In this great article by Tim Leberecht (for CNN, Fortune & Money, Dec. 2012), the author points out 12 traits (usually) found in artists, which any individual who aspires to make his or her mark should emulate.
1. Artists are "neophiles" (in love with novelty)
2. Artists are humanists (experts of the human condition)
3. Artists are craftspeople (they think my making)
4. Artists are like children (retaining the sense of possibilities)
5. Artists rely on their intuition (to anticipate trends)
6. Artists are comfortable with ambiguity (not everything can be captured in quantitative terms)
7. Artists are holistic, interdisciplinary thinkers
8. Artists thrive under constraints
9. Artists are great storytellers
10. Artists are conduits, not "masters of the universe"
11. Artists are passionate about their work
12. Artists are contrarians (they see what's missing)