Face Your Fears: David Kelley on Creativity

Time and again, it can be said that creativity is subjective. It varies from person to person. But we can all agree that everyone is creative in our own ways, and not everyone is courageous enough to have the to express their creativity. David Kelley, in his TED talk, advised to face your fears to improving one’s ‘creative confidence’.

Creativity is about being brave and sticking to the process

We all have our share of experience related to being criticized about our work, taking it personally, and hence stop doing the work altogether. As humans, it’s totally valid to have different judgments and impressions about things. The definition or criteria of good art and bad art is different from person to person. However, whether we take all comments personally and constructively and whether or not to keep going despite of it all is up to us.

Fear of judgment is okay, but it can be managed and even eliminated. Creativity can be a lonely journey, but if you will just expose yourself to your fears over and over again, somehow you will get more familiar with your fears and stop seeing them as fears. David Kelley emphasized turning fear of creativity into familiarity to gain ‘self-efficacy’ or new level of confidence.

“You will eventually get used to rejections.”

This is what my more senior colleagues from the academe are telling me. Getting rejections from a conference, a research funding, graduate school and fellowship applications, and publications can make us question our capacities and our efforts, but sometimes rejection is just part of the game. And the good thing about that is we develop strength and we learn what we can improve for next time.

And everybody can do this. Everybody can face their fears.

How can you expect to land the next big thing if you’re afraid to try in the first place? This is somehow linked to another advice which is to ‘collect dots and connect the dots’. You will not be able to collect dots in the first place if you are not courageous.

Lastly, David Kelley concluded by saying that we should stop dividing the world between creatives and non-creatives. The fact the we all have the capacity to face our fears means that we are all creative.

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