How To Build Your Creative Confidence


How To Build Your Creative Confidence

“Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.” — Albert Einstein

I was watching a TED Talk a colleague shared with me.

It’s David Kelley on how to build your creative confidence.

It’s a little video with a lot of insight.

David Kelly is on a mission.  After a run-in with cancer, he found his calling.  The thing he most wants to do in life is — help as many people as possible, regain their creative confidence they lost along their way.

Confidence Spills Over

While watching the video, it validated a theme in my life and that I’ve seen in others.  When we find confidence in one area of our life, it spills over into others.

For me it was weight-lifting.  Early in my life, I gained confidence through lifting weights.  I was able to see incremental progress and experience periodic breakthroughs.  It taught me that if I put in the effort, I got results.  This confidence spread to other areas of my life.

If We Let It, Failure Spills Over, Too

The same is true for failure.  It’s easy to let failure leak into other areas of life or define us, if we let it.  In fact, Martin Seligman says learned helplessness is when we make our setbacks permanent, personal, or pervasive.  We learn to stop trying.

The video also reminded me of another key concept for life.  You get what you focus on.  You can focus on your setbacks and let them limit you.  You can “opt out” in life and decide not to try.  Whether it’s a fear of failure, or a fear of judgment, it’s easy to shut down.

Choose Strength

Some people have let a single set back early in life, shut them down.  You can focus on your strengths or weaknesses … Choose strengths.  You can focus on your failures or your wins … Choose wins, but learn from your failures.

Video: David Kelley on How To Build Your Creative Confidence

Here is the David Kelly Ted Talk video on how to be creative:

Here is the direct link to David Kelley on How To Build Your Creative Confidence.

Key Take Aways

Here are my key take aways from David Kelley’s TED Talk on how to build your creative confidence:

  • We’re all creative.   Don’t let people divide the world into the creatives and the non-creatives.  You are the creative type. Just by the fact that we’re all different and see things differently.  We can use our differences to paint a new world.  The key is we have to see ourselves as creative and embrace our capability.  We can’t let others put us in a box, or worse, put ourselves into a box with limiting beliefs.
  • Defeat your fears and phobias with guided masteryAlbert Bandura, the fourth most-frequently cited psychologist of all time, developed a methodology of curing people of fears and phobias in a short period of time.  By taking people through a small set of steps and series of successes, they can conquer a phobia, such as snakes, in as little as four hours.   David Kelley found that we could take people that had a fear that they weren’t creative and take them through a series of steps to find their inner-artist and creative genius.  The other thing that happens here is that when you build this confidence in one area, you lose anxiety in others, and your confidence spreads.  You try more … and it’s a spiral up.
  • Turn fear into familiarity.    I liked how David phrased this.  Don’t fear failure.  You can’t avoid it.  You can embrace it.  It doesn’t need to be a scary thing.  If you make failure a “So what? … Now What?” sort of experience, you can do more, try more, learn more … and ultimately “live” more.
  • Achieve Self-Efficacy.  Self-efficacy is the sense that you can change the world and you can attain what you set out to do.  See Three Pillars for Building Self-Efficacy.
  • Find your place of creative confidence and help others find theirs.    What would you do if you felt unstoppable?  Do you follow your calling and do what you were put on this Earth to do?  Or have you learned to scale your life down to what’s safe or convenient?   You don’t have to wait for a close encounter of the worst kind to decide to find your calling and unleash what you’re capable of.

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  1. @ Emily — Whenever I watch TED Talks, it reminds me how we can live at a higher level.

    @ Evan — Good catch — thank you.

  2. Hi J.D. — I can definitely relate to the importance of being okay with my creativity — it’s always easy to slip into the mindset that only structured activities designed by other people (e.g., day jobs) are valuable, that sitting there doing music is self-indulgent, etc., and having the awareness to know when I’m falling into that way of thinking is so important.

  3. @ Chris — You reminded me just how powerful it is to ask a little cutting question … What’s the value? That little question cuts right through so much that gets in the way.

    Finding, flowing, and unleashing new value is what innovation is all about.

  4. For me, my creativity and my confidence coexist. I’ve felt highly creative lately. Ideas are crystallizing and I’m having a lot of fun exploring behind the scenes. It’s no coincidence that I’ve also been in good mood and feeling more sure of myself.

  5. @ Angie — It sounds like you got your mojo working.

    I love the momentum that grows when confidence and creativity flow.

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