How to build your creative confidence | David Kelley


Translator: Timothy Covell
Reviewer: Morton Bast I wanted to talk to you today
about creative confidence. I’m going to start way back
in the third grade at Oakdale School in Barberton, Ohio. I remember one day my best friend
Brian was working on a project. He was making a horse out of the clay
our teacher kept under the sink. And at one point, one of the girls
that was sitting at his table, seeing what he was doing,
leaned over and said to him, “That’s terrible. That doesn’t look
anything like a horse.” And Brian’s shoulders sank. And he wadded up the clay horse
and he threw it back in the bin. I never saw Brian do a project
like that ever again. And I wonder how often
that happens, you know? It seems like when I tell
that story of Brian to my class, a lot of them want to come up after class and tell me about
their similar experience, how a teacher shut them down, or how a student
was particularly cruel to them. And then some kind of opt out
of thinking of themselves as creative at that point. And I see that opting out
that happens in childhood, and it moves in and becomes
more ingrained, even, by the time you get to adult life. So we see a lot of this. When we have a workshop or when we have clients
in to work with us side by side, eventually we get
to the point in the process that’s kind of fuzzy or unconventional. And eventually, these big-shot executives
whip out their BlackBerrys and they say they have to make
really important phone calls, and they head for the exits. And they’re just so uncomfortable. When we track them down
and ask them what’s going on, they say something like,
“I’m just not the creative type.” But we know that’s not true. If they stick with the process,
if they stick with it, they end up doing amazing things. And they surprise themselves
at just how innovative they and their teams really are. So I’ve been looking
at this fear of judgment that we have, that you don’t do things, you’re afraid
you’re going to be judged; if you don’t say the right creative thing,
you’re going to be judged. And I had a major breakthrough, when I met the psychologist
Albert Bandura. I don’t know if you know Albert Bandura,
but if you go to Wikipedia, it says that he’s the fourth most
important psychologist in history — you know, like Freud, Skinner,
somebody and Bandura. (Laughter) Bandura is 86 and he still
works at Stanford. And he’s just a lovely guy. So I went to see him, because he’s just worked
on phobias for a long time, which I’m very interested in. He had developed this way, this, kind of, methodology, that ended up curing people
in a very short amount of time, like, in four hours. He had a huge cure rate
of people who had phobias. And we talked about snakes
— I don’t know why — we talked about snakes
and fear of snakes as a phobia. And it was really enjoyable,
really interesting. He told me that he’d invite
the test subject in, and he’d say, “You know,
there’s a snake in the next room and we’re going to go in there.” To which, he reported,
most of them replied, “Hell no! I’m not going in there,
certainly if there’s a snake in there.” But Bandura has a step-by-step
process that was super successful. So he’d take people to this two-way mirror looking into the room where the snake was. And he’d get them comfortable with that. Then through a series of steps, he’d move them and they’d be standing
in the doorway with the door open, and they’d be looking in there. And he’d get them comfortable with that. And then many more steps
later, baby steps, they’d be in the room, they’d have
a leather glove like a welder’s glove on, and they’d eventually touch the snake. And when they touched the snake,
everything was fine. They were cured. In fact, everything was better than fine. These people who had
lifelong fears of snakes were saying things like, “Look how beautiful that snake is.” And they were holding it in their laps. Bandura calls this process
“guided mastery.” I love that term: guided mastery. And something else happened. These people who went through the process
and touched the snake ended up having less anxiety
about other things in their lives. They tried harder, they persevered longer, and they were more resilient
in the face of failure. They just gained a new confidence. And Bandura calls
that confidence “self-efficacy,” the sense that you can change the world and that you can attain
what you set out to do. Well, meeting Bandura
was really cathartic for me, because I realized
that this famous scientist had documented
and scientifically validated something that we’ve seen happen
for the last 30 years: that we could take people who had the fear
that they weren’t creative, and we could take them
through a series of steps, kind of like a series of small successes, and they turn fear into familiarity. And they surprise themselves. That transformation is amazing. We see it at the d.school all the time. People from all different
kinds of disciplines, they think of themselves
as only analytical. And they come in and they go
