November 10, 2013 at 9:45 am Reply

    Ah, that explains it … All of Me – thank you.

  • Paula Louw

    November 10, 2013 at 10:09 am Reply

    i lovelove love this. it is SO me!!! i cant ever explain to others how i can be proud of, while at the same time as being humble about my work… i inevitably end up apologizing for saying that i love my work… it is awesomE!!! thanks you angel!!!

  • Bundicz

    November 10, 2013 at 10:15 am Reply

    Thank you for the Blog post. It gave me more self confidence. 😀

  • Jack Ray

    November 10, 2013 at 10:30 am Reply

    Be careful with this article, it is an empty compliment in disguise. “Creative People” as a category is problematically dependent on how one sees oneself and most people would prefer to imagine themselves as a “creative person,” especially if allows the reader to think of themselves as exceptional as compared with the people around them. And in this way the article will more often than not help self-centered people continue to be self-centered. In my opinion most people under close inspection are actually pretty interesting and creative, but they (and the people around them) are too busy going about their lives to stop and acknowledge it. Almost all the attributes in this article have a horoscope-esque quality to them, they are broad and vague and often cover the spectrum of potential behavior. Its difficult not to find a way to fit these attributes to your own life. Instead of reading this article and deciding to be self congratulatory and a little bit vain (as about 75% of people commenting on this article are being), go find a young person and let them know that they, just like everyone around them, has it in them to be very creative.

    • Andacar

      November 10, 2013 at 9:17 pm Reply

      Thank you. I avoid the hot spots for “creatives” in my town like the plague because I can barely fit into the places with all the immense egos.

  • John McElhenney

    November 10, 2013 at 10:40 am Reply

    Yes. This describes the creative battle between dark and light. Day with others and night alone.

  • John McElhenney

    November 10, 2013 at 10:45 am Reply

    Also, Matthew, would you consider putting your feed in Feedburner so I can get your posts in email? And maybe set up a Facebook page too. The more ways to follow and discover you the more I will, and the easier it will be to share your inspiring content. — JM

  • Jess

    November 10, 2013 at 11:22 am Reply

    What a load of codswallop. This is a bunch of dribble receiving positive feedback as it merely puts forth encouragement to insecure people trying to convince themself they are creative and original by relating too very general human traits.
    The whole idea and trying to place an explanation behind the oddity of creativity as seen in this article is contrived.
    How can someone even label themselves a creative the whole term and ideas behind it and this article is the largest generalisation of peoples thought process and stimulants Ive ever read then I read the comments talk about having some humility guys.

  • Jess

    November 10, 2013 at 11:24 am Reply

    Ps for a journalist and a “creative” nice job giving a fellow creative respect and credit for her work ie the photo in reference to sophies comment

  • Jess

    November 10, 2013 at 11:34 am Reply

    Whoops forgot to mention if you study the top artists of our generation and many others. They completely understand their ideas and concepts theyve spent years analysing themselves and what they are trying to put forward this article reads more to the people who claim creative who have ok ideas maybe weak maybe maybe strong but they cannot analyse them express them through their work thus are they really creative then? This is another reason I dont agree with the term creative as well

    • noway

      January 16, 2014 at 6:38 am Reply

      Firstly, have you heard of punctuation? Your comments are very hard to read. I’m getting a bit fed up of people having a go at “creatives” and claiming they’re self-centred and big-headed. I am creative. I am not big-headed about it! Most of the people I spend my day with (at work as not all artists can support themselves through their art) don’t even know I’m an artistic. It’s you nay-sayers that are being vague and generalistic. I’m not sure what you’re being as I can’t really read your comment due to the terrible grammar.

  • […] So, my topic is spurred from a conversation with Zoe and also reading this blog post: […]

  • Raheel Tajuddin Lakhani

    November 10, 2013 at 12:15 pm Reply

    Nailed it.

  • Ashley Autumn

    November 10, 2013 at 1:36 pm Reply

    A genuine thank you. I’d like to think that even the strongest could occasionally need a healthy dose of reassurance.

  • Why Creatives make no sense

    November 10, 2013 at 2:00 pm Reply

    […] Creatives make no sense Matthew Schuler | Why Creative People Sometimes Make No Sense Thought this was an interesting observation. __________________ Members don't see ads […]

  • Jessica Rivas

    November 10, 2013 at 3:31 pm Reply

    I am happy we all exist and we are all in this together. This article was insightful and more. Thank you and create on! ~+

  • Laura-Lee

    November 10, 2013 at 3:49 pm Reply

    What I thought was most clarifying about that list is the parameters we walk in… It’s the bane of the creative type to ‘go too far’. The list serves as a reminder that a. we’re not ‘just’ creative; we’re also people (who have people depend on us) and b. the real act of successful creativity is walking the balanced line between our paradoxes (instead of being a train wreck like so many great artists).

    Thanks a lot, Matthew! I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot lately and your summary put my mind to rest quite a bit.

  • ZaZ

    November 10, 2013 at 4:28 pm Reply

    This story should have been titled “Why self-deluded non-creative people are nauseating” – See 95 percent of the comments, e.g. “This is SO me!” “This explains me to a tee!” It doesn’t. You’re not creative. You’re a sad, analog person needing another mediocre, digital list to help define your mundane personality and its quirks – to which you hold so dear. Get over yourselves. Barf. Pure and utter barf.

    • Tashnicp

      January 4, 2014 at 6:05 am Reply


    • noway

      January 16, 2014 at 6:39 am Reply

      Oh, so you know all those commenters personally?

  • fuck this post

    November 10, 2013 at 5:33 pm Reply


  • ffencepost

    November 10, 2013 at 6:42 pm Reply

    ‘funny’ zaz —-some truth mixed in with the contempt for others

  • merlyn

    November 10, 2013 at 7:00 pm Reply

    that s great ……though we may have these qualities we are not aware of it or may be cud not analyse it. that s a real study ….fantastic and thank u fr posting it

  • Eve

    November 10, 2013 at 7:06 pm Reply

    To all the lovely people who can relate to this list on a personal level: It’s called the Forer effect.

    • DancingPlatypus

      November 12, 2013 at 1:21 pm Reply

      Indubitably. Every bullet point lists two endpoints of a spectrum, along which only the most unlikely individuals would be an extremist nine times out of nine. I wonder if there is a single person who read the list and said, “dammit, this isn’t me at all!” Now that would be a person worth interviewing.

  • Rebecca

    November 10, 2013 at 7:13 pm Reply

    I loved this ~ I feel like someone just described my life. I’d like to learn how to communicate clearly when I have this feeling of dichotomy in me ALL the time.

  • Michael

    November 10, 2013 at 8:10 pm Reply

    I agree with 99% of this post….but writing a great commercial jingle is just as hard as writing great poetry. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

  • Melissa

    November 10, 2013 at 8:33 pm Reply

    This has been a tremendous help to me. So good to know it’s somewhat normal to be able to see all perspectives. And the extrovert and introvert thing. YES!!! I’m never quite sure which I am. I do need time alone to regroup and center, but I also love people. And when I’m on a project that I’m passionate about, I become completely obsess. It’s my favorite state of being and I worry when it doesn’t happen for a very long time. I really hate being blocked. Sometimes though, I have so many ideas I can’t seem to stay focused long enough to complete a project. And on goes the journey.

  • Andacar

    November 10, 2013 at 9:08 pm Reply

    I agree with this and like it very much. I do have a few observations, however.

    I’ve discovered that PRODUCTIVE creative people (and there’s a difference) are able to be in an environment where they can devote a lot of time and energy to a sustained project. They have an isolated, quiet place that allows them to concentrate on what they are doing without interruptions. This is absolutely essential. For example, my kids have been fighting almost nonstop all day, and I find my creativity is nil at the moment. There have simply been too many screaming, awful interruptions to jump into something creative now.

    Productive creative people also very often have an extremely patient significant other, or possibly a group of minders, that take care of mundane day-to-day things like paying bills, cleaning house, doing laundry, etc. A lot of the raging genius creative people I know of don’t deal well with these normal aspects of life. It’s extremely difficult to work on some thing creative when you are worried about the IRS, the mortgage, and the gas bill. Those people are also good at feeding the often massively inflated egos and nursing the fragile tempers of creative people, who insist on calling themselves “creative,” as if they were some other form of life. We are hard to deal with, let’s face it.

    Perhaps most importantly, they have the ability to focus their minds exclusively on one problem so that they can make the innovative observations, the new ideas, the better ways of doing things. Without whining I will say that this has always been my biggest curse. As I have begun to realize the full impact of ADHD on my life I see countless times when I had the place and the means, but I simply could not focus my mind long enough for it to do me any good.

    • red

      December 26, 2013 at 4:11 pm Reply

      An apology for having coerced slaves? I’m a fucking creative who has to help with the household while accomplishing any genius design needed around here.

      Have no patience for prima donnas who think their life energy above the mundane. They’re users.

      • red

        December 26, 2013 at 5:31 pm Reply

        Creatives who have coerced slaves are worse than nobodys, they’re creepy sloppy losers with a bent for Lovecraft. and pizza boxes lying around. Also, serious psycho meds

  • Leon

    November 10, 2013 at 9:41 pm Reply

    What constitutes a creative person? Funny thing is considering the inflated ego of the average human being nowadays, 99% of people who read this would insist it describes them. Proof> look at all your sheeps ^^^ before me. Lame

  • West Ramsey

    November 10, 2013 at 9:51 pm Reply

    Very well understood and articulated. I know some many people that would totally “get” this! Thank you!

  • Angela Hanna

    November 10, 2013 at 10:51 pm Reply

    Thank you, finally I understand why I am the way I am. Not that I minded much, but the rest of my family are very critical of the way I say things and are always telling me I am complex, contradictory, over-sensitive, rebellious etc,. This makes me feel retarded sometimes, although I know I am considered bright!

  • Paul C Pritchard

    November 10, 2013 at 11:19 pm Reply

    I was attracted to the blog by the photo … and the blog was just as inviting … thank you :)

  • Tori

    November 11, 2013 at 1:26 am Reply

    Brilliant piece – and accessibly written. Such a relief to know there is more recognition coming into the mainstream. Now I know I’m really not that mad. Peace.

  • Jackie knowles

    November 11, 2013 at 3:37 am Reply

    I absolutely love this and identify with it fervently. So thank you. The only part that made me a little anxious in contrast to the rest of the blog was the end part about trying to make others understand… This feeling of needing to be understood, of being compelled to justify and explain really chips away at me and ties me into incredibly anxious knots… I, personally, would rather identify with that blog and learn to gracefully and gratefully accept who I am without the need to constantly explain/defend/justify to others. I don’t mean ‘shut off’ from others, communicate -sure, but do what you do, be open and non-judgmental with your multitude of perspectives and acceptance of the wider view/s…lead by example if you will (for want of a better phrase) in this…and allow others to do their own thinking. ‘What other people think of you is none of your business’ as someone once said… That’s where I’m at anyway. Trying!!! Lots of love, light and creativity xxx

  • Len

    November 11, 2013 at 5:26 am Reply

    All 9 hit the nail on the head . Well Put. Thanks. len

  • Dawn

    November 11, 2013 at 5:33 am Reply

    As an educator I read this and wonder even more if we are not so often medicating the creative children for ADD. Such a shame to medicate creativity instead of letting it flourish. And so many if these traits are remonstrated in the mind we label ADD.

    • Aldo Notarandrea

      November 11, 2013 at 8:03 am Reply

      i agree with you in a way Dawn but as a person who has a heavy case and i do mean a HEAVY case of ADHD, if it weren’t for ADHD meds all of the creativity i have would rarely be organized into anything constructive. my creativity isn’t lost, the meds enable me to take the creative thoughts i have in my head and express them instead of everything just coming up in a jumbled up version

  • Dominic Old

    November 11, 2013 at 6:19 am Reply

    OMG! That sounds so me…..!

  • Mike N.

    November 11, 2013 at 6:32 am Reply

    I think these things do ring true, but not just with creative individuals, but because it’s largely part of the human condition. Life is paradoxical and humans can exhibit many different traits and characteristics.

  • Jorge Inchaurregui

    November 11, 2013 at 6:36 am Reply

    Spot on. The article describes the story of my life. Hehehe!

  • Jeff

    November 11, 2013 at 7:04 am Reply

    It amazes me that every number on here apply’s to me in some form or fashion. I think it’s great that someone is able to put this into words so others may understand the struggles and duality associated with creativity.

