How to Dare

The followings are excerpts from the book “Creative Confidence – unleashing the creative potential within us all” and are taken from the chapter named DARE – from fear to courage, which in my opinion, pinpoints not just the creative process, but the decision making in life overall. I found it very useful, meaningful so, hopefully, if you had not had the chance to read the book, these glimpses into its fragments will convince you to pick it up from a book shop.

“Alberta Bandura has had a profound impact on the world of social learning and has been called the greatest living psychologist. He invented the methodology of what he calls guided mastery. The process of guided mastery draws on the power of first hand experience to remove false beliefs. It incorporates psychology tools like vicarious learning, social persuasion and graduated tasks. Along the way, it helps people confront a major fear and dispel it one small, manageable step at a time.”

learn how to dare creative confidence

The dramatic experience of overcoming a phobia that had plagued them for decades – a phobia they had expected to live with for the rest of their lives – had altered their belief system about their own ability to change. It had altered their belief in what they could accomplish. Ultimately, it transformed their lives.”

“When people have this belief, they undertake tougher challenges, persevere longer, and are more resilient in the face of obstacles and failure. Bandura calls this belief self-efficacy. Doubts in one’s creative ability can be cured by guiding people through a series of small successes. The state of mind Bandura calls self-efficacy is closely related to what we think of as creative confidence. People who have creative confidence make better choices, set off more easily in new directions and are better able to find solutions to seemingly intractable problems. They see new possibilities and collaborate with others to improve the situations around them. And they approach challenges with newfound courage.”

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Photo Credit: @BrookeCagle

“In our experience {the authors}, one of the scariest snakes in the room is the fear of failure, which manifests itself in such ways as fear of being judged, fear of getting started, fear of the unknown. And while much has been said about the fear of failure, it still is the single biggest obstacle people face to creative success.”

“Creative geniuses are quite prolific when it comes to failure – they just don’t let that stop them. Research has found that creative people simply do more experiments. If you want more success, you have to be prepared to shrug off more failure. The real measure of success is the number of experiments that can be crowded into 24 hours. The faster you find weaknesses during an innovation cycle, the faster you can improve what needs fixing.

“Albert Bandura used the process of guided mastery – a series of small successes – to help people gain courage and overcome deep seated phobias. What would have been nearly impossible to accomplish in one giant leap became manageable in small steps, with the guidance of someone knowledgeable in the field. In a similar way, we use a step by step progression to help people discover and experience the tools and methodologies of design thinking, gradually increasing the level of challenge to help individuals transcend the fear of failure that blocks their best ideas. These small successes are intrinsically rewarding and help people to go on to the next level. Building confidence through experience encourages more creative action in the future, which further bolsters confidence. The lessons learned from failures may make us smarter – even stronger. But that doesn’t make failure any more fun. So most of us naturally try to avoid failure at all costs. Failure is hard, even painful. Fear of failure holds us back from learning all sorts of new skills, from taking on risks, and from tackling new challenges. But you come to accept that it’s part of learning, and in doing so, you are able to remain confident that you are moving forward despite the setbacks.”

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Photo Credit: @BrookeCagle

About “urgent optimism – the desire to act immediately to tackle an obstacle motivated by the belief that you have a reasonable hope of success. Gamers always believe that an epic win is possiblethat it is worth trying, and trying new, over and over again. In the euphoria of an epic win, gamers are shocked to discover the extent of their capabilities. As you move from level to level, success can flip your mindset to a state of creative confidence.We just need to hold out a reasonable hope of success as well as the possibility of a truly epic win. Like a muscle, your creative abilities will grow and strengthen with practice.”

“Diego Rodriguez in his blog Metacool says that innovation thinkers often use informed intuition to identify a great insight, a key need, or a core feature. In other words, relentless practice creates a database of experience that you can draw upon to make more enlightened choices. When it comes to bringing new stuff into the world, Diego argues that the number of product cycles you’ve gone through (what he calls mileage) trumps the number of years of experience. Once you have gone through enough rapid innovation cycles, you will gain familiarity with process and confidence in your ability to assess new ideas. And the confidence results in reduced anxiety in the face of ambiguity when you are bringing new ideas into the world.”