through the process, our process, they build confidence and now
they think of themselves differently. And they’re totally emotionally excited
about the fact that they walk around thinking of themselves
as a creative person. So I thought one
of the things I’d do today is take you through and show you
what this journey looks like. To me, that journey looks like Doug Dietz. Doug Dietz is a technical person. He designs large
medical imaging equipment. He’s worked for GE, and he’s had
a fantastic career. But at one point,
he had a moment of crisis. He was in the hospital looking
at one of his MRI machines in use, when he saw a young family,
and this little girl. And that little girl was crying
and was terrified. And Doug was really disappointed to learn that nearly 80 percent
of the pediatric patients in this hospital had to be sedated in order
to deal with his MRI machine. And this was really disappointing to Doug, because before this time,
he was proud of what he did. He was saving lives with this machine. But it really hurt him to see the fear
that this machine caused in kids. About that time, he was at the d.school
at Stanford taking classes. He was learning about our process,
about design thinking, about empathy, about iterative prototyping. And he would take this new knowledge
and do something quite extraordinary. He would redesign the entire experience of being scanned. And this is what he came up with. (Laughter) He turned it into
an adventure for the kids. He painted the walls
and he painted the machine, and he got the operators retrained
by people who know kids, like children’s museum people. And now when the kid comes,
it’s an experience. And they talk to them about the noise
and the movement of the ship. And when they come, they say, “OK, you’re going to go
into the pirate ship, but be very still, because we don’t want
the pirates to find you.” And the results were super dramatic: from something like 80 percent
of the kids needing to be sedated, to something like 10 percent
of the kids needing to be sedated. And the hospital and GE were happy, too, because you didn’t have to call
the anesthesiologist all the time, and they could put more kids
through the machine in a day. So the quantitative results were great. But Doug’s results that he cared about
were much more qualitative. He was with one of the mothers waiting for her child
to come out of the scan. And when the little girl
came out of her scan, she ran up to her mother and said, “Mommy, can we come back tomorrow?” (Laughter) And so, I’ve heard Doug tell
the story many times of his personal transformation and the breakthrough design
that happened from it, but I’ve never really seen him
tell the story of the little girl without a tear in his eye. Doug’s story takes place in a hospital. I know a thing or two about hospitals. A few years ago, I felt a lump
on the side of my neck. It was my turn in the MRI machine. It was cancer, it was the bad kind. I was told I had a 40 percent
chance of survival. So while you’re sitting
around with the other patients, in your pajamas, and everybody’s pale and thin — (Laughter) you know? — and you’re waiting
for your turn to get the gamma rays, you think of a lot of things. Mostly, you think about:
Am I going to survive? And I thought a lot about: What was my daughter’s life
going to be like without me? But you think about other things. I thought a lot about:
What was I put on Earth to do? What was my calling? What should I do? I was lucky because I had lots of options. We’d been working in health and wellness, and K-12, and the developing world. so there were lots of projects
that I could work on. But then I decided
and committed at this point, to the thing I most wanted to do, which was to help as many
people as possible regain the creative confidence
they lost along their way. And if I was going to survive,
that’s what I wanted to do. I survived, just so you know. (Laughter) (Applause) I really believe that when people
gain this confidence — and we see it all the time
at the d.school and at IDEO — that they actually start
working on the things that are really important in their lives. We see people quit what they’re doing
and go in new directions. We see them come up with more
interesting — and just more — ideas, so they can choose from better ideas. And they just make better decisions. I know at TED, you’re supposed to have
a change-the-world kind of thing, isn’t that — everybody has
a change-the-world thing? If there is one for me, this is it,
to help this happen. So I hope you’ll join me on my quest, you as, kind of, thought leaders. It would be really great if you didn’t let
people divide the world into the creatives and the non-creatives,
like it’s some God-given thing, and to have people realize
that they’re naturally creative, and that those natural people
should let their ideas fly; that they should achieve
what Bandura calls self-efficacy, that you can do what you set out to do, and that you can reach a place
of creative confidence and touch the snake. Thank you. (Applause)