  • Fallon

    November 11, 2013 at 7:26 am Reply

    Shocked! Shocked! Shocked to find out I’m a contrarian. Um, no I’m not.

  • Johnelle

    November 11, 2013 at 7:41 am Reply

    This was super interesting! It actually taught me a few things about myself that I didn’t know, and it clarified a few things I wondered about. I often saw these opposites within myself and thought maybe I’m just a little messed up, but now I know it’s part of my inner (and outer) artist! ^^

  • Raissa

    November 11, 2013 at 8:00 am Reply

    I like this post! How nice to be able to see myself here. Much ThankS

  • Greenbeard

    November 11, 2013 at 8:18 am Reply

    Well I can see me on all this post, though i don’t see myself much of a creative guy…
    How many times people told me that i couldnt be both introverted and extroverted <_< I finally know that i'm not crazy
    Anyway i'm working my communication too, lost big parts of my self because of this shit…

  • john macpherson

    November 11, 2013 at 9:05 am Reply

    Arthur Koestler in ‘The Act of Creation’ said (or words to this effect) “Better the pangs of creativity, than the comfort of sterility”.

    Being creative is to be hungry. Always. That’s not a feeling that everyone is comfortable with.

    Great piece. Very insightful. Thank you.

  • Deborah Oster Pannell

    November 11, 2013 at 9:15 am Reply

    Indeed. There are many truths here. Accepting that we see things a little differently takes the sting out of not fitting in with other people’s sometimes unrealistic expectations of us…

  • […] Matthew Schuler | Why Creative People Sometimes Make No Sense. […]

  • Jerry Rice

    November 11, 2013 at 9:45 am Reply

    That was interesting…. and seems to explain my chaotic behavior…and or multiple personalities… or does it? …. hehe ..
    yes …. no…. maybe so… I don’t know…. uumm what was the question .. again ???

  • connie

    November 11, 2013 at 9:55 am Reply

    Thanks for posting this…especially the last paragraph. It is so important that creative folks recognize that misunderstandings can occur and that being are ready to persist in communication is essential. Relationship can be the biggest challenge when you think differently from so many people around you and feeling rejected or isolated is not the answer. Thank you for this. Excellent blog.

  • Ted Holteen

    November 11, 2013 at 9:57 am Reply

    Wow – I don’t get to say this often, but that’s one of the best things I’ve ever read. Thank you.

  • Elisa

    November 11, 2013 at 10:06 am Reply

    I feel understood. So much truth in this. Thank you!

  • Tanya Logan

    November 11, 2013 at 11:49 am Reply

    Hi, thanks so much for your article! As a creative, I appreciate that you took the time to summarize something I would probably never read! This really hit home. ~~ Tanya

  • Anon

    November 11, 2013 at 12:06 pm Reply

    I don’t want to be “that guy” in the threads section, but I read this and thought that maybe it’s inherent in all people,
    it’s just that we prioritize our time and energy to different aspects of our lives and our brains.
    Like, for the people who are less fortunate than most, they’ll reserve their time and effort into taking menial jobs in order to survive.
    … or something like that, I’m just throwing in my two cents for the sake of it. lol

  • Millard J. Melnyk

    November 11, 2013 at 12:14 pm Reply

    Csikszentmihalyi does good work. “Flow” had a real impact on me. Thanks for the article! “…a leap into a world that is different from our present.” That’s the point where I get the most misunderstanding. Thar be no dragons out there! Waters are safe… and delightful! :-)

  • Millard J. Melnyk

    November 11, 2013 at 12:16 pm Reply

    Wish you had a way to “follow” you so I get notified when you put new stuff up. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  • […] Why Creative People Make No Sense. […]

  • Brenda

    November 11, 2013 at 12:37 pm Reply

    This was like reading my old online dating profile! I mean that in a good way. I am pretty sure I explained myself just like this: Seemingly contradictory, almost equally introverted and extroverted, perhaps a little too proud, but definitely humble, etc, etc. Thank you for putting it all in the context of “being a creative”. If I ever subject myself to that world again, I can just link to this post, and perhaps I’ll sound a bit more stable. 😉

  • Rachel

    November 11, 2013 at 1:39 pm Reply

    Thank you for this. Your work is beautiful and it was quite lovely to read this little piece. Good to know I’m not completely insane.

  • Rachel

    November 11, 2013 at 1:42 pm Reply

    Also, I just watched your Livingstone video and freaked out because I used to live in Mbale and have visited the university many times. Way to go! You’ve done some wonderful work for amazing people. THANK YOU.

  • Daan

    November 11, 2013 at 1:53 pm Reply

    Thanks for sharing, awesome stuff! Cheers :)

  • Infinite Sinewave

    November 11, 2013 at 2:19 pm Reply

    There is a magical/universal element to “not making sense.” The highest state of mankind is a state where you are immersed completely in the present and sometimes being “carried” by something much greater than yourself. Artists become artists because they see the magic and truth in this. That’s why we sometimes “make no sense.” However, in connection, the final result makes so much sense that it becomes a miracle. This is what it’s about. The rational mind only goes so far. Artists break the barriers and discover that there is something much greater than just the existence we perceive with physical bodies. In a sense, we make no sense to make sense of the reason we have senses in the first place.

  • […] Matthew Schuler has been browsing Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention—the result of over 30 years of research into creative people by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.—and has distilled many of the creative quirks cited into a short, but uncannily accurate post. […]

  • J

    November 11, 2013 at 3:27 pm Reply

    The only reason why this very panoramic mindset is considered “Jekyll and Hyde” by the mainstream must be understood by imagining the interpretation through the lens of the black and white thinker. The irony of the comments by the detractors lies in the fact that we already understand how they think but they can’t understand how we think despite a very basic description of the cognition in question. Knocking two pigeon holes together won’t get the tune quite right. They can’t even imagine the possibility that a different form of cognition and behavior might exclude their ego-centric own, and so a “horoscope” fantasy-attributed explanation is better suited to stretch the article’s meaning to include themselves in it. This article was written for them to provide insight and funnily they don’t believe we or the information in this article exists. Beginner tip: cultivate a response to nuance.

  • Diane Lee Pataano

    November 11, 2013 at 4:18 pm Reply

    When snobby people tell me what I just said is a ‘non-sequitor’, I remong them of Einstein’s quote ” Intelligence is relating seemingly inrelated things’ So, I skipped a few steps. Figure it out, if you want to be with me (or simply ‘ask’)

  • Diane Lee Pataano

    November 11, 2013 at 4:24 pm Reply

    When snobby people tell me what I just said is a ‘non-sequitor’ in the flow of the conversation; I remind them of Einstein’s quote ,” Intelligence is relating ‘ seemingly’ unrelated things’ . So, I skipped a few steps. Figure it out, if you want to continue talking with me (not to me) Simply ask or debate, don’t end the talk from your glass tower.

  • Creativity « The Big Think

    November 11, 2013 at 5:03 pm Reply

    […] Why Creative People Sometimes Make No Sense […]

  • Joe S

    November 11, 2013 at 5:34 pm Reply

    Very interesting and instructive. Thanks.

    Nonetheless, I’d like to challenge the notion that there is such thing as “a creative.” As if in the “creative” resides a soul of unusual radiance and a mind of rare breadth. Before we are multitudes of intellectual contradiction, we are complicated in more fundamental ways. Some “creatives” got that way through conscious, concerted effort against long odds. Some “uncreatives” are very intelligent and imaginative people who have made different, perhaps bad, choices. Or who has been punished by misfortune. Or whose idiosyncrasies deprive them of recognition.

    People are complicated, and people are different from one another. It strikes me as extremely simplistic, as beholden to artificial categories and lacking in nuance – in short, as uncreative – to propagate typologies, even if it feels like a pat on the back to those of us who aspire to lead creative lives.

  • Alyse

    November 11, 2013 at 5:35 pm Reply

    Thank you.

  • Bronia

    November 11, 2013 at 5:56 pm Reply

    I stumbled across your blog on twitter really randomly and really glad I did.
    Thank you your blog answers a lot of question for me. I feel a lot of familiarity
    with what you have written and written so well.

  • Roz

    November 11, 2013 at 6:54 pm Reply

    I really like your blog & the way you write. The pictures are very beautiful.

  • matthew

    November 11, 2013 at 8:01 pm Reply

    I like it. Makes sense.

  • Jessie

    November 11, 2013 at 8:23 pm Reply

    it appears I’m not crazy after all …

  • Sweetsara

    November 11, 2013 at 10:28 pm Reply

    Creativity is confusion, when u dont understand something u try to find meaning for it and that starts the creative process. Therefore creative people are creating sense. People want sense, and we make it for them.

  • no im the most creative

    November 11, 2013 at 10:45 pm Reply

    I love how this describes so many of you creatives. I feel like everyone considers themselves to be creative. haha essentially you have to be a paradox ?

  • Barbara

    November 12, 2013 at 1:10 am Reply

    So much of that is true, and there is a;so the point where creatives can be quite manic, where everything is either super fantastic, or horrendously devastating, and usually both on the same day. I’m sure that is why we create, to rejoice in the moments of amazingness or to wallow in our self pity. Both bring out extraordinary pieces of art that can resinate with others

  • Justine Chamberlain

    November 12, 2013 at 2:03 am Reply

    Lovely article, rang true to my ears.

  • joyce

    November 12, 2013 at 2:21 am Reply

    Life is a paradox… that’s what makes it so creative. most people have access to this but I would say that conditioning has ironed them into social constructs that fit in with the illusionary and projected ideas of who they are. It’s appears difficult to break away from this. But my understanding is that it is only the belief in your identity that keeps you in the story of the world. And this is always changing… so once there is a seeing that there is nothing to hold onto then the paradox becomes a welcomed way to be…. This is available to everyone (I said that twice) My own creative expressions break through when there is clarity, but also when there is much confusion. But it works best when I am not considering the end product… so to speak. Like where will this end up. Although this plays a part in the way that one is compelled to show or exhibit… but then again maybe not…. I once met an artist that had never shown his work. He said he did it for himself. I was intrigued to hear more. What appeared was a character that was quite cynical on one hand, but had a social drive for better things. Personally I thought he was quite intense, but that probably says more about my own characteristics. Thank you for evoking these ideas and thought. Have a super day :)

  • Janetlynne

    November 12, 2013 at 2:41 am Reply

    What an astonishing piece. Thank You.
    I will use these observations in the classroom.

  • Anna

    November 12, 2013 at 3:09 am Reply

    This is the light at the end of the tunnel for me. I am misunderstood. I do try to make my ideas clear, but my near family still don’t get me. They talk about non-sequitors and silliness. I accidentally cause pain. I feel it most days. I continue to resist pressure to stop my involvement in my passion. Maybe I’m actually slightly autistic. That hasn’t been suggested -yet. I am not alone in valuing my skills and creativeness . But I wouldn’t say anyone would put me in an “ARTS” category.

  • Anabel

    November 12, 2013 at 4:32 am Reply

    Thank you.

  • Carl Sverdrup

    November 12, 2013 at 4:43 am Reply

    That’s my personality, an amalgamation of Chaos and Order. You reach into the chaos constantly to pull out an Idea. Whether or not the Idea sticks is how quickly you can contradict the idea in the mundane world. The ones which do not work you try out ways to make it work until you drop from exhaustion. The goal is to always have a couple of projects running alongside those that are mandatory for work, one might find success doing so. Now I have to project 3D figures in my head. Goodbye.

    Now then, good thing I am an engineer and that my father is a professor in engineering, and his brain has much likeness to mine.

  • Links I'm Loving » Anarchist Reverend

    November 12, 2013 at 5:02 am Reply

    […] In this post Matthew shares some insights from a book he’s reading about the personalities of creative people. I am fascinated by the psychology of creativity. I like to read about what makes creative people tick, the habits they have in their lives, how they work, their office spaces, etc. This post tackles the complexity of creative people’s personalities (and gave me another book to add to my wish list). […]

  • Shawn Morell Lewis

    November 12, 2013 at 5:14 am Reply

    Beautifully stated, humbly expressed, insight-fully intuitive, and frightfully accurate! How’d you know that? Awww…it takes one to know one!