“Whether you consider yourself a born innovator or are new to creative confidence, you can get better faster at coming up with new ideas if you give yourself and those around you the leeway to make mistakes from time to time. – constructive failure. We all need the latitude to try out new ideas. Look for ways to grant yourself creative license, or give yourself the equivalent of a get-out-of-a-jail-free card. Label your next new idea an experiment and let everyone know that you are just testing it out. Lower others’s expectations, so that failure can lead to learning without career damage. Author and educator Tina Seelig asks her students to write a failure resume that highlights their biggest defeats and screw-ups. In the process of compiling their failure resume, however, they come to own their setbacks, both emotionally and intellectually.”

“When a child loses confidence in his or her creativity, the impact can be profound. People start to separate the world into those who are creative and those who are not. They come to see these categories as fixed, forgetting that they too once loved to draw and tell imaginative stories. Too often they opt out of being creative. The tendency to label ourselves as non creatives comes from more than just our fear of being judged. When our self-worth isn’t on the line, we are far more willing to be courageous and risk sharing our raw talents and gifts.”

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Photo Credit: @BrookeCagle

“When people are insecure, they’re not at their best. As people become more confident, they eventually adopt a bring-your-whole-self-to-work attitude and allow themselves to be vulnerable in a creative context. This vulnerability and ability to trust the people around you can help to overcome so many of the barriers to creative thinking and constructive behaviour.”

Resilient people, in addition to being resourceful problem solvers, are more likely to seek help, have strong social support and be better connected with colleagues, family and friends. Resilience if often thought of a solo effort – the lone hero who falls and rises up again to do battle. In reality, however, reaching out to others is usually a strategy for success. It doesn’t have to be an admission of weakness. We need others to help us bounce back from adversity and hardship. Dan Roam in his book How to Draw Anything insists that everything you ever need to draw on a whiteboard – or a napkin – can be deconstructed into 5 basic shapes: a line, a square, a circle, a triangle, and an irregular shape he calls a blob. Next, he explains drawing fundamentals – such as size, position, and direction – that can comically simple yet still go underused. On the topic of size, for example, if you make one object bigger than another, your audience will understand that this object is either closer or larger. And so it goes.”

learn how to dare creative confidence

“If you can draw the 5 shapes above, then visual thinker Dan Roam says you are on your way to being able to draw anything – including people. With a focus on drawing for communication – not art – Dan can arm up your sketching skills in a matter of minutes. For example, Dan has 3 ways of drawing people (as he demonstrates us below) depending on what you want to get across: 1. Stick figures are very simple and convey mood or emotion – especially if you want to make the head one third of total size of person, so you have more room for showing expression. 2. Block figures add a rectangular torso and are good for showing motion or different body postures; 3. Blob figures (also known as star people) don’t show emotion or action well, but provide a quick way to draw groups and relationships.”

learn how to dare creative confidence

“Dan doesn’t exactly teaches you to draw. He just teaches you how to make better use of the simple drawing skills you already have. With people who draw well, perfectionism can be every bit as crippling as a lack of confidence in non drawers. Non artists need reassurance – and maybe a drawing lesson or 2 – so that they can express themselves in rough sketches when a picture is more powerful than words. And the artists need encouragement to set their perfectionism aside to draw a few simple lines that communicate the essence of their idea. Both need the kind of supportive culture that ignores the quality of their sketches and focuses on the quality of their ideas. Wherever you fall on the artists skill curve, half the battle is to resist judging yourself.

“Courage is the accumulation of small steps. What matters most in the end, though, is this: your belief in your capacity to create positive change and the courage to take action. Creativity, far from requiring rare gifts and skills, depends on what you believe you can do with the talents and skills you already have. And you can develop and build on those skills, talents and beliefs. As Hungarian essayist Gyorgy Konrad once said,

Courage is Only the Accumulation of Small Steps.” 

how to dare
Photo by – Hannah Mckernan



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