Pushed to Excel – Part 2

By Douglas Eby
Lang Lang[Continued from Part 1]

What does creative excellence take?

In his article How to Win American Idol, psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman refers to research by Rena Subotnik and Linda Jarvin, who “interviewed over 80 top students at different stages of their musical careers and identified the traits important to succeed at every stage on the way to the top.

“The three abilities that were absolutely necessary as a baseline were intrinsic motivation, charisma, and musicality.”

But for musicians at an “elite” level of talent, “technical proficiency mattered less and the following factors rose to prominence: self-promotion skills, having a good agent, capitalizing on strengths, overcoming self-doubt, exuding self-confidence, good social skills, persevering through criticisms and defeats, and taking risks.”

How does a brutal teaching style impact those factors?

Continue reading… »



Pushed to Excel

By Douglas Eby

“I push people beyond what’s expected of them. I believe that is an absolute necessity.”

Whiplash-movieHow much does forceful mentoring help students achieve excellence, and when does it become abusive?

Those issues are part of the movie Whiplash, apparently named after the jazz standard by Hank Levy.

The quote above is by acclaimed teacher Terence Fletcher (JK Simmons) at a music school reputed to be “one of the best in the country,” explaining his teaching approach to one of his star pupils, Andrew (Miles Teller), who idolizes jazz drummer Buddy Rich, and has aspirations to also be “one of the greats.”

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Ada Lovelace, Innovation and Imagination

By Douglas Eby

“Imagination…discovers the real.”

Ada LovelaceAugusta Ada, Countess of Lovelace, was a daughter of poet Lord Byron, and worked with polymath Charles Babbage, who called her The Enchantress of Numbers.

The computer language ADA was named after her, in recognition of her work that helped originate software and computers.

Ada Lovelace talked about her passions for creative imagination and math:

“Imagination is the Discovering Faculty, pre-eminently … It is that which feels & discovers what is, the REAL which we see not, which exists not for our senses.

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Multitalented: So Many Choices

By Douglas Eby

college-majorsOne of the myths of creative and multitalented people may be that they can choose whatever personal and career paths they want.

Having many interests and abilities can make for a rich and satisfying life, but also be a source of stress, especially at crossroads like choosing college majors.

Gifted education specialist Tamara Fisher quotes Bryant (a pseudonym), a graduating senior who lists his possible future careers as “applied psychologist, scientific psychologist, college teacher, philosophy, mathematics, architect, engineer.”

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Chaos and Creative Expression – Part 2

By Douglas Eby

[See Part 1]

cluttered garageAuthor Malcolm Gladwell (‘Outliers: The Story of Success’; ‘Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking’ and other books) has commented, “Anyone who is in a creative space…you have to reverse the normal human tendency, which is to edit. Creative people…their brains are messy. Their imaginations are messy.

“Why, because they don’t want to throw anything out…they believe on some level that there is always something of interest or value in whatever they encounter.”

From my post Developing Creativity: Embrace Chaos.

This photo of a cluttered garage is from the video in my article Interested In So Many Things: Creative and Multitalented [on the site of my main book] – see link to source in the article.

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Chaos and Creative Expression

By Douglas Eby

Dylan Thomas-word-network“The very impulse to write, I think, springs from an inner chaos crying for order, for meaning, and that meaning must be discovered in the process of writing or the work lies dead as it is finished.” Arthur Miller

Creative people and writers about the creative process often say creative work is a way to release or make use of inner chaos; what is this turmoil?

Psychologist Stephen Diamond declares in his book that our impulse to be creative “can be understood to some degree as the subjective struggle to give form, structure and constructive expression to inner and outer chaos and conflict.”

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How Sensitivity Can Enhance Creativity

By Douglas Eby

Jessica Chastain in Miss Julie“For me, fashion is incredibly emotional. I go to shows in Paris and try not to cry.” Actor Jessica Chastain

Qualities such as emotionality and empathy can help highly sensitive people be especially creative.

The self-test Are You Highly Sensitive? by Elaine N. Aron, PhD includes the items:

“I have a rich, complex inner life” and
“I am deeply moved by the arts or music.”

Continue reading… »



Being Happy As An Artist

By Douglas Eby

“I’ve suffered enough. When does my artwork improve?” Refrigerator magnet

StingThe tortured artist mythology is an ancient and enduring one: The idea that art depends on suffering, and artists need to be suffering with dark emotions, and need their pain to create.

But that is a wrong and destructive idea.

For example, in his appearance as a guest on The Ellen Show, Colin Farrell said he is more creative being sober and happy.

“I ascribed to the notion that to express yourself as an artist, you have to live in perpetual pain. And that’s nonsense.”

Musician Sting also said he bought into this myth for a long time:

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Transformational Writing and Sparking Creative Flow

By Douglas Eby

pen image from Getting Creative Juices Flowing article

Author, professor and CEO Ocean Robbins and his father John are examples of transformational writers. Ocean recalls:

“I was ten-years-old when my dad first began to write Diet for a New America. It was the first book to expose the truth about factory farms, and the link between food and our planet, to a wide audience. In the five years after the book’s publication in 1987, beef consumption in the United States dropped by 25%, and my dad received more than 50,000 letters from readers, thanking him for changing their lives.

“As we’ve seen in our family, sometimes writing can change the world.”

Continue reading… »



Robin Williams: Intensity Is Not Pathology – Part 2

By Douglas Eby

[Continued from Part 1]

Robin WilliamsAs Dr. Webb explains “Existential depression is a depression that arises when an individual confronts certain basic issues of existence… (or ‘ultimate concerns’) – death, freedom, isolation and meaninglessness.”

[Gifted, Sensitive, In Need Of Meaning: Existential Depression.]

His related book: Searching for Meaning: Idealism, Bright Minds, Disillusionment, and Hope.

Webb has written extensively about how characteristics of giftedness that are a part of so many people – including well-known artists such as Robin Williams – are often misdiagnosed.

Continue reading… »



 
 

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