  • […]  I found this blog by Matthew Schuler on why creative people sometimes make no sense, check it […]

  • BlackMartini

    November 12, 2013 at 5:43 am Reply

    Excellent…. Most creative thinkers will get it, unfortunately it may find deaf ears with others… One of the best nuggets i took form this was actually the quote “Sometimes what appears to be a contradiction on the surface is actually a harmony in disguise”. That just made my day.

  • JayVee

    November 12, 2013 at 5:51 am Reply

    Matthew, many thanks for this post. I could relate to every single point . Great to see the characteristics captured and described so succicntly and accurately

  • davide

    November 12, 2013 at 6:09 am Reply

    …..30 years of study and research??? friend of mine never had school, but could write a 30 years’ research better, probably in one day.

  • Coco

    November 12, 2013 at 6:13 am Reply

    I love your post, but I need to say….the blog PHOTO is riveting and beautiful.

  • Nic

    November 12, 2013 at 6:16 am Reply

    Wow. You picked a great subject to share, and so wonderfully written, Matthew. I’ve been studying the psychology of creativity intensely for the last few years with the eminent psychologist, Dr. Howard Teich – His PACE Profile is a great tool for understanding the self-conscious creative in everyone. I urge you and others here to check it out. Our “creative universe” is an infinite parallel and not a single entity, as most still believe. The “twin heroes” that Dr. Teich writes about is as much an internal relationship as it is an external one.

  • Lisa Manyon

    November 12, 2013 at 7:10 am Reply

    I can relate. Thanks for sharing!
    Write on!~
    Lisa Manyon

  • Reactive

    November 12, 2013 at 7:19 am Reply

    Can you all stop fucking using “creative” as a noun? You are not “a creative”, you are (at best) creative. Fuck!

  • Cassie

    November 12, 2013 at 7:52 am Reply

    I feel so much better after reading this, so insightful! Thank you Matt. And like you and many have said, now that I have awareness I can work to prevent confusion with others. Thanks again, cheers!

  • Rebecca

    November 12, 2013 at 7:53 am Reply

    EXCELLENT to read and have Shared! Thank you. ART SAVES LIVES

  • Brandon

    November 12, 2013 at 8:21 am Reply

    What about the fact that creatives are often mercilessly self-critical too! If you are anything like me, you might affect an aire of self-deprecating humor that comes far too close to your true feelings, or else overplay arrogance as a kind of self-satire. I sometimes make boastful jokes which are probably meant to shield myself from just how critical I am of my own work.

  • Neil

    November 12, 2013 at 8:27 am Reply

    Utter bs. Vague, self aggrandizing flattery at its worst. Notice all these ‘observations’ are flattering and positive. I am a highly creative person and I have a lot of selfish, ugly qualities that go along with that. Many highly creative people do. Why not be honest and daring instead of flattering? It’s sad so many are duped by this.

  • Wombat Harness

    November 12, 2013 at 8:46 am Reply

    This article reminds me of a cold reading session with a ‘psychic’.

    • Mitch H.

      December 26, 2013 at 12:53 pm Reply

      Exactly. More specifically, it’s a shameless series of “rainbow ruses”.

  • Shelley Novotny

    November 12, 2013 at 9:11 am Reply

    so glad i found the link to this article in my facebook news feed today. I am just beginning to explore more of your blog and website, today. I am looking forward to reading more or your wonderful inspiration. best wishes to you. Shelley Novonty

  • Maggie Lillo

    November 12, 2013 at 9:56 am Reply

    what I don’t get is separating people into “these are creative and these are not”… what constitutes “creativity” in a person… weren’t we all born to be creative… to actually CREATE SOMETHING in our lives? what makes some people develop into “creatives” and others into thinking they can never be creative. I don’t buy that.

  • Maggie Lillo

    November 12, 2013 at 9:58 am Reply

    maybe the difference is only “awareness”? I have no answers…

  • Adrienne

    November 12, 2013 at 10:37 am Reply

    This married to your yardstick post unleashed a dialogue in me. It’s still inside, but I recognize when it’s tone is a serious one.

  • Scott

    November 12, 2013 at 11:13 am Reply

    Your summary, along with the quote within 09, capture the beautiful contradictions that we so-called “creatives” are blessed and cursed with. With time and experience, it’s beautiful to see the pendulum shift more pleasantly toward “blessed.” It makes life so much more intriguing and entertaining. Thanks for your efforts and insight on this topic. You did a fine job of stating your vision and capturing it for others like myself.

  • Philip Khor (@philipkhor)

    November 12, 2013 at 11:14 am Reply


  • JO

    November 12, 2013 at 11:24 am Reply

    What a relief this article is for me!!! For those who have wondered about the possibility of me being a bit bi-polar and a lot OCD-ish, I can now let them know it is just my creativity! Not that me, myself and I were actually worried….

  • Sara Post

    November 12, 2013 at 11:27 am Reply

    (a)hahahahahahaha. An astrologer once said I had the most contradictory chart she’d ever seen (not that I give that much credence, but still…thanks for making it all OK) (or better!)

  • John

    November 12, 2013 at 12:02 pm Reply

    I don’t understand. Which is it? Make up your mind. You’re not making any sense.

  • […] Why Creative People Make no Sense […]

  • zach

    November 12, 2013 at 12:31 pm Reply

    I’m sorry but this article is just….smh. 30 years of research to tell us about how creative people supposedly act/think. Thanks buddy! Pass that joint over here because I think I’m feeling creative right about now.

  • Henry Brandon

    November 12, 2013 at 12:40 pm Reply

    The balance of introvert/extrovert struck home with me. When I was testing for my Myers-Briggs type, I hit a question I couldn’t answer with certainty. My decision on that answer swayed me between 51%/49% and 49%/51%.

    The article makes sense on all points; for me, being Creative has lead me to learning balance. Equilibrium is peace.

  • A.M. Harlow

    November 12, 2013 at 1:33 pm Reply

    Oh lord, what a lot of self-congratulatory B.S.

    – a “creative” person

  • […] Why Creative People Make No Sense, by Matthew Schuler […]

  • Jan Harold Diaz

    November 12, 2013 at 3:47 pm Reply

    It makes perfect sense that sometimes we make no sense at all. Its a well written funny but serious article. Hahaha

  • Joanna Freeman

    November 12, 2013 at 4:10 pm Reply

    #6 – sorry. You can’t be humble and proud at the same time. They are opposites and cannot co-exist.

    • Philippa Rees

      November 14, 2013 at 1:40 am Reply

      Opposites are always reconciled by genius. You can be proud of what you have created but aware that it could always have been better or that it will be new for a time and inevitably surpassed (ie humble!)

    • Alicia

      November 16, 2013 at 4:15 am Reply

      Funny I related to that on the most. When I create something I am so happy and proud. But I also look at it and think others have done it better but this has my individual stamp on it that says it’s me. You can be humble and proud.

  • Randi Simon-Serey

    November 12, 2013 at 5:20 pm Reply

    Thank you so very much for this! I came across it on Facebook and have gone on to share it. You are giving a lot of people some much-needed peace of mind.

  • Creativity « Tales of Ink and Fire

    November 12, 2013 at 7:21 pm Reply

    […] Matthew Schuler’s blog, he posted an article a few days ago entitled “Why Creative People Sometimes Make No Sense“, talking about Creativity: The Work and Lives of 91 Eminent People, a book by Mihaly […]

  • Johnnie

    November 12, 2013 at 7:28 pm Reply

    I agrre with all the points. My mind never stops see ideas that I must create, drawing on every thing that will hold pencil or ink.

  • Creative People | Daily Dose

    November 12, 2013 at 8:32 pm Reply

    […] Blog on why it can be hard to understand creative people. Read Me. […]

  • K.L. Parry

    November 12, 2013 at 8:33 pm Reply

    Yup, sounds like me – but don’t tell anyone. You’ll spoil the mystery.

  • Who cares

    November 12, 2013 at 8:45 pm Reply

    Whoever refers to themselves as a “creative” needs to buy a rope and a stool. I guess “creatives” are contradicting in their nature because all I am reading is self-absorbed insecurity mixed with that forer effect shit.

  • Rosa Navarrete

    November 12, 2013 at 8:48 pm Reply

    This explains a lot. Thank you for writing about it.

  • Ron

    November 12, 2013 at 9:45 pm Reply

    I have not read anybody’s comment yet. Didn’t want them to influence what I am about to say. I should reread what you said before I write, but I am too lazy. That is the main thing that I have a problem with this. I can and have worked 12+ hour days and loved it. I have worked 12+ hour days and hated it. So working extra hard isn’t necessary for this topic.

    I love working extra hard when I can and I know it makes a difference. All I ask is that I get a little consideration for the effort. It would mean much more to me that they use me for my creative side. I definitely could improve any company that I work for. Just need a few month working for them to be able to tell them how to improve (and I have a business degree, which is almost anti creative). lol.

    But I like what you had said and think that I am what you are saying, however, I also feel that this can be an a more attune version of a daily horoscope. Sorry, I am just a little skeptical. However, I do like to see what the other side say’s. I don’t think you are on the other side, I just have a hard time believing.

  • Cale

    November 12, 2013 at 11:11 pm Reply

    holy heck, I understand my own brain so much better after reading that! I’ve always wondered why my friends never seem to understand the things that make complete sense to me. Such helpful info, thankyou!

  • Stacey Mayer

    November 13, 2013 at 12:37 am Reply

    Thank you, Matthew, for sharing this. I see a lot of myself in this description. I read it to my family, and it was really appreciated. I’m going to read that book!

  • Rakesh Chintapalli

    November 13, 2013 at 1:11 am Reply

    Great Article,
    I am afraid if i was abnormal …. all these are happening to me as a storm.

  • Lauren

    November 13, 2013 at 2:13 am Reply

    That was brilliant. I’ve never been summed up better. I’ve always described myself as a kaleidoscope. It all makes sense ha!
    Thank you for taking the time to write this.
    Well done.

  • Bob Gilkszo

    November 13, 2013 at 2:15 am Reply

    I thought I was reading a horoscope…. Could apply to anyone ever in the world.

  • Eric

    November 13, 2013 at 4:16 am Reply

    This is 100% spot on for me, although I was always told I was bipolar.

  • Megan Mensing

    November 13, 2013 at 4:42 am Reply

    Thanks for sharing. This is wonderful.

  • creative person

    November 13, 2013 at 5:21 am Reply

    Most creative people like to imagine they are different and special, that they have some gift that separates them from other ‘non-creatives’. Who is non-creative? what does that actually mean? This sounds like narcissistic pseudo-pschology babble to me, and delivered as oppressive to those you ‘creatives’ think are ‘non-creative’. Get over yourselves ‘creatives’, you are not special – everyone is creative. You heard of Multiple Intelligence? – ( We all exist as multiplicitous entites, not individuals. Sorry to all of those who feel special because of this article – you ARE special, as special as everyone else: dont create barriers.

  • maurice

    November 13, 2013 at 6:12 am Reply

    i think there is also an inherent desire/compulsion to try to make sense of everything which comes with its particular set of trappings and contradictions: not everything makes (or should make) sense….

  • […] Why creative people sometimes make no sense […]

  • Shane Ward

    November 13, 2013 at 8:26 am Reply

    I recognised myself in every single point made here; an unusual achievement in my experience. It may not make a great difference to those around me but it made me feel like less of paradox and more of a paradigm.

  • Peter Pillsbury

    November 13, 2013 at 8:51 am Reply

    Graet psot! I now hvae smoehtnig to froawrd to all my co-wroekres so tehy bteetr udnretnsad why and wrehe I’m cmonig from. Bieng a caertvie gniues can be hrad semotmeis, ayawls lviing in the mnomet and not ayalws mikang sesne.

  • Shawn

    November 13, 2013 at 9:15 am Reply

    Cool except for the grammar flub at the end.

  • José Ubernel Arboleda

    November 13, 2013 at 9:26 am Reply

    Un mensaje corto, construido con sabiduría y motivador para seguir intentándolo. Gracias!

  • Caffy

    November 13, 2013 at 9:43 am Reply

    Thank you for writing this. It made total sense out of a lot of things.

  • Bob S

    November 13, 2013 at 12:59 pm Reply

    People who are saying “Hey, I’m like that! Thats GREAT! I finally have the answer to why I have been having problems!” probably aren’t who the author is referring to. :-) If you are in this deep, you would doubt everything, all the time, and most especially your personal ‘specialness’. Maybe you do have unique qualities.. I mean, everyone does.

