Six TED Talks for Creatives

TEDs are a great source of inspiration as a meeting ground for ideas. They’ve launched a number of careers for some really great thinkers and problem solvers. I’ve compiled a list of TED Talks for creatives, those of us who write, make art, or just want to live creatively through our jobs and even daily tasks. These presentations focus on where creativity comes from and mindsets for reaching our creative goals.

1.Your Elusive Creative Genius – Elizabeth Gilbert

Gilbert’s famous TED explores the Roman idea that genius is something that exists outside of ourselves as opposed to within us or as part of us. The Eat, Pray, Love author argues that compartmentalizing our creativity as separate from ourselves might be helpful in our understanding of how the creative moves through us. Since this presentation, Gilbert has gone build a career around inspiring creatives.

2. Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator – Tim Urban

Procrastination is something many creatives are familiar with. Here, Tim Urban talks about his own experience as a procrastinator and what’s really going on underneath that makes him wait for the last minute moment of panic before a deadline to get motivated. For those of us creating our own work with only our own deadlines to reach, procrastination can be detrimental to achieving our dreams.

3. Where Does Creativity Hide? – Amy Tan

Amy Tan, author of The Joy Luck Club, humorously likens the challenges of creativity to the complexities of quantum mechanics. In talking about her journey of writing her novel, she distills the reasons for creativity down to the basic pillars that shaped her own life and work.

4. A Powerful Way to Unleash Your Natural Creativity – Tim Harford

Harford makes a case for “slow-motion multitasking”, how working on multiple projects simultaneously can be helpful when we get stuck on a problem. He gives the example of walking away from a crossword puzzle when we can’t think of an answer, then randomly at some point in the day that answer pops into our minds. Or, more relevant to our work and hobbies, how switching to a different project can give fresh perspective and insight for the others.

5. How to Achieve Your Most Ambitious Goals – Stephen Duneier

Duneier talks about how small adjustments are the necessary stepping stones to achieving something and breaking lofty goals down to manageable decisions. Want to write a novel? If you write five pages a day, you’ll eventually get there. His presentation also discusses his struggle with focusing on tasks and how he deals with that.

6. How to Build Your Creative Confidence – David Kelley

Kelley discusses proven tactics of psychologist Dr. Albert Bandura for overcoming fear and says that he uses the same process to show doubtful people that they can be creative. He believes that everyone is inherently creative. It just takes some confidence building to bring out what’s naturally inside.

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