Christian Long

Elizabeth Gilbert: Nurturing Creativity

In TED Talks on April 15, 2010 at 10:20 pm

Reflection by EMMA L.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Elizabeth Gilbert:  Nurturing Creativity

The word creativity has many connotations but only one denotation.

Creativity: the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.; originality, progressiveness, or imagination. (

People around the world have this tendency to believe that creative people are mentally unstable and should be productive instead of writing, acting, singing etc. The belief that jobs perfect for creative people are risky and will amount to nothing seems to be in everyone’s minds. The fear of not being successful or rejection is engrained in every child’s minds at school which steer them away from their talents and dreams. Just imagine what would happen if there were no pressure on becoming a doctor or lawyer, if schools would encourage equality within the academics, arts, and athletics, how the world would be.

Gilbert brings up an imperative question

“Is it logical that anybody should be expected to be afraid of the work that they feel they were put on this Earth to do and what is it specifically about creative ventures that seem to make us really nervous about each other’s mental health in a way that other careers kind of don’t do?”

Extraordinary artistic people seem to die young and often at their own hands, yet people don’t even acknowledge.

But why?

It because humans have completely internalized and accepted collectively this notion that creativity and suffering are somehow inherently linked and that artistry, in the end, will always ultimately lead to anguish. If you have a passion in life, find a way to live and thrive through it. Everyone has a purpose for being on this planet. Discovering what your purpose or talent is in life is everyone’s goal. Why would you not fulfill it by becoming a doctor when your talent is dancing?

In other TED talks like Amy Tan on creativity, Adora Svitak: What adults can learn from kids, and Sir Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity, creativity has been one of the star subjects of their talks along with expectations. Whether it be from one’s parents, collegues or yourself these expectations end up hindering the creative process which leads to doubt and failure. There will always be expectations no matter where you go, yet the extent and pressure of expectations can be handled quite differently than how they are today.

Creativity does not have to be a fear or a burden to have, by nurturing creativity and trusting where it will lead you will bring you the success and happiness we all want in our lives.


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