Scarlett Johansson; Jennifer Lawrence; Ego & Creativity; Sandra Tsing Loh; Your Best Life in the Arts course


As many actors and other creative people have noted, facing our fears is often a key to developing creativity and doing exceptional creative work.

Talking about taking on one of the most iconic theatrical roles, Maggie in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” Scarlett Johansson refers to making more demanding choices on herself for roles.

Jennifer Lawrence

“I always felt dumber than everybody else. I hated it. I hated being inside. I hated being behind a desk. School just kind of killed me.” Jennifer LawrenceRelated article: Does School Support Your Creative Growth?

“I don’t take any of my characters’ pain home with me… I’ve never been through anything that my characters have been through…So I just use my imagination. If it ever came down to the point where, to make a part better, I had to lose a little bit of my sanity, I wouldn’t do it.” Jennifer Lawrence [‘The Hunger Games’, ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ etc]

But a number of actors say it is hard for them to leave their characters “at the office” – Mariska Hargitay, for example, has talked about finding it hard to “shake off” some of the horrific stories she helps portray on her long-running TV show “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.” — From post: Psychologist Cheryl Arutt on Mental Health and Creative People.

Ego & Creativity

Ciarán Hinds refers to working with another actor in the past: “This actress was very good, very young, but totally demanding. It was all about ‘me, me, me’. When you find somebody who doesn’t give and take, you go, Remind me never to work with you again.” //”What kills creativity? Ego.” Actress Gillian Anderson. One sense of this word “ego” is a distorted self-regard, what psychologist Carl Jung referred to as “inflated consciousness… hypnotized by itself.”
From my related article: Ego and Creativity.

In a recent edition of her newsletter, creativity coach Jenna Avery had a thoughtful section on getting distracted away from our identity and creative vision. Here is an excerpt:

“As a sensitive, creative, thoughtful writer, artist, or entrepreneur it’s easy to forget who you are and what you’re about.

“This is because you are so tuned into the world around you, you can become a bit of a chameleon.”

For more about programs and resources by creativity coach Jenna Avery see her site

While many people may be encouraged to pursue their creativity, many others have had to exercise their courage and go against the values, wishes and advice of parents and friends.

Sandra Tsing Loh is a Caltech graduate in physics and an accomplished writer, performer, radio commentator (on NPR’s Morning Edition and on Ira Glass’ This American Life), a contributing editor to The Atlantic Monthly, author of multiple books, star of solo theatrical shows, and a composer.

In our interview, she said her parents were “extremely supportive” and “told us we were really smart and talented and could do anything.”

But, she says, it was a “very very big issue” not to pursue science. “When I graduated from CalTech with a BS in physics, and went on to English in grad school – in our family, with our values, it was kind of a failure not to go on to your PhD in physics.”

Support Programs for Creative People

Eric Maisel’s creative support group  – “Perfect for writers, visual artists, musicians, creative and performing artists in any discipline, and anyone who would like to meet the challenges of the creative life and manifest his or her creativity more regularly, more deeply, and more often.”
~~~Another program: Your Best Life in the Arts – Course by Eric Maisel, PhD, available for immediate download – “You’ll learn to identify the challenges that confront you as an artist-and what to do about them…silence negative self-talk, create and cultivate productive obsessions, institute a regular creativity practice, more effectively meet the marketplace, and more.”


Being Highly Sensitive and Creative

[my book]

A number of psychologists and authors acknowledge that the personality trait of high sensitivity accompanies creative ability and passion.Psychologists and neuroscience researchers are finding more confirmation for this trait of sensory processing sensitivity, present in at least fifteen percent of us, and are defining how it relates to creative ability.



Developing Multiple Talents: The personal side of creative expression

[my book]

Two of many reviews:

“Part book about creativity, part compendium of useful tidbits, quotations and research, and part annotated bibliography, this is a wildly useful and highly entertaining resource.” – Stephanie S. Tolan, writer and consultant on the gifted.

“Packed full of insights and resources for the creative life, this book offers new ways to thrive as a creative person.” – Cynthia Morris, Creativity Coach

Kindle   |   Website – reviews, excerpts & PDF version


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