Talented and insecure
Her recently released fourth album, Red, had opening sales of 1.21 million – the highest recorded in a decade, and Taylor Swift has had two million-plus opening weeks.
In a taping in front of a college audience for the tv show “VH1 Storytellers” (scheduled to air Nov. 11), she responded to a question from a college student: “I doubt myself 400,000 times per 10-minute interval. I have a terrifying long list of fears. Literally everything — diseases, spiders… and people getting tired of me.” [Hollywood Reporter 10/17/2012]
[Photo from post: Taylor Swift: precocious talent, homeschooling, gutsy self-determination.]
Will Smith admits, “I still doubt myself every single day. What people believe is my self-confidence is actually my reaction to fear.”
Here are a few excerpts from my book on these topics of doubt and confidence. [Photos not in book.]
[See the Front page for reviews and more info on the book.]
Talented and insecure – gifted adults, self esteem and self doubt
Over the years of reading biographies and interviews with many highly talented and creative people, it has often struck me how many of them talk about being self-critical and having poor self-esteem.
For example, writer Larry Kane commented about his bio on the musician, “People would be surprised at how insecure John Lennon was, and his lack of self esteem. Throughout his life, even during the height of Beatle mania, he had poor self esteem, even though he exuded confidence.”
Lennon reportedly said about his conflicted feelings, “I’m not going to change the way I look or the way I feel to conform to anything. I’ve always been a freak…all my life and I have to live with that, you know…Part of me suspects that I’m a loser, and the other part of me thinks I’m God Almighty.”
Self esteem is basically positive self-regard, a realistic acknowledgment of our talents and value as a person. It is not the absurd and trivializing efforts over recent years to make all children in school feel they are “special” and have high [often meaning bloated] self-esteem, as in: “We don’t want anyone to feel left out, so everyone wins a spelling bee award” or “The valedictorian will be chosen by lottery.”
Continued in my Creative Mind post Creative But Insecure.
Is there a need for relationships to be creative?
Psychologist Anne Paris, PhD explains in her article A New Approach to Igniting and Sustaining Creativity, “Contrary to how we’ve been taught to value independence and autonomy, this new scientific evidence is showing that we are at our best when we are connected with others.”
She details some of the potential reasons that may work for people: “When we are feeling frightened or are lacking self-confidence and vitality, we need to look at the state of our relationships, rather than to blame ourselves for being weak and inadequate, or to think that we must somehow find strength and courage from deep within ourselves. We cannot create in a vacuum of isolation: we are helped along in the creative process by certain kinds of emotional support from others that help us to be at our best and to realize our full potentials.”
In her article The Need for Others, Dr. Paris quotes Loren Long, an accomplished artist who has illustrated many books, including “Mr. Peabody’s Apples by Madonna,” “I Dream of Trains” by Angela Johnson and others.
“My wife is not an artist, but she has great taste,” Long said. “I run everything by her, sometimes daily as I’m working on a project. She is my first level of screening. If she likes it, then I feel the confidence to proceed.
“My publishers’ opinions are also very important to me. Not just because they determine if my work is adequate. I admire and respect them a lot. I want them to like what I’ve done.
“I guess that, in general, I always need someone to like my work. If they don’t, my self-doubts come to the surface. You know, like I’m not living up to the grand fantasies I have about myself or about what my work should look like.”
Patterns of thinking and behavior that hold us back
In his book Your Own Worst Enemy: Breaking the Habit of Adult Underachievement, psychologist Kenneth W. Christian, PhD talks about styles or patterns of thinking and behavior that we probably developed in school and early in life, and that solidify into ruts that can limit our fulfillment, achievement and creativity.
One pattern and group, related to perfectionism for some people, is Self-Doubters / Self-Attackers – who “block their success by holding high standards they feel they can never possibly meet and for which they therefore seldom strive.”
>> Here is some related material (not necessarily in my book “Developing Multiple Talents”):
What to do about insecurity and fraud feelings?
In my book and on various sites, I have mentioned Valerie Young, Ed.D. a number of times in connection with her programs and articles for entrepreneurs, and for personal development.
She is author of “The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It” – learn more at her site Overcome the Impostor Syndrome, and sign up for free “Impostor Buster” Words of the Week.
Dr. Young notes on her site that this is not an issue for only one gender. “Men are attending my seminars in increasing numbers, and among graduate students the male-female ratio is roughly fifty-fifty. I’ve heard from or worked with countless men who suffer terribly from their fraud fears, including a member of the Canadian mounted police, an attorney who’d argued before the Supreme Court, a corporate CEO, and an entire team of aerospace engineers, one of whom spoke of the “sheer terror” he feels when handed a major assignment.”
Referring to her book, she says “Despite the title you will find male voices reflected in the book. Once you read the book it will be clear why, in the end, there were more reasons than not to focus more so on women.”
Kindle version: The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It, by Valerie Young, Ed.D.
Also see post: Dealing with self sabotage: Getting beyond impostor feelings.
Personal development author and teacher Morty Lefkoe notes, “The way to improve our internal level of confidence that we apply to life in general is to eliminate our limiting beliefs. Every negative belief we have lowers our internal level of self-confidence – beliefs such as I’m not good enough, I’m inadequate, I’m powerless, I’m not capable, Nothing I do is good enough, and I’m not worthy.”
You can try his Lefkoe Method for free to eliminate one limiting belief at his site ReCreate Your Life.