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100 Responses

  1. Sarah Montgomery says:

    Love his talk but I'm distracted by the fact that he looks like the teacher that kept yelling at Dash in the Incredibles

  2. Sven Hoffmann says:

    snek boop

  3. Arti Agarwal says:

    One of my all time favourites! David Kelley rocks. I got inspired by his energy & share my experiences of breaking the creative block on my channel too!

  4. Lareina Dsouza says:

    right?

  5. 밤이 says:

    My problem is always confidence. In minor everything, although I prepare detailed part and practice carefully, whenever I stand before the audience the tension and fear ruined me. But, after watching this video, I realize the reason why I have lost my nerve. And I feel that I can get creative confidence, bury myself in important things and come up with interesting idea. thank you so much!

  6. Gabriel Ceasar says:

    He looks like a Bald version of Einstein. i love him

  7. Daniel Melliger says:

    I believe we are all creative in some way, doesn't have to be just art (painting), music, or dance, etc etc, because we are made by a creative God who thought about us millions of years before we popped out the birth canal of our mothers, having knit us together and designed us fearfully and wonderfully:)
    I was driven by fear all my life until Jesus touched my heart and redeemed me to the purpose He had for me from the very beginning. Where I never talked to a stranger before and only met at most one new person a year (after being approached by them lol), i began approaching people all over the place, within 3 weeks at uni i had about 20 acquaintances. Where before i would be crushed by the anticipation and the feedback from presentations at school, i suddenly began to tell others about Jesus everywhere I went, to friends, family and strangers, no matter what the feedback was; fear was crushed by the love of God! Suddenly i began to feel like i didnt have to try to appeal to all people but I lived for God and learned his will for my life and became intuitive and initiative for the first time, with a clean conscience and strength to overcome any obstale. C'mon, Jesus!

  8. Tatiana Ambrose says:

    I think I have agreed with EVERY creative TED talk that I have watched❣ Great insight for all creatives❣

  9. Nada Abu shamia says:

    loved that part " ?when he said" what is my true calling

  10. FrostyGoatt says:

    👏

  11. Dane Saunders says:

    You have a noble plight David..thank you for 'surviving', and choosing this path…it's paramount! 🙂

  12. PadmaBCN says:

    So inspiring! Thank you!!!

  13. DreamWeaver says:

    The point that gripped me the most, was the realisation that the creative type he was talking about, tend to be the types of people that walk away from things in a heartbeat

  14. CCalquemist says:

    So can I be both analitical and creative?

  15. MsDreamzuk says:

    great for getting creative confidence back

  16. Kenzie Kaseman says:

    awesome talk

  17. Wahid Fayumzadah says:

    ''Right?''

  18. semih oguzcan says:

    Please learn about Resource Based Economy 🙂

  19. Randuski says:

    "…what my daughters life would be like without me" I'm not really a sensitive guy, but that got me

  20. Ritchie Valens says:

    What an amazing Guy.
    I am so glad he survived.
    God Bless him

  21. Caspar says:

    "Fear of judgement" and "self-efficacy" are good, but I don't see how the story of the decoration of the MRI scanner really fits in.

  22. Alexandra Burrowes says:

    This is my favorite TED talk I've ever seen.

  23. Brandon Baumet says:

    right?

  24. Dépaix says:

    he resembles the teacher from the incredibles

  25. Imtiyaz Khan says:

    Every person is naturally creative. They have to find out about their creativity it can be anything. Many people fails to be creative because they are afraid of result and people around them. They used to discourage others. For this we have to stay away from these people and focus on our dream and follow what we want to be.

  26. Dhaval Shukla says:

    To all those who don't know him, he's founder of IDEO and he constructed that fanous silver award winner "shopping cart" that engineers are assigned homework to do.

  27. Todd Ausfahl says:

    Self efficacy?
    You're a nice guy but this was a sales pitch and you literally said nothing for 14 minutes I've wasted my time thank you so much

  28. Chimichangas Man says:

    NOW LET'S ALL AGREE. NEVER TO BE CREATIVE AGAIN.heres a quiz.

    What is not a creative colour?

    A📓

    B📗

    C📘

    (Get your research from don't hug me I'm scared

  29. Fickry Afriansyah says:

    I think this is the best ted talk episode i ever watch thankyou!!!!!

  30. hhe 0070 says:

    Finally some advice that isn't TEDX snake oil

  31. Aaron Kaminski says:

    What was the process?

  32. allthingsbgi says:

    Thank-you for this talk, I loved it! Thank God you got better 🙏❤️

  33. vanhouten64 says:

    I want to "touch the snake"

  34. QRob55 says:

    He sounds absolutely disgusting. The comments are wonderful and I really want to hear what he has to say… but I can't finish this video. :-/

  35. Roadside Rick says:

    been trying to get my girlfriend to touch my snake for a while now. maybe ill show her this video

  36. Channel Lee says:

    My inspiration!!!

  37. Philip Downer says:

    thank you

  38. shreeya suhag says:

    Wonderful video:-)

  39. DongMan says:

    I swear to god he looks like the math teacher in the incredibles

  40. phil_osopher33 says:

    I want to be creatively confident so I can build better houses in Minecraft

  41. RaCology says:

    You know, actually I know that Brian too. He's still a beta male

  42. Woodsmoke says:

    Feel like there was no actual advice here…

  43. Alejandro Mendoza says:

    self efficacy sometimes reminds me of that fear love paradigm from donnie darko.

