Word Rummage

February 9, 2011

Date: February 9, 2011

Word:  Complexity

Merriam-Webster Definitions:

1: something complex
2: the quality or state of being complex

1a: composed of two or more parts: composite…
2: hard to separate, analyze, or solve


Psychology professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi sums up the creative mind with one word: complexity. He explains that creative people live in “contradictory extremes.”  

What does this mean?

Well, Csikszentmihalyi gives several examples in his article. He notes that creative people tend to exude energy yet rest often.

Who me?

He also notes that they may be both smart and naïve.

What are you looking at?

They may be playful, yet disciplined, responsible, yet irresponsible.

Csikszentmihalyi suggests that creative people may alternate between fantasy and reality.


They may be simultaneously humble and proud.

Seriously, why are you staring at me?

Creative types may be androgynous, exhibiting the strengths of both genders.

They may be both rebellious and conservative.


They can be passionate, yet objective, about their work.  

I don’t know anyone like this.

Lastly, Csikszentmihalyi points out they may also be sensitive, experiencing both pain and joy.

I know I’m personally not like this at all… Okay, okay, throw stones if you must.

Do you conform to Csikszentmihalyi’s description? Or do you contradict it?

Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly. “The Creative Personality: Ten Paradoxical Traits of the Creative Personality.” http://talentdevelop.com/articles/TCPTPT.html.

Find me on Twitter: @hbur3234


2 Responses to “Word Rummage”

  1. Whitney Says:

    Though I hesitate to admit to some of those traits, I’m afraid I am a walking example of Csikszentmihalyi’s description. I believe “creativity” stems from contradictory extremes.

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