Wednesday, 23 May 2012

The creative person inside yourself


Are you one of those uncreative persons? Someone who wishes he or she was as full of ideas as others, someone who admires those who always come up with something new? You might do yourself terribly wrong.

David Kelley, founder and chairman of IDEO, an innovative design company, holds the opinion that most of us have much more creative potential within ourselves than we might think. He thinks that most of us are simply afraid of being judged and thus are not confident enough to be creative. In a TED Talk, he explains his idea how we can overcome the problem by taking people through a series of small successes. In his opinion, this will turn fear into familiarity and make people think of themselves as creative persons who really are.



David Kelley considers one concept central for creative confidence: self-efficacy, the belief that we can perform in a certain way in order to attain a certain goal. In the context here, it is the belief that we can be creative, that we can produce something innovative. Self-efficacy was intensely studied by psychologist Albert Bandura and has again and again proven to be a predictor of success in various fields. It leads to more willingness to take on a task, put time and effort into it, persist and be more positive with respect to the task’s outcome. It is even a predictor of health behaviours. Thus, it seems natural to also see it as a predictor of creativity.

Kelley’s ideas are also in line with psychologist Carol Dweck’s concept of fixed vs. growth mindsets (see the post “Why talent is not sufficient for success”). People with the former mindset fear being judged and proven not to be intelligent or creative, whereas person with the latter mindset see difficult tasks as opportunities for growth. Kelley suggests we take little steps and produce many small successes for ourselves. Little rewards are important for our learning and perseverance, as we reported in the post “Reward yourself andimprove your performance”.

David Kelley definitely has a point when he appeals to us: Do not divide the world into creatives and non-creatives, but let them gain self-efficacy.

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