Creative Confidence: Unleashing The Creative Potential Within Us All by Tom Kelley and David Kelley 

How This Book Benefits Modern Parents

Creativity is starkly different from artistic ability, and research tells us that people who encourage their creative abilities are happier, healthier, and more successful. This book opened my eyes to the beneficial properties of encouraging creativity in not only my own kids, but in the kids I work with professionally. A must-read for parents looking to get their kids off of “screens” and onto pursuing creative interests.

Do I recommend this book? YES!

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My Notes/Thoughts About The Book

This is my book summary of Creative Confidence: Unleashing The Creative Potential Within Us All by Tom Kelley and David Kelley. My notes are informal and often contain quotes from the book as well as my own thoughts. This summary also includes key lessons and important passages from the book.

  • “Since then, Bandura’s research has shown that 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”


  • “Bandura’s work scientifically validates something we’ve been seeing for years: Doubts in one’s creative ability can be cured by guiding people through a series of small successes. And the experience can have a powerful effect on the rest of their lives”


  • “A widely held myth suggests that creative geniuses rarely fail. Yet according to Professor Dean Keith Simonton of the University of California, Davis, the opposite is actually true: creative”


  • “geniuses, from artists like Mozart to scientists like Darwin, are quite prolific when it comes to failure—they just don’t let that stop them. His research has found that creative people simply do more experiments. Their ultimate “strokes of genius” don’t come about because they succeed more often than other people—they just do more, period.”


  • “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.”


  • “Fear of failure holds us back from learning all sorts of new skills, from taking on risks, and from tackling new challenges. Creative confidence asks that we overcome that fear. You know you are going to drop the ball, make mistakes, and go in a wrong direction or two.”


  • “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.”


  • “Author, futurist, and game designer Jane McGonigal talked to us recently about how video gaming can spark its own form of creative confidence. Jane makes a convincing case that harnessing the power of video games can have a major impact on life in the real world.”


  • “In the social context of the gaming world, he wasn’t really failing—despite the noisy on-screen sound effects of his spectacular falls. Sean knew that he was on a path to learning.”


  • “Our experience mirrors current research on resilience. 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 is often thought of as 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.”


  • “More than a century ago, poet and essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson urged us to “do the thing you fear, and the death of fear is certain.”


  • “Psychologist Robert Sternberg, who has done extensive research on intelligence, wisdom, creativity, and leadership for over thirty years, tells us that all of the creative people he has studied had one thing in common: at some point, they decided to be creative. They tend to:


    • Redefine problems in new ways in order to seek out solutions.
    • Take sensible risks and accept failure as part of the innovation process.”
  • “Creativity seldom follows the path of least resistance. You need to deliberately choose creativity”


  • “That could explain studies showing that prolific mind wanderers score higher on tests of creativity. And new research on the network of the brain similarly found that our minds make unlikely connections between ideas, memories, and experiences when we are at rest and not focused on a specific task or project.”


  • “But if you recast the traditional failure-is-not-an-option attitude as a series of small experiments, you can actually increase your chances of long-term success.”


  • “Albert Bandura’s research on self-efficacy. Senior executives telling managers to boost innovation can have a limited effect. The most robust method to boost creative confidence is through guided mastery. Like learning how to drive a golf ball up the middle of the fairway, the most effective way of learning how to innovate routinely is through practice and coaching.”

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