We all have preconceived notions about what it means to be creative – we picture the paint-splattered artist, the mad scientist, the wunderkind wearing flip flops in the boardroom. But creativity goes beyond what is commonly believed – people aren’t just born creative or not, and not all creative people are artsy. David B. Goldstein, co-author of “Creative You: Using Your Personality Type to Thrive” debunks some common myths about creativity.

Myth 1: Creativity Only Occurs Outside Your Comfort Zone

Wrong! Goldstein says that for the majority of people, creativity “comes from finding our comfort zone and standing in it.” In fact, many people find stepping outside their comfort zone to reduce their creativity – uncomfortable people are less likely to take risks, and risks are often what lead to the best ideas.

Myth 2: Brainstorming or Bust!

While extroverts may have great success generating ideas in groups, brainstorming sessions can put undue pressure on introverts, making them less likely to speak up. For many people, working quietly alone is what allows their mind to wander onto new paths. Basically, find the setting that works for you!

Myth 3: Creativity = Spontaneity

Everyone knows that if you plan something out ahead of time, it just can’t be creative, right? Tell that to street artist Banksy, or flash mob organizers, or Henri Matisse! Giving yourself a framework gives you the freedom to experiment within it, along with goals to help you along your way.

Myth 4: You’re Only Creative if You Invent Something New

Creativity isn’t always about invention – often its about combining existing things in new, exciting ways. Steve Jobs didn’t invent the computer, but his innovation helped shape the way we think about technology today.

Myth 5: If You Didn’t Complete It, You Failed

Some believe that without a finished product, you have not succeeded. But what about those who work on a project for a lifetime, constantly adding and improving to it? Would you call computer programmers uncreative because they make updates to their systems? Or would you think that they’ve realized it could work even better, and therefore keep adding to it? Goldstein explains that these “perceivers” prefer “endless modifying, editing, repainting, and revisiting, since there is an unlimited and continuous flow of data to consider.”

To read more about Goldstein’s theories of creativity and personality, read the full Huffington Post article here.

Image Credit: LaurMG