Notes For Creators

creative soul surfing

That arrogance you think you perceive may simply be someone in creation mode

Another consequence of limited attention is that creative individuals are often considered odd  or even arrogant, selfish, and ruthless.

It is important to keep in mind that these are not traits of creative people, but traits that the rest of us attribute to them on the basis of our perceptions. When we meet a person who focuses all of his attention on physics or music and ignores us and forgets our names, we call that person “arrogant” even though he may be extremely humble and friendly if he could only spare attention from his pursuit.

If that person is so taken with his domain that he fails to take our wishes into account we call him “insensitive” or “selfish” even though such attitudes are far from his mind.

Similarly, if he pursues his work regardless of other people’s plans, we call him “ruthless.” Yet it is practically impossible to learn a domain deeply enough to make a change in it without dedicating all of one’s attention to it and thereby appearing to be arrogant, selfish, and ruthless to those who believe they have a right to the creative person’s attention.

From Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

Part of the What creators do series.

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