As I sat in the audience at the Mostly Mozart Festival in New York this past summer entranced by the beauty of this master’s music, I wondered: why are some people are more creative than others?
Mozart astoundingly composed over 600 operas, concertos and other works in his brief life. He wrote his first piece at age 5 and died at 35. Where did his creativity come from?
Free to Imagine
I was inspired to write about this by an article in the festival program by Scott Barry Kaufman, a psychologist and Director of the Imagination Institute at the University of Pennsylvania. He writes that scientists have confirmed that the personality trait “openness to experience” is a potent contributor to creative thinking and achievement.
Those who are high in this attribute, he writes, tend to be imaginative, curious, perceptive…and driven to explore their inner worlds of ideas
Creative people don’t follow a linear path. They have “messy minds” with the ability to mix and match ideas. In the video below, he says creatives know when to be mindful and observant of their surroundings, while also knowing when to follow their otherworldly dreams.
They look beyond what is and dream of what could be. They have a vision of reality that doesn’t exist. That’s called imagination.
Willing to Make Mistakes
Another essential trait of creative people is their willingness to make mistakes and experience a lot of trial and error. Take a look at the video before reading further.
Too often the focus is on the bottom line. It won’t take long for a new employee to learn the culture of a company and its tolerance for risk, which means not always coming up with the right solution the first time around.
If you’re an entrepreneur, didn’t you go into business so that you could do things “my way?” Yet, it isn’t easy to dream big and make the big mistakes that eventually can lead to a breakthrough for your business. Time is money and maybe you don’t have enough of either to let your messy mind run free.
Getting back to Mozart, most of us will never match his genius. There are very few special people like him in music or any other endeavor. For all his creativity, though, Mozart managed his money badly and died with a load of debt.
Even a creative genius like Mozart had to worry about paying the bills, like other mere mortals.