    Everyone has creativity, and everyone can relate to some of this, if not all of it, depending on where they are right now in life.

    The issue here is not creativity really.. they are talking about Creatives.. aka Crazy People Who Do Amazing Things because they can’t stop themselves from doing them. Because they have a drive that makes the word persistence look like “lack of interest’. Creatives are obsessive.. REALLY obsessive. By any ‘normal’ standard, they would be considered unhealthy. They are relentlessly self critical, they kill their children often (ideas that dont pan out, but that they love), they suffer for their work, truly. They do it to themselves, because the only way to get there is to love love love what they are doing at that moment, and simultaneously being razor sharp critical when stepping back to look at what they have done.

    Creatives can look like manic depressives, and maybe sometimes are. They are truly different, and in ways that are fundamental. They are skewed so far to the left, they can’t even see the right side. They have to create left handed coping mechanisms to deal with daily life, and often feel worthless because they are doing it.. thinking they are fundamentally flawed in some basic way.. that they are so smart and creative, but how in the heck can they not understand how to talk to people instinctively? Why am I so stupid I can’t bring myself to just pay my bills on time? That they have to use these mechanisms to interact with anyone and anything feels like a cheat, wrong, and somehow defeating.

    But on they go, because they can’t do anything else.

    Successful creatives.. those who have what the author calls “Flow”, are the fortunate few who have aligned their passion with culture and are being rewarded for it. They are those few who are passionate in a way that aligns with the modern world somehow, and their circumstance allows it. Or maybe they are independently wealthy, and were able to engage their passions indiscriminately. They have all been lucky somehow, having had opportunities that met with their abilities in abundance.

    So, they are not good to look at for inspiration. It would be like looking at Warren Buffet to determine your financial moves. Useless, because although he is wildly successful in his field, he is an outlier and his success was as much from chance as it was from skill. Yes, you had to be relentless and creative to do what he did, but I would bet there are more than a few of those sorts of people out there who didn’t have his luck, but have his skill and determination and are not anywhere near his level of monetary success.

    By and large, being a Creative is not fun, most of the time. I honestly don’t know why so many people wish for it. From my experience, they look like they have a much tougher life than most.

    • Meg

      November 13, 2013 at 2:25 pm Reply

      I used to be like that. I am very fortunate to have found my husband, he really spent a lot of time pushing me out of the self defeating spiral. Granted I still fall into it from time to time but it’s easier knowing he is there. Anyway, just wanted to say that yeah, you’re right, I think most creatives do have a pretty tough life, cause I certainly did! On the other hand, I think it’s these traits that make it rough for creatives, we are VERY misunderstood people and that can cause a lot of trouble. I have to admit, I’ve never fit in, and I cherish the friends I do have now because they certainly must care for me to put up with my “unusual” behavior.

    • mikki

      November 15, 2013 at 1:03 pm Reply

      You are ,obviously,full of it. Most creative people get depressed because the people around them make them feel they aren’t normal and have to fit in their world. Why is that? If it weren’t for people being creative there would not be anything electronic,no buildings, nothing. So,before you just spout off something you obviously can’t comprehend think,a lot,about every creative thing that has been made in our past andpresent .What the future will hold? Maybe, nothing if the world keeps supressing our creativity.

  • Jennifer

    November 13, 2013 at 1:23 pm Reply

    Excellent post! I could identify with almost all of these. I feel a little more legitimized in some of my quirks now.

  • Lisa C. Clark

    November 13, 2013 at 2:28 pm Reply

    Your post was liked by a friend on Facebook and it struck such a chord that I had to visit and read more closely. Have to agree with every word and acknowledge that these views would apply to me by my own assessment of myself and per other’s comments about me. As someone designing focusing on STEM, I’d also take this one step further and say that you’ve described a very mid-brain person — also very familiar territory. So I also need to recognize the creativity of your blog title font …. Thanks, Matthew, for this blog post.

  • […] blog post I so enjoyed was written by Matthew Schuler and is entitled, Why Creative People Sometimes Make No Sense. In it Matthew summarizes Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s book, Creativity: The Work and Lives of […]

  • Bernadette

    November 13, 2013 at 3:30 pm Reply

    He must be writing about my secret identity! My gosh, that is how I feel about myself. Can you even imagine being introvert and extrovert at the same time? Playfulness and yet seriously obsessing with my art, imagination and fantasy with objectivity, having energy yet sitting still and enjoying quietness. I feel like a rocker in a nun’s habit!

  • […] Very Interesting: “Why Creative People Make No Sense” […]

  • Ali

    November 13, 2013 at 4:25 pm Reply

    Love this post and many of your others that I just took time to read! I feel like our blogs need to hang out and have coffee.

  • David

    November 13, 2013 at 6:23 pm Reply

    The author left out one trait from the book. “Creative people, to an extent, escape rigid gender role stereotyping. When tests of masculinity/femininity are given to young people, over and over one finds that creative and talented girls are more dominant and tough than other girls, and creative boys are more sensitive and less aggressive than their male peers.
    This tendency toward androgyny is sometimes understood in purely sexual terms, and therefore it gets confused with homosexuality. But psychological androgyny is a much wider concept referring to a person’s ability to be at the same time aggressive and nurturant, sensitive and rigid, dominant and submissive, regardless of gender. A psychologically androgynous person in effect doubles his or her repertoire of responses. Creative individuals are more likely to have not only the strengths of their own gender but those of the other one, too.” I highly recommend the book. Or read an article with the same list here:

  • Apri

    November 13, 2013 at 6:54 pm Reply

    Yeah, I’ll be sending this to my husband….. Thanks for this thoughtful essay. oxooxo! Anne Wagner sent me.

  • enemkay

    November 13, 2013 at 7:03 pm Reply

    good read… dont’ mind if i share this yes…

  • tay

    November 13, 2013 at 10:50 pm Reply

    idk how i feel about this article, its telling me I’m good, but not that good in every top that was explained thoroughly.

  • Jason

    November 13, 2013 at 11:15 pm Reply

    Wow, that last paragraph could have been written by me. It’s nice to be reminded that I’m not alone in my experience.

  • j

    November 13, 2013 at 11:29 pm Reply

    I am not alone: )

  • Dean G. Hill

    November 14, 2013 at 1:38 am Reply

    !Amen Brother Creation btw.> I love this project: how can we Assist?

  • Sandy

    November 14, 2013 at 1:51 am Reply

    I’ve rebloged your article at
    Thank you for sharing.

  • Philippa Rees

    November 14, 2013 at 1:57 am Reply

    Interesting collection of comments, the dominant aligned with everything said and identifying themselves with being creative, and a few very aggressive and abusive. Having written and researched a whole thesis and book (Involution-An Odyssey Reconciling Science to God) based on the unique characteristics of genius which are the extreme creatives, I would echo every point made in this list as well as endorsing David’s addition of ‘escaping gender stereotyping’. I would extend that to escaping any stereotyping, or any orthodoxy, or any narrow affiliation.

    It is the forging of new pathways through the already familiar ( the conservative plus…) that sees anew. But it always brings on jealousy and abuse!

  • Doreen

    November 14, 2013 at 5:21 am Reply

    This is a very insightful post. There are so many wonderful attributes to creative people. I had been in a four year relationship with just such a person. I so admired his creativity. Sometimes I was awestruck by it. Those of us in these kinds of relationships want very much to be our partners biggest supporters and cheerleaders. But how can one be in a healthy, mutually beneficial relationship with someone who’s work/art/hobby/craft consumes them often to the exclusion of other important responsibilities and relationships, particularly when they can’t see it and think nothing’s wrong?

  • Ashen

    November 14, 2013 at 6:10 am Reply

    Someone mentioned opportunity and circumstance – which makes the difference – if such synchronicities don’t happen you’re merely called mentally unstable. Then again this exacting society which rewards the compliant consumer spurns rebels :) Maybe obstacles and rejection are the fuel for creativity.

  • […] Schuler posted Why Creative People Sometimes Make No Sense on his blog. Schuler has read Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s book Creativity: The Work of 91 Eminent […]

  • […] my emotions (sometimes I probably want to talk about them too much). I recently ran across another’s blog, and I was like, “EUREKA!!! This is me!”. The meat of the epiphany is this list of […]

  • lulunot

    November 14, 2013 at 8:01 am Reply

    Great post. Thank you. Love the photo too. Looks like an eraser job on crumpled up wax paper overlaid on a photo. Like hot breath on a frosted windowpane. Brilliantly captures the feeling of separation, and observation from without, that exists in the content.

  • Dick

    November 14, 2013 at 8:27 am Reply

    Some thought-provoking articles should to have comments DISABLED. I was reading this morning that wet newspaper attracts silverfish; clearly, blogs about creativity attract the vain and hateful…

  • Izy

    November 14, 2013 at 9:12 am Reply

    Oh ma gosh! I make loads of sense then?! I’m not crazy?! Everyone else around me is?! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA THIS IS THE BEST DISCOVERY EVER! :DDD

  • j

    November 14, 2013 at 9:20 am Reply

    I serve the God of the universe! How cool is that! Just by speaking, He created the heavens and everything in between.
    As a conservative American, I have come to associate art and all things pertaining to it, with those leftists who seek the destruction of America and her Christian values. Those who are destroying such values as the family unit.

    I have spent so much time and energy, attempting to surpress and even destroy my God giving artistic capabilities, because of this association. There was an article in The Conservative American, concerning those of us on the right who are blessed with creative capabilities not embracing them for the forementioned reason, in July of this year.

  • j

    November 14, 2013 at 9:32 am Reply

    Bob S. I have to agree with you on the last part. So many times I have been told ” I wish I could draw like that” and thought to myself, no, you don’t or do you realize the cost?

  • PT

    November 14, 2013 at 9:57 am Reply

    Ah. This was refreshing. I often feel like a stray cat in the world. It is nice to find my patched togetherness of mismatched ideas and directions make sense somewhere. Growing up in a logical household, surrounded by stubbornly logical people, it would have made hard things easier to have had this insight as a kid.

  • Wayfaring Wanderer

    November 14, 2013 at 11:19 am Reply

    Loved this list! #5, 6 & 7 resonated with me. I’ve considered myself a extrovert for the most part, but there are times when I am feeling the extreme opposite. I like to think that it’s possible I can be both at the same time, somewhere in between.


  • Miss Tan

    November 14, 2013 at 4:29 pm Reply

    I totally agree especially with the last one!

  • creating creative creativity

    November 14, 2013 at 6:05 pm Reply

    Do all of you really think you’re secret geniuses that everyone just thinks is crazy? I challenge all of you to do or say something creative enough to blow our minds. Game on retards.

  • Gwen

    November 14, 2013 at 8:08 pm Reply

    It would be interesting to see this posted and the word “creative” changed to something else, oh say ACCOUNTANT and post it where accountants will see it and see if they all identify with it. “Yes, YES! I am introverted and extroverted at the same time, that is EXACTLY ME!”

    Maybe they would read it while they are up late taking a break from a spread sheet. I am an artist and I did connect with quite a bit of this, I just wonder if they are things that most of humanity would connect with.

  • I love lists, Friday! – Shutterbean

    November 15, 2013 at 12:00 am Reply

    […] related- Why Creative People Make No Sense. So […]

  • Weekend Links! | Sagebrush Fine Art

    November 15, 2013 at 8:03 am Reply

    […] great blog post on Why Creative People Sometimes Make No […]

  • Visionroot

    November 15, 2013 at 8:42 am Reply

    Wonderful post Matthew, I agree through and through with all your points. Sometimes even for the bearer the creative mind seems a force to be reckoned with, unruly and ridiculous. But even on those bad days, personally, when my mind seems like a raging wilder-beast, I wouldnt trade it for the world.

  • […] Why creative people sometimes make no sense ♥ What you fail is more important than if you fail ♥ Does my business idea have potential? ♥ […]

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    November 15, 2013 at 9:01 am Reply

    […] The ways of creative people–definitely encompasses me […]

  • Trine Malde

    November 15, 2013 at 10:26 am Reply

    Thank you so much for this article. I have just recently figured out myself that I have a very conflicted personality, and I was scared that this would hold me back (I have to do a lot of back and forth with my people to find focus and decisions in my life). To hear that this is simply a consequence of being a creative person makes me, myself and I relax (a bit more than usual). Thank you!

