Archives for Self-esteem

Identity

Are All Creative People Insecure?


Even people with exceptional creative talents and accomplishments can feel insecure.

Meryl Streep, for example, has said, “I have varying degrees of confidence and self-loathing…You can have a perfectly horrible day where you doubt your talent… Or that you’re boring and they’re going to find out that you don’t know what you’re doing.”

Over the years of reading biographies and doing interviews with many highly talented and creative people, it has often struck me how many of them talk about being self-critical, and feel insecure at times.

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Identity

The Artist As Outsider

Being a misfit or outsider can be distressing or downright painful, especially as a teen, but many artists say it is part of their experience that helps them be more creative. Writer Anne Rice talks about being "a bad student, I daydreamed in class, wrote stories in my notebooks. I learned the basics, but most of my active intellectual life was outside of school. It was acutely painful because [my sister and I] felt different, like misfits. Our individuality was almost irrepressible, but I wanted to fit in."

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Creative Thinking

Alejandro Inarritu on the Creative Process


"In the creative process every human being is confronted with doubts and contradictions and flaws..."

Acclaimed for his films including "Amores Perros," "Babel" and "21 Grams," Alejandro González Iñárritu has earned a number of award nominations for directing and co-writing "Birdman."

In a theatre, we can enjoy the results of sometimes hundreds of talented people collaborating on making a movie, but there may be many years of often messy and emotionally challenging creative process that goes into getting a film actually produced and released. Iñárritu has made a number of interesting comments about that process.

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Identity

Margaret Keane: Overcoming Exploitation


In the 1960s, paintings of "sad-eyed children," massively reproduced in posters and cards, became possibly the best-selling art in the world for a time, thanks to the tireless marketing by Walter Keane of "his" work. The "big eyes" images were owned by celebrities and hung in many permanent collections.

But Walter Keane was a fraud and plagiarist: the art was actually created by his wife Margaret Keane.

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Creative Thinking

Fairy Tales and Bigger Truths


“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” ― Albert Einstein

Stories, perhaps especially the more elaborate and potent examples of fantasy and fairytale, can do more than entertain: they can reveal how others, and ourselves, manage being human. And how we can do better at it.

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Creative Thinking

Fear and Courage and Creating

"The artist begins with a vision — a creative operation requiring effort. Creativity takes courage." Henri Matisse
What fears and anxieties are holding you back from expressing yourself more creatively? Matisse and many other artists and psychologists note creative work requires courage or dealing with our fears.

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Identity

Pushed to Excel – Part 2

[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?
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Inspiration

Pushed to Excel

"I push people beyond what's expected of them. I believe that is an absolute necessity."
How 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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Identity

Do Impostor Feelings Dampen Your Creativity?

Even very talented people may experience fraud or impostor feelings, which can lead to insecurity about their abilities, despite their accomplishments.

“I always feel like something of an impostor. I don’t know what I’m doing.”

Jodie Foster made that comment in her acceptance speech as recipient of the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award several years ago.

A highly accomplished actor, director and producer, Foster also said, “I suppose that’s my one little secret, the secret of my success.”

From my article: Jodie Foster on impostor feelings and faking it.

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