Close the Gap – Creative Perseverance

A short and sweet video pep talk for aspiring creative types, by Ira Glass:

A creative person is often a sensitive person — a person who is keenly aware of all of their senses, all of their feelings and thoughts. This is because creativity is linked to a refinement of the senses.  Want to become more creative?  Start observing more carefully what you see, hear, touch, smell, taste and think.  It’s a process of improving discernment and mindfulness. Yet, this sensitivity comes with a risk:  To be able to produce great work, a creative person must not be so sensitive that they can’t tolerate the pain of initially producing crappy work.

(Corollary for Managers of Creatives:  To develop your team’s talent, you have to be patient and encourage them to persevere through disappointing output.) 

Tolerance of Pain

The Kalenjin tribe of Kenya dominate the world in long distance running competition. According to some authors, this tribe has been environmentally, culturally and genetically optimized for long distance running… optimized not just in physical skill, but also in mindset. The tribe has longstanding rite of passage which select for pain tolerance. If you can’t tolerate extreme pain, you’re kicked out of the tribe.

You'll have to knock a bunch of these down at first... and yeah, it's gonna hurt.

You’ll have to knock a bunch of these down at first… and yeah, it’s gonna hurt.

To become a strong athlete, a big part of it is learning to overcome physical pain.  If you can overcome that pain, you can stretch your goals and continually improve.

To become a talented creative, a big part of it is learning to overcome mental pain of disappointment in your own work. If you can overcome that pain, you can keep practicing and eventually produce something inspiring.

Ultimately, it’s about overcoming the false dichotomy of  being a strong versus a sensitive person  — be sensitive to the product and strong in the process.



About danspira

My blog is at: My face in real life appears at a higher resolution, although I do feel pixelated sometimes.

Posted on August 7, 2014, in Art, Career, Exercise, Inspiration, Learning, Life, Positivity, Productivity, Psychology, Talent, Writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Reblogged this on Dan Spira and commented:

    Bonus post (#8a out of 27) — listening to this video again.

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