  44. How Do I says:

    Thank you

  45. 甜甜周 says:

    First of all, I like your talk, I am not a native English speaker, but I can totally undertand you, the speed is just fine. Second of all, I believe the points David wants to convey is to overcome your phobia, then you can got your confidence; confidence is the way led to creative thinking, learn to igonre others' judgement, just stick with what you believe is right. You will never know how creative you and your team can be. Snake touching experiment, MRI machine re-design both are examples of how to treat your fear, how to deal with your fear. Self-experience is to tell us the motivation, the purpose of his speech. What I get from your speech is to conquer your phobia by guided mastery, build self-efficacy, confidence becomes part of you naturally. With self-efficacy, stick with what you believe is right, never fall into the habit of stranglling your creative thoughts because of others' judgement, and you will be creative.

  46. Uma Ramanathan says:

    Touching the snake is not only a wonderful analogy, it says a lot at how the self has to stop reacting and learn and be enabled to recognise. Self efficacy is in understanding ones true nature and calling. Our brain tends to avoid displeasure and in fear of failure choose a path which is not aligned with the self. Observing objectively and removing the veil of feelings is the key. Thanks for this clarity

  47. Wukong The Airbender says:

    This talk is great. It brought a tear to my eye. I remember being little and getting tired of being scared of the dark. So I directly challenged it and went for a walk at night by myself. I faced my fear directly and came out of it more free than ever.

  48. Rein4 says:

    isn't it a good thing to be afraid of snakes?

  49. Ryan Cinch says:

    This happened to me in 3rd grade too.

    I did a drawing of a Picasso tribute piece.

    My art teacher saw it and told me "Don't Quit your day job!"

    Then, I walked past the classroom 

    on the way to gym class.

    Him and a bunch of other teachers were standing around my drawing.

    My art teacher said "I have been doing art for over 20 fucking years! This kid is 9 and already he draws like Picasso."

    He never told me to my face.

    So, I never thought much of it.

    Then, in college, my Art Mentor asked me if I was familiar with Pablo Picasso's work.

    He felt I drew like him.

    College was awesome!

    I found my true artistic voice.

    Thanks to My art mentor and several other teachers.

    I now have creative confidence!

    Thanks Professor Ivanchenko!

  50. Kendra Valentine says:

    THIS is my professional/personal philosophy! Creativity is a skill!

  51. instargets says:

    For 10k Insta Followers you can test this tool now is number #1 in the world

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  52. laura b says:

    Ted before bed. Then rest your head.

  53. Gülin Langbroek says:

    What a sweet and naturally inspiring guy. If he says I can be creative, I believe I am!

  54. Liiz V says:

    Very sweet guy :3

  55. Taki v Atake says:

    I'm crying… again.

  56. MathSantxokas says:

    Once I was piked to make a draw for a school activity, and after one day of work it got just terrible, so as anyone would do I didnt come back on the next day, and the team got a pro to make it. Felt bad man.
    But sometime after I spoke to the monitors and they explained that it was just an overwhealming job for anyone on my age, and that opened my eyes, that maybe that day I would not be able to make it, but someday as I am right now studing and working I will make it.
    Go Wildcats

  57. Brie Neufeld says:

    In my English 11 class we have to use this for our final exam essay on "Not everyone agrees on the value and importance of creative thinking in today's society. Any analysis from this video would be appreciated 🙂

  58. Jana Szabo says:

    Fantastic, Spot on.

  59. 免費網路行銷問答搜尋加http://pcse.pw/7VDHK says:

    創新 創意很重要

  60. Mayku says:

    This is on point. Feel very lucky to have had so much encouragement and freedom growing up to let me push my creativity enough to try building awesome stuff.

  61. CheesecakeLasagna says:

    I saw firsthand how lack of confidence looks like o my mok especially whenever she mention how horrible she is at drawing, how she's not the creative person (which I still firmly believe that everybody is and can be).

    Makes me realize from time to time that that probably stemmed from her getting bad comments or lack of good ones from her childhood.

    Thank goodness I don't quite have one of those (at least those memories don't stand out) because now creativity is something I basically incorporate in my life.

    Moral of the story: never discourage a kid to do something they seem to currently dabbling on.

  62. Ethan Head says:

    Disappointed in this presentation, I would have really loved to hear his process for increasing creative confidence.

