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Set of 2 Reclaimed Wood Sconces with Starfish-Wall | Etsy

Most individuals are born creative. As children, we enjoy imaginary play, ask outlandish questions, draw blobs and contact them dinosaurs. But after a while, as a result of socialization and formal education, most of us begin to stifle those impulses. We figure out how to be warier of judgment, more cautious, more analytical. The world seems to divide into “creatives” and “noncreatives,” and so many people consciously or unconsciously resign themselves to the latter category. And yet we realize that creativity is essential to success in almost any discipline or industry. According to a recently available IBM survey of chief executives all over the world, it’s the most sought-after trait in leaders today. No one can deny that creativeness means the rise and continued success of varied companies, from start-ups like Facebook and Google to stalwarts like Procter & Gamble and General Electric. Students often come to Stanford University’s “” (which was founded by considered one of us—David Kelley—which is formally referred to as Hasso Plattner Institute of Design) to build up their creativity. Clients use IDEO, our design and innovation consultancy, for similar reason. But as you go along, we’ve discovered that our obligation isn’t to show them creativity. It’s to help them rediscover their creative confidence—the natural power to come up with new ideas along with the courage to attempt them out. We do this giving them strategies to get past four fears that hold many people back: concern with the messy unknown, fear of being judged, anxiety about the first task, and anxiety about losing control. Easier said than done, you might argue. But we realize it’s practical for individuals to overcome even their most deep-seated fears. Consider the work of Albert Bandura, a world-renowned psychologist and Stanford professor. In one group of early experiments, he helped people conquer lifelong snake phobias by guiding them by having a series of increasingly demanding interactions. They would start with watching a snake through a two-way mirror. Once more comfortable with that, they’d progress to observing it using an open door, then to watching another person touch the snake, then to touching it themselves through a heavy leather glove, and, finally, in a few hours, to touching it using own bare hands. Bandura calls this technique of experiencing one small success after another “guided mastery.” The individuals who experienced it weren’t just cured of your crippling fear they had assumed was untreatable. They also had less anxiety and much more success in the rest with their lives, trying out new and potentially frightening activities like riding and presenting and public speaking. They tried harder, persevered longer, along more resilience facing failure. They had gained a fresh confidence within their ability to attain what they attempt to do.

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