  • Allison

    November 15, 2013 at 11:53 am Reply

    Frankly, I think many types of people including those who don’t work in typically ‘creative’ fields would identify with this list because it’s so general and so ‘balanced’. It made me wonder where did the info from his book come from: observation, intuition, research? Guess I’ll have to read the book

  • mikki

    November 15, 2013 at 12:42 pm Reply

    I thought I was reading my life. At least now I don’t feel so alone in my way of thinking. I often get called a hypocrite because I see things from other perspectives,on one thing. It’s hard explaining things to the people,I’m around, my thought process. Sometimes,I feel supressed. I guess,more like always supressed and stifled.

  • Joshua J Silva

    November 15, 2013 at 2:20 pm Reply

    Oh it feels so nice to know I’m not crazy, and I’m not alone!
    It all makes so much sense, especially the conclusion of, as creative people in order to be understood by most other people, it takes a clear explanation of multiple perspectives. It’s a hard task. I found compensation in having many creative friends on all realms of the spectrum, but it’s not enough to only be able to communicate with like minds.
    In humbleness, thank you for the hope of improvement, and the awareness of our creative community. It’s not easy, but we’re so necessary to our world.

  • […] Why Creative People Sometimes Make No Sense […]

  • Chelle Nevar

    November 15, 2013 at 9:03 pm Reply

    I find the comments are the most hilarious thing I’ve seen in ages. Also, I think the list could be used to describe anyone between the ages of 0 and 99. Every still developing personality I’ve ever encountered for a significant amount of time has hit each point at least once in their life. If you’ve stopped developing as a person, get away from me.

  • […] – Read the full story here […]

  • Wisdom Sikora

    November 16, 2013 at 8:50 pm Reply

    I am a creative and I totally enjoyed this blog. Thank you.

  • 9 secrets of Creative People Axel & Ash

    November 16, 2013 at 11:06 pm Reply

    […] article “Why creative people sometimes make no sense” posted by Matthew Schuler’s blog. We recognised ourselves so much in the traits and intrigued by how sometimes what appears to be a […]

  • Leslie Parke

    November 17, 2013 at 6:13 am Reply

    Best description ever. I discovered how different we are in an anthropology class:

  • Dan M

    November 17, 2013 at 7:13 am Reply

    I think some medication will take care of whatever point you were trying to get across…sounds like some good double talk to me!

  • […] Creative People Sometimes Make No Sense [green_message]Source: [/green_message] Follow me on Facebook at […]

  • Patrick

    November 17, 2013 at 9:19 am Reply

    Matthew Schuler, are you writing a field guide of creative people. I find your writings on creative people to be completely naive. You approach this topic like a pretentious 10 year old girl. Stick to your other job.

    • Horrid Helen

      November 18, 2013 at 7:49 am Reply

      Spot on, Matthew. It appears those who deem themselves ‘creatives’ like to use the most pretentious words they can find. Everyone is a ‘creative’. A toddler with his hands in paint is creative! :-)

  • Ruth

    November 17, 2013 at 9:20 am Reply

    Interesting. recently took one of those right brain/left brain tests on the internet. It determined I was not creative. OK. Of course, I did sculpture and china painting for years prior to a car accident with hand/arm injuries that prevented me from dealing with clay. I did flower arranging from about 2nd grade on; usually picked out the paint colors and furniture arrangements and “stuff” for most of the family. I’ve been chopping up perfectly good fabric and putting it back together again in different designs for the past 3 decades, writing (published) since I was 8. Always thought of myself as “creative”. Computer says “not”. Then I read the dichotomy of “creative” above. Makes more sense than the computer test, has more explanation but says same thing. I am creative, recognize the real world and at various times leap away from it.

  • jay

    November 17, 2013 at 10:02 am Reply

    If creative people sometimes times make no sense, then cows singing anthems is like candy

  • Deatria

    November 17, 2013 at 10:19 am Reply

    This resonates so deeply with me. Thank you, for putting so much into words that maps out my multiplicities. It’s something I re-read, that assists me in diving into who I am, and the joy and blessing of it (rather than feeling cursed and just fucking uncomfortably odd!), further. -Also, if you’re up for contact (I didn’t see a way to subscribe or get in touch with you), I’d like to keep abreast of your work, and perhaps discuss some projects. Love all the writing on here so far, and the openness of it. Also, the photography. My gratitudes, for you being you.

  • Deatria

    November 17, 2013 at 10:36 am Reply

    And oh, sorry, with a brain injury sometimes I just mix things up. Got it that Mr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi wrote it. Still love this and really dig that you posted it, since I hadn’t heard of him. And still dig your photos (Giving Keys). Thanks!

  • […] Via Matthew Schuler […]

  • […] via Matthew Schuler […]

  • tavish bhasin

    November 17, 2013 at 10:45 pm Reply

    As a Copywriter / Musician / Amateur Chef who frequently swings from one end of the spectrum / bipolar / confusion, it feels great to know im not alone and there are other ‘creative’ people out there that are wired the same way.

    Thank you.

  • bernie clarkson

    November 17, 2013 at 11:45 pm Reply

    Some great thoughts on creativity, they’re almost a licence to be braver and keep challenging yourself. Just wiki’d him and there’s definitely some good reasons to read more.
    Lovely blog, very humble, some beautifully made films.

  • jolin

    November 18, 2013 at 1:29 am Reply

    Thank you, Matthew Schuler and company/companies.

    we write alike: somethingcupid.blogspot


  • exitera

    November 18, 2013 at 5:58 am Reply

    That is a great true! We artists are at balance and harmony , thus the result is creation!!! 😉

  • […] no sense […]

  • Horrid Helen

    November 18, 2013 at 7:46 am Reply

    Ergo, the ego!

    I think W. C. Fields stated it well.

    “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.”

  • […] on the the concept of creativity, I ran across a blog post by Matthew Schuler titled “Why Creative People Sometimes Make No Sense“. He discusses Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s book “Creativity: The Work and Lives of […]

  • Bill

    November 18, 2013 at 2:49 pm Reply

    This is so elitist. Everybody has the ability to create. I’d be weary of a study like this. Did he study failed creative people or just successful ones? Did he study creative scientists, cupcake makers, accountants? I’ve never met anyone who wasn’t creative, but I have met a lot of people who were told that they weren’t.

  • […] Why Creative People Sometimes Make No Sense […]

  • Karen

    November 18, 2013 at 9:19 pm Reply

    I know some here are having a hard time with humility in these comments but i have to say that this wasn’t about being a genius or superior, but just feeling a bit more understood. I am completely creating in my head at every moment of my existence and i feel almost as if i were two different people; the logical, introvert and the fantastical, dreamy extrovert. Both sides are completely creating at all times… even in my dreams.

    These traits (as very well defined in this article) makes me seem a bit loony to some people and i feel as if I have to try *very* hard sometimes to be understood. I see a full, world of ideas and possibilities in my mind but only have of those ideas seem to translate to others. I’ve had conversations with co-workers and we all have agreed, at one point or another, that there are clear differences between how very creative people vs very analytic people think and act.

    So, with all humility, this post strongly resonated with me. Sure, anyone can *be* creative if they want (or try) to but there are those who eat, think, feel, live and breathe the creative side *everything*. THIS is who I think this post really speaks to. I feel comforted by a feeling of being understood…. *truly* understood.

  • Prateek

    November 18, 2013 at 10:24 pm Reply

    wow :) Just found out so much about myself through this article today :) Could never really understand what’s ‘wrong’ with me, but its all beginning to make perfect sense to me :) Thank you soo much for this wonderful piece.

  • Are you creative? -

    November 19, 2013 at 3:05 am Reply

    […] In his book Creativity: The Work and Lives of 91 Eminent People, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, seminal professor of Psychology and Management, also the Founding Co-Director of the Quality of Life Research Center at Claremont, writes about nine traits he found in creative people. Matthew Schuler has quoted it in his blog. […]

  • Ginger Oakes

    November 19, 2013 at 8:38 am Reply

    I read a blog or two or watch a video or two for inspiration and contemplation everyday. Creative/artist type people need to take the ME out of how creative they are . Here is a short TED talk that should be watched to the end . . .

    • Patricia Vestevich

      February 17, 2014 at 6:13 am Reply

      Ginger could you tell me the title of the TED talk you’re mentioning above? Thanks !!

  • Joshua Coburn

    November 19, 2013 at 10:25 am Reply

    Well stated and very on point! I can relate on all levels. I am super conservative but extremely tattooed and willing to take risks. This balance (or lack of it) is nailed down well here. Well done.

  • Mike

    November 19, 2013 at 12:00 pm Reply

    I would add another seeming contradiction: uninhibited but also highly critical

  • Alain

    November 19, 2013 at 2:00 pm Reply

    Excellent post that nailed so many thoughts I’ve had over the years, both as a creative person who remains that way into my 60s and as a former suit that managed creative folks and agencies. Well done, Matt. Thanks for that.

  • […] 1. Why creative people sometimes make no sense. What a wonderful blog post explaining Mihaly’s explanation to  this. He pretty much answered all my questions I ever had. I think I will add that book on my sort of wish list or list to read, because it sounds fascinating. And I can finally explain to people that my behaviour is normal… well normal within the making no sense chart of behaviour. […]

  • Contradictions of Creativity

    November 19, 2013 at 3:31 pm Reply

    […] Csikszentmihalyi has listed nine contradictory traits that are frequently present in the dozens of creative people he has studied. The seeming […]

  • Matthew

    November 19, 2013 at 8:06 pm Reply

    I know all these things and am well aware of them. I just wish non-creatives understood these things. I have always been driven by dreams and visions that seem to drive me. I feel that I’m not the one creating, but these things are creating me, like I’m tapping into something greater than myself and beyond mystery. I remember daring to open my mouth about these things once and I tried really hard to use these visions in logical arguments and it creeped people out. Not only could they not understand but they exclaimed how my speech was the most bizarre discourse they had ever heard in their lives. It made me feel very proud and yet completely isolated. Oh well. The fact is, my visions and intuition are bigger than I am. I’m just the messenger. Whether the public understands it or not, is not my responsibility.

  • Lim Meng Lee

    November 19, 2013 at 8:18 pm Reply

    I’m a strong C, C-D, CD personality type and often I can switch within these three distinctive personality type with the dominant C. I’m glad to know there are people out there sharing similar traits. Thanks Matthew.

  • […] It’s days like today when I remember why I have Facebook; every once in a while, someone will share something absolutely genius that I might not have seen otherwise. Today was one of those days. My friend, Paolo Bocchio, shared an amazing blog post on creativity by Matthew Shuler called “Why Creative People Sometimes Makes No Sense.” […]

  • Jenny

    November 19, 2013 at 11:19 pm Reply

    You definitely have me figured out!

  • Friedrich

    November 20, 2013 at 5:39 am Reply

    “One must still have chaos in oneself to give birth to a dancing star.”

  • […] Why Creative People Sometimes Make No Sense […]

  • Matthew

    November 20, 2013 at 10:04 am Reply

    enjoyed very much.. thanks Matthew

  • Azin

    November 20, 2013 at 11:30 am Reply

    Great Article. It’s good to try to EXPLAIN who we are to others, but at the same time we should know that they will never GET it unless they are creative themselves. At some point we have to understand that we are the whole package, the creativity and all the other weird stuff that comes with it. Those who haven’t experienced it will never really understand and it’s ok, The society needs all kinds of people and the creative ones are here to destroy and rebuild both. Thanks for the great article. I believe it will help many, especially teenagers, to accept who they are.

  • Sharon

    November 20, 2013 at 8:51 pm Reply

    Great read & insight! Look foward to reading more of your blog as well as the book you mentioned.

  • Kavita

    November 20, 2013 at 9:17 pm Reply

    I wish I could walk around with this tattooed on my forehead.

  • Michael

    November 21, 2013 at 9:51 am Reply

    “Every man, when he gets quiet, when he becomes desperately honest with himself, is capable of uttering profound truths”

    Its a little hard to generalize such things. Everyone is ” a creative” in one way or another. Some people were just taught to suppress certain ideas, skills, desires. To your point, yes, there is something to be said about those who pursue a life around creativity and personal innovation, however, much of this has to do with socialization and upbringing.

  • Bob

    November 21, 2013 at 11:59 am Reply

    I once thought that say when I was 20 years old I would have lived for (20 years x 365 days =) 730days. Give or take; so that means I would have 730 different personalities.

