Encouraging Creativity? (2015-02-11)
I believe that a necessary but not sufficient component of creativity, or any significant accomplishment, is motivation. This brings me back to thinking about Whiplash. If you have a student who is creative, how do you encourage and nurture him or her?
I can’t pretend to know. The data is conflicting. Many creative people seem to be driven to increased effort by rejection. An “I’ll show you!” attitude motivates them. And there is solid research showing that many talented young people have lost interest in their talents if too often extrinsically rewarded by praise. And then, on the other hand, there is the fact that many an accomplished individual recalls receiving encouragement from a mentor when they were about to give up in despair.
For much of my life I have been obsessed with understanding the nature of creativity, and I’ve even written a trilogy of books on it. But I still wouldn’t presume to suggest a reliable way to encourage it.