The Truly Creative Individual

I recently began reading Why Fly? A Philosophy of Creativity” by E. Paul Torrance. I had originally set out with the goal of reviewing the book, but since it is comprised of a collection of essays that span the course of several years, I believe that the best course of action will be to pull relevant material from it. I may do a general review after I finish it.

I came across this quote last night during my reading, and it struck me because I saw myself so perfectly in it. I have to share it to see if anyone else is struck the same way:

Because they can’t stop thinking, [creative] teachers don’t stop working with a forty hour week. The supervisor who cannot tolerate an independent spirit will find it difficult to direct or rigidly channel the energies of the creative teacher, who becomes completely absorbed in his or her work and sometimes equates supervision with interference. Anyone who tries to suggest a change in the work or a creative person just as she is finishing a job may be inviting an explosion. The work at that point is as much a part of the worker as her vital organs…

The truly creative teacher does not work for status or power; he has no desire to be principal or superintendent. He works in order to live with himself: the freedom to create is his greatest reward. Occasionally, he may prefer to work alone; he may insist on setting his own pace. The mind needs an incubation period of seeming inactivity to hatch ideas. Since creativity involves divergent thinking, we can expect the creative teacher to express ideas that differ from our own and from some of education’s time-honored practices. Furthermore, since he cares nought for power, he is unlikely to change his thinking in order to curry favor with his superiors. He may be difficult to hold to routine and become restless under conventional restraint. We works best when dealing with difficult, challenging problems or when engrossed in a project that is his “baby.” There will be times when he will defy precedent. He may try a new idea without official permission.

Does anyone else see themselves in this description? I had chalked a lot of these characteristics up as character flaws. Who knew that they were indicative of a creative spirit? Torrance would know; he has been studying creativity for years.

creative individual

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