  • […] across our feeds was about the contradictory nature of creative people. Matthew Shuler points out 9 contradictory traits from a book of interviews by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, of the Quality of Life Research Center. The […]

  • […] Why Creative People Sometimes Make No Sense – Matthew […]

  • is

    November 23, 2013 at 12:24 pm Reply

    I like this, but have to add, I think people who write jingles are both creative & poets & make a lot of sense & cents :)

  • Amanda Farough

    November 23, 2013 at 1:38 pm Reply

    Exquisitely written. It’s difficult to live in between contradictions, especially when the world perceives creativity as almost binary: you either are or you aren’t. But belonging to the creative class — we knowledge workers and artists — is especially strange. Communicating our inner selves so that we don’t look like flakes or come across as sanctimonious is an ongoing challenge. But this? This is a great stepping stone to understanding the inner otherness of being a creative.

  • Chris Armytage

    November 24, 2013 at 12:55 am Reply

    Interesting and well written article. Most artists and creative people are born with high functioning autism. Google “Asperger’s” and see how the ducks line up.

  • terrie

    November 24, 2013 at 6:41 am Reply

    Where is the part that says that true artists almost always have a screw or two loose and usually make the history books only after they are dead?

  • The Dame

    November 24, 2013 at 9:41 am Reply

    I see myself in most of the traits listed…

  • Something Good | A Thousand Shades of Gray

    November 25, 2013 at 7:04 am Reply

    […] candies + kale chips + a sweet potato salad, and The Art of Getting Started Assignments, and Why Creative People Sometimes Make No Sense, and Our American […]

  • Dena

    November 25, 2013 at 12:38 pm Reply

    Thank you for your insight. I feel validated.

  • Marcus

    November 25, 2013 at 1:20 pm Reply

    Hello to all my fellow creatives out there. I found this article very profound as it matches almost exactly the work we do about creatives in my company. Our company teaches organizations how to create mission-perfect teams through intellectual diversity. In our science and language a “creative” is called a Strategist. A Strategist is a person who can give us on-demand creativity. How are they able to do it? It is through an ironic, but very powerful combination of a great strength and a great weakness. The great strength is the Strategists see patterns in life that other people do not see. These patterns lead them to a place “outside the box”….. a creative place. The great weakness is that they are oblivious to protocols….. all forms of protocols. So the proverbial box that we are always talking about,,, it is not as though the Strategist see the box and chose to think outside of it, they don’t even see the box. If you don’t see the box, it is much easier to think outside the box. Of course this “obliviousness” to protocols creates other challenges in life. Strategists have to learn about protocols the hard way. Only 7 to 8% of people are Strategists. A Strategists creativity can exist on any of three different dimensions thinking. Strategists whose creative thinking is centered on the “intuitive” dimension (sensing people and their needs, situations and cultures) will see patterns of talents in people that others do not see. They will see ways to put teams of people together that are very effective and that would not have been considered by others. They will see patterns in the human intellect that others do not see (this is where my creative thinking is centered and this is the business that I am in)). People whose creativity is centered on the “pragmatic” dimension which we also describe as the “now” dimension of thinking will be great creative problem solvers. People whose creativity is centered on the “conceptual” dimension will be very creative in the process of creating systems and plans for the future. The most typical pattern of creativity is to be “Attentive” to creativity on one dimension and to be relatively “inattentive” to creativity on a second dimension. Way less than one percent of human beings are both creative on two dimensions and attentive on both of those dimensions. It is difficult for Strategists to “hang out” with a group of Strategists. We are simply two few for this to happen easily. Since we are the minority in the intellectual world (55% PDs, 25% Networkers, 18% EQs, 7% Strategist), it is difficult to have a community of Strategists. That is why I was so struck by the piece but also by so many of the comments. It is very affirming to know that there are others like us and that we are OK. Unfortunately, the entire education system is “of the PDs, for the PDs and by the PDs who are the 55%”. So, children who are Strategists (as well as Networkers and EQs) do not get the preparation they need for life. Many Strategists kids find themselves thinking at high school graduation: ” I know that I am just as smart as the people going to Harvard and Yale,,, so why am I not going to Harvard or Yale? The answer is that we Strategists and we have a different kind of intelligence. Harvard and Yale and most universities simply don’t know anything about Strategists, and certainly don’t know how to develop our natural strengths.

    This article was sent to me by my daughter who is also a Strategist. Her intellect is very similar to mine. She is a world famous professional wood turner. An artist. Most Strategists are strongly motivated to make art as are my daughter and I,,,, but not all. Creativity can exist without the strong motivation to make art. These people will apply their creativity at work. I will be forever grateful to may daughter for sending me this piece.

    One more thing (I could write a book on this), in the business world where we do most of our work, half of the Strategist, sadly, are hiding. They are hiding because they have become convinced that their company will just slam their creative ideas. So, unfortunately, they are “hiding” as one of the other intellects, and they are typically moody and prickly when they are doing this. The irony is that these same companies are trumpeting to the heavens that: “we need more innovation”. The average Strategist when asked “how frequently does your company use your natural creativity?” answers “Less than 10%”. All for now. Great job!!!

    • Laly Mille

      December 2, 2013 at 11:37 am Reply

      Thanks for sharing this Marcus, very interesting 😉

  • Julie Livermore

    November 25, 2013 at 1:57 pm Reply

    Very interesting, my son sometimes struggles in certain areas at school and I find the teacher’s solution is often to squash the traits that I find so intersting and valuable. I am a photographer, but I find that is a true creative soul!

  • Dar Forsythe

    November 26, 2013 at 3:48 am Reply

    Nice article. Reminds me of….. me!

  • Laura CD

    November 26, 2013 at 8:08 pm Reply

    Thanks for the article, Matthew. I can so identify…I thought I was just weird. Nice to know I have a lot of company. Absolutely love your site and bio. Makes me smile!

  • Mike Searle Art

    November 27, 2013 at 4:57 am Reply

    […] Posted by Mike on November 27th, 2013 at 12:23 pm Matthew Schuler | Why Creative People Sometimes Make No Sense […]

  • ArtIsStupid

    November 27, 2013 at 9:10 am Reply

    I get a little bummed when I read articles about how ‘different’ creative people are, which further leads to the myth and mystification of the creative type. These are qualities that we are all capable of cultivating, among many. I think sometimes this keeps ‘creative’ people detached and in a rut. I don’t think ‘creative’ people often reach their full potential and stay blindly attached to their self-involved stereo-type.

  • John Shafik

    November 28, 2013 at 11:50 pm Reply

    Thank you for putting it into words. Why we make no sense…and yet why we very much do…and see this in each other, recognize it one another. Creativity in all its forms are essential to mankind, but not always understood at the time.

  • Ian Harber

    November 30, 2013 at 6:38 am Reply

    As a creative myself, this is spot on. It’s easy for me to see other perspectives while holding on to my own. I find joy in pain as much as happiness. I enjoy the process. Good stuff. Makes perfect sense to me! But again, I’m a creative haha.

  • Katharine

    November 30, 2013 at 4:29 pm Reply

    #10. Most creatives are married to straight-line logicals. Sighs. And they like it. Sighs.

  • Megan

    December 1, 2013 at 9:14 pm Reply

    Dear Matthew,
    This article is just captivating, and I found myself browsing through your blog, I am an in love with your creative soul. I’m feeling inspired and my brain’s creative mojo is buzzing like crazy. Thank you for writing this!

  • Beachbum

    December 2, 2013 at 6:19 am Reply

    I’m glad I’m not alone… I have to contend with both sides. Being creative and an entrepreneur. Not easy!

  • Nananita

    December 2, 2013 at 8:19 am Reply

    I think art & design majors MUST teach about irresponsibility and the consequences of it as creatives part of a company or freelance lifestyle, they MUST emphasize the importance of being on time for projects, the importance of being organize & having all the elements that are part of the creative process organized, because that way creatives will save time & less confused by the idea that sells that “All creatives are meant to be a mess because that’s part of their nature as creatives” Bs.

  • David Hansard

    December 2, 2013 at 8:33 am Reply

    Someone’s been reading my mail. These observations fit not only me, but almost every creative person I know (mostly authors). The problem is that people such as we don’t fit so well with people such as they, “they” being those others out there who run on different tires in other gears. This includes my ex-wife.

  • crystal

    December 2, 2013 at 8:53 am Reply

    …and why “normal” people make no sense to me.

  • Laly Mille

    December 2, 2013 at 11:44 am Reply

    As creatives we often feel we don’t fit in, that there must be something wrong with who we are, so it is pretty reassuring to find out that we do fit in, just not in the average categories, but in our own. And seeing the number of comments, there might very well be a whole community here.

  • November 18, 2013 | Rhino Design Works

    December 2, 2013 at 7:01 pm Reply

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  • colleen

    December 3, 2013 at 11:38 am Reply

    Seems your post has elicited a whole range of responses. Just wanted to say thanks for starting the conversation.

  • Jennifer Swier

    December 3, 2013 at 2:36 pm Reply

    Thank you for your thoughtful expression. I agree with these observations whole heartedly. Especially one of your last observations that I have become acutely aware that others are helped when I take the time to explain my thought process or feelings and where each (because they are two separate processes existing in one mind) is equally finding expression. Most people do not get this because it is outside their personal life experience.

  • creative dessert

    December 4, 2013 at 7:20 am Reply

    […] art. {I can identify with NINE of them. Hmm.} Now stop procrastinating and go make some art! *Why creative people sometimes make no sense. I wish this info had been around when I was younger and couldn’t understand why I was such a […]

  • Wayne McMichael

    December 4, 2013 at 11:00 am Reply

    Great read, thank you… Creative people think in entirely different “realms” with different motives, different inspiration. This short read is a good synopsis, it seems to me. For me, I think in concepts, relative terms, so my thoughts don’t get categorized like some other folks. It means I will see relationships between the most obscure and unrelated things and subjects.

  • Gabriel

    December 4, 2013 at 2:21 pm Reply

    Creativity with is just processed observation. This is a list that really ANY BODY can relate to. This list is like horoscopes, you agree with traits you want to be associated with. “Creative” is just a label people use to give themselves to feel worth.

  • akmoonbeam

    December 4, 2013 at 2:53 pm Reply

    These points sum up my personality in a nutshell, thanks! Great and well-written article, sir.

  • Rebecca

    December 4, 2013 at 3:42 pm Reply

    hey ~ I just noticed your name is the same as the vocalist that just left “The Voice”….thought it may have been you. Your blog is one of the few that I check out regularly. And incidentally, the photograph helped! Very intriguing and I noticed you DID give credit right underneath the photo. So, not sure why Sophia was so bent out of shape….Just sayin’

  • Inspiration Source #015 | Celena Masek

    December 5, 2013 at 1:55 am Reply

    […] Why Creative People Sometimes Make No Sense  – Matthew Schuler This article was encouraging to read, and I related with it quite a bit. It helped me feel more understood as an artist and designer. […]

  • Vicky

    December 5, 2013 at 7:50 am Reply

    Articles like this provide confirmation for creative thinkers that WE ARE NOT ALONE and give the ones we love and that love us a bit more understanding. : ) Thank you. <3

  • Tammi

    December 5, 2013 at 1:37 pm Reply

    It’s like someone read my mind and put it on paper. I LOVE this. Thank you for sharing!

  • […] This article explains Why Creative People Sometimes Make No Sense […]

  • Chris Gamble

    December 10, 2013 at 6:08 am Reply

    Would like to see the scientific research evidence to support this hypothesis which essentially says creative people are anything and everything, analytical and creative. Oh yes, then so are non creative people or are all people both creative and non creative?

  • […] quiz before, this one from iPersonic, may be enlightening.  Then, there was a study about Why Creative People Make No Sense.  That made me feel so much better about myself.  Hopefully, it will clarify some things for you […]

  • December’s Link Roundup | Temperance

    December 12, 2013 at 10:31 am Reply

    […] Why creative people make no sense. See also: my life. […]

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  • EJ

    December 13, 2013 at 12:20 pm Reply

    great to know that I wasn’t the only one!

  • Cordelia

    December 13, 2013 at 12:27 pm Reply

    I love this blog. Insightful and though-provoking. Have shared it on Facebook. Thank you!

