Creative Confidence Summary

1-Sentence-Summary: Creative Confidence helps break the mundanity of everyday work and life by exploring the power that being more innovative has to improve happiness and success in many different areas.

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Creative Confidence Summary

Did you ever doodle in class? If you’re like me, you might have felt bad for “wasting time” on drawing. Even though I had an art class in elementary school, I still felt like I wasn’t productive unless I was working on math, reading, or science.

Although I enjoyed these subjects, I now wish I would have taken more time to explore my creative side. What used to be seen as a liability is now a valuable asset to many companies. If you’ve got an innovative side, you’re more attractive to potential employers, for example. 

That’s why I really enjoyed Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All. This book by Tom Kelley and David Kelley not only helps you see why this skill is important now but also gives you the strength to fearlessly explore your artistic side. 

Here are the 3 most encouraging lessons I’ve discovered about this skill:

  1. Redefine your understanding of creativity to take full advantage of its life-changing power.
  2. People used to think that artistic skills weren’t useful, but the world now sees how vital they are to success.
  3. Some creative jobs might make you happy but don’t pay much, while other types have the opposite effect, but you need to balance money with passion. 

Ready to discover the courage you need to begin taking advantage of your inventive side? Let’s take a look and find out how!

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Lesson 1: Creativity isn’t just about making art, and understanding its broader applications will change your life.

When I was younger, I didn’t like art beyond the occasional doodle in the margins of my notebooks. I think a lot of this was because adults taught me that art means paintings, which is something I really don’t like much. 

The years passed and I stayed as far away from drawing as I could by majoring in engineering. As I got my first job and enjoyed crunching numbers and using science, I realized something about creativity. The previous definition of art that everyone tried to engrain in me was totally wrong.

I was using plenty of innovation to find solutions to all sorts of engineering problems. In other words, I was an artist! 

What I learned is something that we all need to realize, and thankfully many parts of society are catching on. Many analytical positions, like programmers and CEOs, are now included as creative careers. This makes sense considering all of the innovation that both of these positions require.

The good news is that you can utilize this skill even if you’re the victim of teachers and others telling you to suppress it. Everyone is born creative and we express it well when we’re young, but as we grow it tends to dwindle. But it’s like a muscle that you can re-activate with a little training. 

A good example is one MRI technician that used innovative thinking to help children feel safer inside the scanners. He used his imagination to update the look of the machines to be fun adventures, like a pirate ship.

Lesson 2: Although once looked down on, artistic skills are now a valuable asset in the eyes of most companies.

Maybe you’re like me and you remember the time when everybody thought that only artsy people were creative. Or perhaps you’re lucky enough to see just how old fashioned this idea has become. 

In the past, the artistic types felt doomed to remain at the “kids table” of careers, letting the adults in analytical professions handle the grown-up stuff. We see this creativity suppression even in schools where teachers expect kids to color inside the lines and be rational

Where once people thought that there’s no place for creativity in the average workplace, these days it’s spreading like wildfire. Now it’s not just the painters, sculptors, and singers who make art or innovate.

Even Paul McCartney often heard that he should give up his musical desires for something more “practical.” Thank goodness he ignored that terrible advice! The sad fact is a lot of this still goes around, but we are improving.

Many companies see the value in letting their employees try to innovate to find solutions to problems. They’re even investing significant amounts of time and money into fostering more creative environments.

There’s growing evidence that employers value this skill, too. In an IBM survey, over 1,500 CEO’s considered creativity to be the very most important leadership quality.

Lesson 3: Find a healthy balance between following your passion and making enough money to have a good career.

Do you want to be happy in your work or would you prefer to make a lot of money? It’s a trick question, sort of, because most of us would say something like “why not both?” Unfortunately, trying to take this route only brings you a lot of stress. 

Doing something you’re 100% passionate about doesn’t usually pay the bills and if you choose a career that will make a lot of money, you’ll probably be miserable. That’s why you need balance.

One of the authors had to make this decision right after following his passion to begin IDEO with his brother David. He’d just left a management consulting firm who, not long after made him a lucrative offer to come back. 

Eventually, he decided to turn down the offer by looking at how it would allow him to balance money and his passions. This is what you need to figure out how to do if you want to succeed in your career.

My undergraduate degree is in Civil Engineering. After graduating and working in that field for a few years, I felt miserable. I needed a change. 

It took a lot of thinking and preparation, but I finally decided to venture out on my own doing a very specialized part of the work that I enjoyed. It was simple enough that it could easily pay the bills and give me time to follow my real passion of writing.

Today, I am both an engineer and a writer. I am much happier with my career and earn plenty to care for my family. You can have the same if you just look for balance!

Creative Confidence Review

As someone who is just learning the importance of their creativity, this book is life-changing. Creative Confidence is a must-have for anyone who is on a creative journey at any stage. In fact, I think everyone can benefit from this book because we could all use a lot more innovation in all aspects of life!

Who would I recommend the Creative Confidence summary to?

The 30-year-old who is thinking about changing their career to something more creative, the 55-year-old business owner that could use some innovative thinking, and anyone who is apprehensive about doing something more artistic because everyone tells them that it doesn’t make much money.

Last Updated on October 12, 2022

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Luke Rowley

With over 450 summaries that he contributed to Four Minute Books, first as a part-time writer, then as our full-time Managing Editor until late 2021, Luke is our second-most prolific writer. He's also a professional, licensed engineer, working in the solar industry. Next to his day job, he also runs Goal Engineering, a website dedicated to achieving your goals with a unique, 4-4-4 system. Luke is also a husband, father, 75 Hard finisher, and lover of the outdoors. He lives in Utah with his wife and 3 kids.