Heidi Grant Halvorson on Creative Success

By Douglas Eby

Heidi Grant HalvorsonOne of the themes of creativity research, and many psychologists and creativity coaches, is how crucial beliefs and attitudes are in developing our creative abilities.

Psychologist Heidi Grant Halvorson talks in the audio clip below about the prevalent idea of ‘genius’ for whether someone can be creative – or even aspire to be.

She also writes about focus and creating, and that “to be a successful creative, you need to not only be a good generator, but also a good evaluator. The problem is that in practice, it’s remarkably hard to be both.

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Misfits and Innovators

By Douglas Eby

Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean“It’s better to be a pirate than to join the navy.” Steve Jobs

According to some writers and research, some of the “big names” of creativity and innovation share personal qualities with various sorts of “misfits.”

In her Forbes magazine article, writer Erica Swallow refers to the book “The Innovator’s DNA” which lists several “disruptive innovators” including a number of creative and business leaders such as Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, Meg Whitman (eBay) and Sharon Aby (Beyond Ideas).

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Patrick Stewart, Trauma and Creative Work

By Douglas Eby

Most of us experience some kind of trauma in life.

Patrick StewartHow does it impact creative people, and how can creative expression help?

Acclaimed actor Patrick Stewart is one of many artists who have been deeply impacted by trauma in early life.

An interview article notes he “was for decades a man plagued by fear and stifled by rage. The roots of his struggle go back to a difficult childhood, marked by poverty and abuse that took him years to understand.”

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Do Impostor Feelings Dampen Your Creativity?

By Douglas Eby

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

Jodie Foster holding her Sherry Lansing Leadership Award“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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Are Brains of Artists Different?

By Douglas Eby

With more and more brain imaging studies in the media, relating to different areas of human behavior including being creative, it is worth noting there are critiques of the validity and meaning of imaging technology.

brain scan-Human Connectome ProjectThe image is from an article whose authors comment, “The brain is said to be the final scientific frontier, and rightly so in our view.

“Yet, in many quarters, brain-based explanations appear to be granted a kind of inherent superiority over all other ways of accounting for human behaviour.

“We call this assumption ‘neurocentrism’ – the view that human experience and behaviour can be best explained from the predominant or even exclusive perspective of the brain.”

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Setbacks and Mistakes and Innovation

By Douglas Eby

bridge-to-nowhereWhat seems to be a setback, error or limitation, may often be valuable for encouraging more creative thinking and innovation.

Valerie Young writes about two “mistakes” that resulted in very successful products:

“Did you know, for example, that Post-It-Notes were the result of what 3M Company researchers at first thought to be a bad batch of glue?

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A Calling to Be Creative

By Douglas Eby

Lupita Nyong’o and fatherWhat leads, urges, even compels so many of us to be creatively expressive?

Given that everyone is creative to some degree, why do many people choose careers in the arts, or work that actively engages their creativity?

Most of us will never be actors or other filmmakers – especially ones that are seen and acknowledged publicly – but many of those creators talk about what calls them to engage in creative work, despite the challenges.

One example: Lupita Nyong’o, who won an Academy Award for best supporting actress on March 2, 2014 for her role in “12 Years a Slave.”

In her moving acceptance speech, she noted one source of inspiration for her portrayal of a slave: “It doesn’t escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else’s. And so I want to salute the spirit of Patsey for her guidance.”

She also thanked director Steve McQueen: “You charge everything you fashion with a breath of your own spirit. Thank you so much for putting me in this position, it’s been the joy of my life.”

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Painter Robert Genn on Art and Happiness

By Douglas Eby

Robert GennIn an issue of his newsletter, artist Robert Genn notes that in his book “Against Happiness” writer Eric Wilson “disparages our current love affair with putting on a happy face.”

Wilson thinks that with our “feel good” culture and the “widespread use of happy drugs, everybody’s trying to be cheerful and there are no decent dollops of melancholy and sadness. When this happens, art becomes bland, unchallenging and redundant.”

Genn notes, “Dr. Thomas Svolos of the department of Psychiatry at Creighton University School of Medicine thinks Wilson is right. ‘When you’re melancholy, you tend to step back and examine your life,’ he says. ‘That kind of questioning is essential for creativity.’

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Creative People, Trauma, Addiction: Colin Farrell

By Douglas Eby

“Basically, I’d been fairly drunk or high since I was 14.” Colin Farrell

Colin FarrellWhy do so many creative people use and abuse drugs, often to the point of addiction?

There is of course no easy answer, but one of the factors for many people may be childhood trauma.

In his article Emotional Trauma: An Often Overlooked Root of Addiction, David Sack, M.D. writes, “A history of childhood neglect or sexual, physical or emotional abuse is common among people undergoing treatment for alcoholism and may be a factor in the development of alcohol use disorders…

“Trauma has been associated not only with drug addiction but also overeating, compulsive sexual behavior and other types of addictions.”

Another article notes, “Children who have a history of abuse, neglect, or trauma may exhibit oppositional behavior as a response to their experiences. Experiencing any kind of traumatic event increases a child’s likelihood of acting out, as they must cope with challenging feelings, thoughts, and memories.”

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Sensitivity and Creativity: Cheryl Richardson and Alanis Morissette

By Douglas Eby

Self-Care for the Creative Soul“The more you become your own best champion, supporter, cheerleader, and trusted confidant, the better able you’ll be to fully and joyfully express your blessed creativity.

“That’s when your art becomes more and more successful in the world. It begins with treating yourself with love, respect, kindness, and compassion.”

Those quotes by coach and author Cheryl Richardson relate to her extensive writing and teaching on self-care for creative and highly sensitive people.

She is presenting “Self-Care for the Creative Soul” with Alanis Morissette – a retreat March 2-6, 2014, at Miraval Resort in Tucson, Arizona.

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