  • Lucas Bois

    December 14, 2013 at 2:40 pm Reply

    I identified myself sometimes. = ]

  • […] recently stumbled upon this blog post by Matthew Schuler, and it struck a chord with me. As both a creative myself, and as the […]

  • Michelle D'costa

    December 18, 2013 at 8:33 am Reply


  • Eva schilder

    December 20, 2013 at 2:13 pm Reply

    Thank you for this wonderful and precise description aof a creative mind which really struck ALL chords in me! In my case, I could gain this creative part of mine after a burn- out after that I finally headed towards South America. which had been my desire for decades. And there I finally made it true which had been my deep wish for such a long time… true communication, bondings and finally liberation by doing what had always been deep inside of me.. Music.. came out of my heart, I was singing and in harmony with nature and people!* After that I have been making three Cds with South American music, and I am going on with it , here in Europe, trying to say thank you to my great friends who were listening to me, realising and enhancing my real potential. In a song composed for me at my departure the lyrics were “A bit naive, a bit artistique, with a special charme, so sensitive and tender, imposible to forget” …
    Many peolple , however, cannot grasp this – what they think, is a “crazy” attidtude… but I have really been very pleased to read this accurate description of an artistic mind. Actually, we are more than everybody thinks.. in a book about over-senstive people I once read that it is 20% of the population who are labeled like that… poor children that are pressed into today¨s school system…

  • Ernesto

    December 25, 2013 at 10:07 am Reply

    In this study as in many others, there is a huge neglect of other fields of creativity, say those byond the intelectual filed (always seeing in a worng way as the archetype of creativity , which is absolutly wrong) what about the creativity of farmers, bricklayers, carpenters, and other workers that produce quite useful things and pave the way for intelectual achievements? I would reject this study as absolutely biased.

  • craig

    December 26, 2013 at 12:17 pm Reply

    Interesting article. Although i would like to be a creative person (as I admire what they can create), I realize that i’m not truly creative…but that’s okay because i’d rather focus my efforts on things that i am much better suited for.

    I have no problem with that realization. I also realize i’ll never play in the NBA, and i’m okay with that too.

    I would much rather know i’m not creative rather than spend a frustrating number of years trying to be and not having the unbiased, self-introspection to know i’m not a creative type. I sleep just fine with that info and my life is richer because of the true creatives out there.

  • […] Well, yeah, but in a good way.  There are nine reasons why. […]

  • […] Matthew Schuler writes:  I’ve been having an insightful shuffle through Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s book Creativity: The Work and Lives of 91 Eminent People. Mihaly is a seminal professor of Psychology and Management, and is the Founding Co-Director of the Quality of Life Research Center at Claremont. He writes: […]

  • Nubia

    December 26, 2013 at 2:37 pm Reply

    I love this information. I am going to order this book. I feel so understood now. I usually feel like people don’t get me and that it is hard to explain because there are so many dimensions to it/me.

  • bro

    December 26, 2013 at 3:09 pm Reply

    Wow. I never realized just how high the regard was in which so-called creatives hold themselves. I am so creative, man, and thanks for validating both my creative spirit and my parking ticket! Now, if I could just figure out how to monetize all of this geniusness…

  • MarkJ

    December 26, 2013 at 3:18 pm Reply

    Jeez, most, if not all, of the above criteria describing “creative people” could just as easily apply to Hitler, Stalin, and Mao.

    Terrifying thought, huh?

  • Sardondi

    December 26, 2013 at 10:23 pm Reply

    Heh. Another “list” in which the creator and favorable commentors knock themselves out agreeing that they are being described.

  • […] recommend reading the list of 9 contradictory traits that are frequently present in creative people. The one that resonated the most, for me, […]

  • Joshua Goymer

    December 27, 2013 at 7:36 am Reply

    I think that creativity is a funny word, because most things in life need it. An illustrator coming up with ideas for a new book, a chef trying to make a new dish, a taxi driver planning a faster new route, a mathematician trying to solve the problem. You catch my drift- I just think that creativity is just being able to come up with the answer to the question.

  • Andreas Ramos

    December 27, 2013 at 9:36 am Reply

    “Creative” doesn’t mean “artistic” in the loose sense. Csikszentmihalyi is looking into the 1%. The 1/9/90 distribution rule shows that 1% create and lead a field; 9% comment or discuss the work of the 1%; and 90% are followers (the exact distribution differs by fields; the leaders can range from 0.5% to 3%). These are the people who create and lead in a field (engineering, medicine, physics, music, etc.)

    The 1% write the books, the music, the formulas, the equations, and so on that define the field. They also determine the future direction of the field by their interests and research (this also means they determine which areas won’t be developed or investigated by simply not pursuing those paths.) This has been known and studied since the 1930s and there’s quite a bit of research in this.

  • Amanda

    December 27, 2013 at 11:55 am Reply

    Creative people know how to break free from technology at times. You might want to check Dr. Luis Almeida’s TEDx talk titled Breaking Free from technology. If you type breaking free from technology on google, it is either the first or second link. You won’t regret seeing it.

  • Kyle Kane

    December 27, 2013 at 5:26 pm Reply

    It’s nice to know there are others out there. It’s comforting to know that we are not alone.

  • Robin Ann Barron

    December 27, 2013 at 5:31 pm Reply

    Not at all sure that there are “creative people” as differentiated from “not-creative people. We are all creative. The notion of “real creativity” being defined as commercially successful and/or famous and celebrated is a marketing construct, period.

  • Kelsey

    December 27, 2013 at 7:14 pm Reply

    This is beautiful. Thank you.

  • rhetters

    December 27, 2013 at 9:14 pm Reply

    This post is terrible and wonderful.

  • […] Blumen und Kaffeetassen virtuell blättern * wie gerne hätte ich ein Hirschbettbild. * gut zu wissen, warum man manchmal keinen Sinn macht * die schönste und schlüssigste Antwort, warum es Kinder […]

  • Swarez

    December 28, 2013 at 4:52 am Reply

    Suddenly all the traits I see of myself as a person and a creative make sense. After piecing together fragments of my years to make sense of who I am and why I am here I finally have a handle on everything.

    Thankyou for this life-changing and positive reaffirming post.

  • inta G

    December 28, 2013 at 7:42 am Reply

    thank you for post. i always struggled with my “being different in society” and specially with being smart and naive at the same time. Sounds like my behavior just proves my creativity. :) thank you and happy New Year!

  • Thomas

    December 28, 2013 at 8:53 am Reply

    A breathe of fresh air out of the calm breeze of morning waking. How often do I feel a wanderer in this plane. And then a crossroads arrives and my soul is reflected back to me. Gratitude sir. Be well.

  • Rebecca

    December 28, 2013 at 9:15 am Reply

    I do not think iconoclastic means what you think it means.

  • Kristi

    December 28, 2013 at 9:22 am Reply

    Well, I must thank you for this! I really did think I was just incredibly strange most my life! Hadn’t thought it might be something else… ^_^ All this rings true. I’m excited to find something that makes sense! <3

  • BBbetty

    December 28, 2013 at 9:57 am Reply

    I don’t think about where or how or even why creativity happens all that much. Which is just the opposite of how I deal with life situations. You see, I’m a little superstitious and prefer to, “let it happen,” without questioning my muse. If I start to write something, and that something pleases me or makes me laugh or cry then I figure, “Ya got something here kid, keeping going.” But I will agree I have strong tendencies towards introversion yet can sometimes seem like the life of the party. Seems, to me that is, because maybe everybody else simply thinks I’m drunk or annoying or over caffeinated. Anyhoo, my creativity does come from observing people and situations. And, sometimes it comes from anger or amusement over those same people and situations. One small thing can strike a spark and I’m off and writing. One does have to be in touch with a deeper well in order to drink from it. And, it seems to me that most of the creatives I’ve met, at least the ones working on truly intricate or unusual projects, do suffer and do have days of darkness. Then, some good thing happens and they are elated and dancing through the living room. It’s an interesting way to be and live. Money has nothing to do with it. Most of the time, it’s for the love of creating and perhaps showing a part of yourself to the world.

  • […] In most people, the word "creativity" pops up images like a wide open plane, a white room with no furniture or a man with unruly attire staring into space. Well, thanks to the television media, this kind of stereotype has become quite synonymous to creativity and creative individuals. […]

  • RalfLippold

    December 28, 2013 at 1:12 pm Reply

    Many thanks – well said, and I have found myself.

  • […] via Matthew Schuler | Why Creative People Sometimes Make No Sense. […]

  • mar

    December 28, 2013 at 2:07 pm Reply

    creativity is a continous process, it makes an individual smart , makes her/him busy all the time.
    i like the blog.

  • Shahriar

    December 28, 2013 at 2:18 pm Reply

    Very subjective debate but an interesting read nonetheless. Thank you for sharing.

  • Norene

    December 28, 2013 at 2:23 pm Reply

    Just curious, you don’t see the name Schuler often, that is my maiden name. Spelled the same. Which is even more unusual, you aren’t by chance a relative? North Dakota lineage? Just curious…..

  • David

    December 28, 2013 at 2:33 pm Reply

    Well this explains a lot!

  • Cathy Baylor

    December 28, 2013 at 10:32 pm Reply

    I think labeling someone as a “creative,” and thus labeling others by exclusion as “non-creative ,” perpetuates a skewed and incorrect view of the Human Condition. We all have the capacity to be creative; some of us are just better at recognizing and tapping into our creative impulses. This Incorrect labeling is also harmful: there are those among us who have labeled themselves as “un creative” and consequently are selling themselves short. When this happens we all lose.

  • Riskymark

    December 29, 2013 at 12:33 am Reply

    How can we make us creatives fit better, more constructively into organisations, without losing, strangling our creativity?

  • Nine Things | Inkfever

    December 29, 2013 at 2:03 am Reply

    […] Nine traits of creative people. This is, somewhat surprisingly, a very insightful article that made me sit back, smiling, and give […]

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    December 29, 2013 at 2:42 am Reply

    […] Schuler fa una lista di 9 tratti apparentemente contraddittori che individua nelle persone creative: Why Creative People Sometimes Make No Sense. […]

  • andyc

    December 29, 2013 at 2:52 am Reply

    Poor science behind the article, no wonder people see horoscope like aspects behind it. “Creative” people like it because the findings are all vague and positive, yet reinforce their self image. It’s easy to prove the fallacy to yourself by instead replacing “creative” with a more negative connotation and seeing if the article seems wrong. For example you can quite easily replace it with “self obsessed narcissist” and it’s still hard to disagree with the points raised, even though most people who agree with the article would not self-identify with such a term.

  • margie

    December 29, 2013 at 4:35 am Reply

    I REALLY enjoyed this blog post. I don’t normally read blogs either. Gave some order to the chaos that is me hahaha :-) Thanks Matthew

  • celia milton

    December 29, 2013 at 5:39 am Reply

    Interesting, spot on, and well timed. Thank you.

  • Sarah

    December 29, 2013 at 7:00 am Reply

    juice squirts in my eye I’d rather it onto my canvas

  • lori mcnee

    December 29, 2013 at 7:55 am Reply

    I came upon this post while researching about creativity for my own blog, and found your article really interesting. The art spirit is complex and I found the list of contradictory traits quite insightful . I look forward to reading Mihaly’s book.

  • Shannon Cameron

    December 29, 2013 at 9:28 am Reply

    So that’s what is going on…

  • Shannon Cameron

    December 29, 2013 at 9:29 am Reply

    So that’s what is going on….

  • […] this morning I read Mathew Schuler’s post, Why Creative People Sometimes Make No Sense and thought, WOW! Exactly! Then I started to read through the comments, and thought, […]

  • bc

    December 29, 2013 at 12:08 pm Reply

    great stuff and quite an encouragement

  • bc

    December 29, 2013 at 12:10 pm Reply

    great stuff really encouraging

  • […] LINK […]

  • jodi

    December 29, 2013 at 7:24 pm Reply

    enjoyed reading and feeling connected to this!! thank you just at the perfect time!!

  • ana

    December 29, 2013 at 11:48 pm Reply

    I can relate 101% to this, and I am an artist

  • Joe

    December 30, 2013 at 7:46 am Reply

    I’m rather dumbfounded with this blog. I’m reluctant to call myself an artist but I have been accused of being creative. Problem solving has been my forte also. This blog made perfect sense and is so true.

  • JohnnyT

    December 30, 2013 at 1:02 pm Reply

    The comments I’ve read are excellent.