  63. l grace says:

    Great lesson!! By the way, you look like a bit like an older Jimmy Fallon lol

  64. Jenny Hughes says:

    He talks about 'creatives and non-creatives' personally I hate the (silly fake) line between 'art & science' = there isn't one: they meet & overlap constantly.

  65. George Bush says:

    I think many people have brilliant ideas, but they are scared to share it, because they feel there are many experts out there. Inferiority also can stop you from being able to make your point. It is all about how to become more confident, vocal and presentation.

  66. Cordialgreetings • Ella says:

    Creativity is squashed because the capitalistic society is all about production. They teach kids in school to be productive instead of quality. Tests etc. Tests are analytical not about creativity. When they are criticized for not being good enough etc. They emotionally shut down and turn into analytical mode and are all about how fast and how much can they get out to be accepted in society. That's part of the problem about creativity being shut down in our youth. Those of us who don't care about opinions of others will still carry on about creativity. It's a choice the mind makes.

  67. Amit Verma says:

    The only Answer to doubters should be

    " Everyone is trying to make something better or best… Let me make something bad. Infact let me make something so bad that no one can build it worst."

  68. Prolific Powers says:

    Amazing content! Stay up with the videos, looking towards observing even more of those

  69. Mohammed Badra says:

    One of the best ted-talks ever…

  70. Faheem Baig says:

    I just wanted to touch the snake.

  71. Dok No See says:

    HOW is the most abused word in Tedtalk 'no.

  72. Dharmendra Rai says:

    Yay ! David Kelly starts off a TED talk with a mind map !

  73. Miss Mina says:

    Oh, sir! You made my day, bless you..

  74. Kaito .X .otaku says:

    teacher forced us to watch this -_-

  75. Kaito .X .otaku says:

    i want to go to that doctor ,i want to cure my fear of lizard

  76. Benjamin Reitman says:

    tdyko

  77. Kasia B.B. says:

    That's just a beautiful mission

  78. Danny Smith says:

    Couldn’t finish the video because of his little mouth saliva sound. I’m sure he did a good job though.

  79. Andre Mucarzel says:

    Fantastic!

  80. Akshay Shinde says:

    Creative confidence is really the need of the our. I see its importance in Indian corporate life where people are discouraged to voice their opinions & try new simple stuff over fear of challenging status quo..

  81. Raunaq Amarnani says:

    He would make a pretty good Joker tho.

  82. Pearl Hay says:

    "whip out their blackberrys " ha

  83. bunchwithKaratsi says:

    This is beautiful.

  84. Helen Borg says:

    He does teach us how to build creative confidence through the snake story.

  85. Olivera K says:

    That's what I am saying all the time.

  86. Austin McMurray says:

    my wife's boyfriend told me to watch this

  87. Daniel Mariani says:

    Why don't you touch my snake hahahaha all jokes aside awesome talk

  88. Steeple GT says:

    Owlypia?

  89. Patrick Addari says:

    allright !?

  90. Lessons In Life says:

    Yes, I agree with you Sir. Thoughts are creative. Words are creative. Actions are cre- ative. These are the three creative forces of the universe. Master these and the world belongs to you.

  91. Happy Slappy! says:

    I love this……. Right? Yes I do…

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  93. Emie _ says:

    My experience was often opposite when I was little, I was always pushed to be academic and friends at my pressurising school used to say "oh, well at least you're creative" in response to bad grades I'd cry over :/

  94. Jack Rollin says:

    What about those that are creative and are in a creative field, yet are berated by self-doubt and complete lack of belief in oneself despite a plethora of positive resources at their disposal? The cage of the mind is the most dangerous thing, especially when all you want is to have someone understand you to the point where you believe they do.

  95. Young CV says:

    Really glad I came across this actually these Ted Talks hit different

  96. Bastian36 says:

    sounds brutal, but in my childhood round about 3rd class a guy said something negative about my picture, i grabbed his hands and almost broke his fingers and look at me now, i draw pictures, write a lot and produce sometimes music.

  97. JuIiana de Beers says:

    Beautiful–thank you for your wisdom!

  98. L Sun says:

    I love David Kelley and I love Ted talks!!!!! Can we get each Ted talk with voiceovers in different languages, so that people, like myself, who are visually impaired but might not speak english, can benefit from the TED awesomeness too? Thank you!!! :] <3

  99. amar deep singh says:

    he is a nice guy, but i was thinking that he was going to tell, how to unleashed the creative instinct.

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