    Remember also — creatives have quick and limber minds, and one of the reasons we don’t make sense is that we ENJOY not making sense. Especially when we’re around dull or inflexible people. I love it when I do something weird — or senseless — and other people just shake their heads, not comprehending in the least.

  • Cinzia

    December 30, 2013 at 3:09 pm Reply

    I’m an artist: your post makes perfect sense! Thanks for sharing! :-)

  • Patrick

    December 30, 2013 at 5:34 pm Reply

    Most of this is vague and misleading. All of these traits mean nothing without the discipline to bring them to fruition. I have been ADD or whatever for 58 years. I have been teaching in Higher Ed and producing professionally (commercially and aesthetically) for 35 of those years. At the end of the day it is very simply this – get the work done and do not harm anyone, mentally or physically in the process. Stop driving people nuts in the process because you are a creative and just get whatever it is you want accomplished – well accomplished.
    There is no excuse for rudeness – O.D.D. or bipolar or whatever. I have a mental illness all people in the arts have some form of it, that is why we went down the path we did. We do not think like other people – we chose the arts because it made sense to us. In the bizarre explanation – that is the arts.

  • a blog @ creative people | a new thing

    December 30, 2013 at 9:49 pm Reply

    […] a blog @ creative people […]

  • danny beard

    December 31, 2013 at 1:41 am Reply


  • Jim Pemberton

    December 31, 2013 at 4:44 pm Reply

    For an article titled “Why Creative People Sometimes Make No Sense” it goes a long way to demonstrating how much sense they actually do make. I find that non-creative people simply have difficulty following the sense that creative people use to be creative.

  • Michelle

    December 31, 2013 at 10:11 pm Reply

    I have always felt like a contradiction, and a paradox!. My thought processes have never been linear, and I have suffered my entire life with depression and a sickening awareness! After 50 years I am finally told this is part of the creative process…and I simply thought all these years I was a big fxxking screwball!!!

  • Michelle

    December 31, 2013 at 10:24 pm Reply

    After reading many of the comments, it’s very apparent to me who the truly creative individuals are, as opposed to the truly non-creative. Those of you who try so hard to be original, and prove your intellectual prowess, are exhausting!!!!

  • Wilde ideeën en leesvoer (187)

    January 2, 2014 at 8:11 am Reply

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  • […] to read general things and assume they apply. Whenever I read something vaguely horoscope-like (this article, for instance, should have the word “creative” removed from the title so it just says “Why […]

  • cecilia

    January 3, 2014 at 5:07 am Reply

    thank you Matthew for the post and sarah for the interesting picture which accompanies it. I enjoyed revisiting this information. Being creative is a lot of hard work and organisation to allow space for those rare and wonderful sparks that occur. :)

  • […] you ever wonder why creative people sometimes make no sense? The article made sense to […]

  • Colin McCrea

    January 3, 2014 at 7:49 pm Reply

    Man, you need to write more often. I note this blog entry has elicited a lot more response than earlier ones, but I have read the earlier ones and find them incredibly insightful. Most of us spend at least some time ‘wandering in the wilderness’ and so can really identify with your musings. I think from time to time many have moments of incredible clarity but they soon pass and are forgotten if we don’t write them down. (usually happens in the middle of the night or in the moments between sleeping and waking) I, for one, will be watching to see if you care to share further insights.

  • […] Personified may be odd among the general population, it is not so among creative folks. In "Why Creative People Sometimes Make No Sense," Matthew Schuler cites nine examples of the "contradictory traits" often present in […]

  • Carol

    January 3, 2014 at 8:11 pm Reply

    Many people describe me as creative and that’s how I see myself, but I’m not an artist. I’m a teacher. Let me tell you, it is so difficult being a creative teacher. I get the hairy eyeball every day. Most just think I’m crazy.

  • Busy Mama » The Weekend Edition

    January 3, 2014 at 9:54 pm Reply

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  • Shers Gallagher

    January 4, 2014 at 4:02 am Reply

    Dear Matthew,
    I was one of those kids who early on wondered if I was adopted, half my family being Irish (Gallagher) and the other German (Schuler). Perhaps it’s in the genes that comes out of 3% of our racial roots. Perhaps it’s just embedded in the soul. Who knows? I love your blog and thoughts on all your projects. Keep on keeping on!

  • Tristan King

    January 4, 2014 at 4:33 pm Reply

    I enjoyed this article. It made me smile and appreciate being a creative. Thank you

  • Eileen Blodgett's

    January 5, 2014 at 9:44 am Reply

    We are all very complex . After reading this interesting blog and comments, I felt both buoyed and a bit sad. I felt a bit sad because I was reminded that not all people speak the language as “creatives”. Why should we have all the fun and permission to think outside the box? Then again, I felt comforted to see that there are others who have so many ideas that it could, indeed, take several personalities to manifest those ideas.
    Is it wrong to think, hope, that all human beings have the sleeping “creative” living within them?

  • mexiflor

    January 9, 2014 at 4:48 pm Reply

    I liked reading the article until I read the comments beneath that categorized a ‘Creative’ as an advertising exec or a marketing person. So is this article about the sensitivity of ad execs? Or artists, are artists and creatives different species. I’m not really familiar with the term ‘creative’.

  • Randall Richard Rogers

    January 10, 2014 at 4:45 am Reply

    A dear friend sent this link to me yesterday. I read it and experienced a profound range of feelings. I feel that as humans we have three responsibilities. First, to see the dots. Second, to connect the dots as creatively as we are able. Finally, to do something with those connections. These are the dots I saw. . .

    From the time I was a small child, I felt different. It seemed like every direction I looked, I saw the world differently than those around me. I drew all the time. As a young boy, I was sensitive, was not afraid of girls and loved reading. I was okay with being different, but, being different also seemed to mean being lonely. It also seemed to equate to being taunted and made fun of. Reading this post at 54, reminded me a lot of being different in the schoolyard at 10.

    The kinds of experience I am describing taught me one thing well, to hide. Hide myself, my feelings, my truths. It has taken most of 54 years to come clean about that. Much of that time I had relationship trouble, and wrestled with self-doubt. Still sometimes wonder if I am crazy. Most of those taunters through grade school, college and eventually life; had a word for me, but, it took forty-five years for me to be willing to apply it to myself. Its a funny word. . . artist.

    I prefer the word ‘artist’ to the word ‘Creative’, which has been commoditized like so many things we used to value. There is a connection to be made between Creativity and courage. Brene Brown speaks most elequently about in her TED talk on vulnerability. Are we all ‘creatives’ or ‘artists’, it is possible, I do not know. What I do know is that the voices I saw here that were most willing to be authentic and vulnerable and speak their truth have got it for sure. Perhaps those voices that carried the Rage and Indignation and Fear I read also have it but, are not willing to be vulnerable enough to share it? I realized last night, in the wee hours, that the only other place I have seen Rage expressed in this way was when people used to make fun of gays.

    -Randall Richard Rogers

  • […] Why Creative People Sometimes Make No Sense Matthew Schuler […]

    • n.

      January 11, 2014 at 9:20 pm Reply

      I’ve always been described as complex by everyone else. Ive also always known they were right, for I would say the same. Amazing to see such an accurate description, rather like a mirror image, a most concise portrait. If ever asked to describe myself the first word is always ” creative”.
      And gets more difficult from there without sounding really strange. I am all that you described in this article. Totally freeing seeing it so well written. Thank you.

    • n.

      January 11, 2014 at 9:27 pm Reply

      I’ve always been described as complex by everyone else. Ive also always known they were right, for I would say the same. Amazing to see such an accurate description, rather like a mirror image, a most concise portrait. If ever asked to describe myself the first word is always ” creative”, I have always been an artist first, though most people dont understand that, so I stick with creative.
      And gets more difficult from there without sounding really strange. I am all that you described in this article. Totally freeing seeing it so well written. Thank you.

  • n.

    January 11, 2014 at 9:18 pm Reply

    I’ve always been described as complex by everyone else. Ive also always known they were right, for I would say the same. Amazing to see such an accurate description, rather like a mirror image, a most concise portrait. If ever asked to describe myself the first word is always ” creative”.
    And gets more difficult from there without sounding really strange. I am all that you described in this article. Totally freeing seeing it so well written. Thank you.

  • Someone Else

    January 13, 2014 at 3:50 pm Reply

    so true. but sometimes i’m stumped if it’s really because i am creative or just an unfortunate weirdo.

    nice post.

  • […] and mental behavior — whether harmful or helpful — is often attributed to their innate right-brained nature. In his book Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention, author Mihaly […]

  • Narjas

    January 19, 2014 at 6:24 am Reply

    Insightfulpost that explains A Lot! Stark truths to look out for and temper perhaps (re: extreme focus and ignoring people). Please keep writing Matthew. Can you do procrastination next? Or as I like to put it: “research”.
    Anticipatingly yours, Narjas

  • Narjas

    January 19, 2014 at 6:31 am Reply

    Insightful post that explains so much. Stark realities to face up to, and to celebrate! Could we have ‘procrastination’ next, in response to your bit about burning the midnight oil? Or as I like to call it: research…
    ~ {Keep Writing}

  • […] Matthew Schuler | Why Creative People Sometimes Make No Sense […]

  • Marilyn Jean Norman

    January 25, 2014 at 4:04 pm Reply

    Thank your for your post. I felt as though I was defended and clarified simultaneously.

  • Brent Welch

    January 27, 2014 at 6:36 pm Reply

    An amazing article! I saw myself all through here. Give me time and you will see my greatness!

  • […] Do people often give you quizzical looks? Perhaps you should send them this article about how creative people sometimes make no sense. Explanation […]

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  • Lisa Cunningham

    February 9, 2014 at 1:21 am Reply

    So wonderful to have found a page full of comments from like-minded creative crazy people like myself. Here was me thinking my “nuttiness” and my creativity were quite distinct personality traits. But, apparently, they go together. Yay!

  • creative souls | La Bon Bon Vie

    February 13, 2014 at 12:32 am Reply

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  • Kristian Lengyel

    May 14, 2014 at 4:47 am Reply

    This is just fantastic! Thank you!

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    May 24, 2014 at 11:24 pm Reply

    Aw, this was a really good post. Taking a few minutes
    and actual effort to create a top notch article… but what can I say… I put things off a lot and don’t seem to get anything done.

  • Mary Taitt

    June 11, 2014 at 4:51 am Reply

    Excellent article, very interesting and on target!

  • […] A very interesting blog post: Why Creative People Sometimes Make No Sense  […]


    June 26, 2014 at 12:05 pm Reply

    You’re so awesome! I do not suppose I’ve read anything like that before.
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  • […] Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s book Creativity: The Work and Lives of 91 Eminent People gives nine balanced traits which are on display in great creatives (via Matthew Schuler): […]

  • […] one of them, entitled Why Creative People Make No Sense.  I’ve saved this for some time, actually forgot about it until the other day, then […]

  • […] on his blog about a book called: “Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention” […]

  • […]  9. Most creative people’s openness and sensitivity exposes them to a large amount of suffering and pain, but joy and life in the midst of that suffering. “Perhaps the most important quality, the one that is most consistently present in all creative individuals, is the ability to enjoy the process of creation for its own sake. Without this trait, poets would give up striving for perfection and would write commercial jingles, economists would work for banks where they would earn at least twice as much as they do at universities, and physicists would stop doing basic research and join industrial laboratories where the conditions are better and the expectations more predictable.” Original post by Mathew Schler […]

  • Sheri

    November 19, 2014 at 8:33 am Reply

    Thank you, this article is a breath of fresh air and your writing is beautiful.

  • […] read a blog by Matthew Schuler recently where he talks about nine characteristics of creative people.  I thought I’d see how many of them ring true for […]

  • Strange As You | Eyes + Words

    April 13, 2015 at 12:50 pm Reply

    […]  Photography by Matthew Schuler […]

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  • […] Reblogged from Matthew Schuler […]

  • […] around all these different thoughts, Chris passed along a link for a piece he’d recently read: “Why Creative People Sometimes Make No Sense” by a fellow named Matthew Schuler. “This explains me,” Chris said, a little forebodingly. I […]

  • World Class Rascal

    September 12, 2015 at 2:47 pm Reply

    Very good article, and too true! It’s good to know that I’m not the only one who can get a little kooky when it comes to creativity. It’s stuff like this I feel that really brings us artists together. Our quirkiness is something that should be celebrated, not looked down on. It’s what fuels our creative desires!

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