Do You Feel Inadequate? Good.
Feeling inadequate and riddled with self-doubt has a positive side.
Posted Mar 30, 2015
Do you feel inadequate, that you’re not as talented as others? Good. Feeling inadequate is a driving force to do better. The self-satisfied are not the ones producing interesting things. They’re sitting back feeling smug and conceited.
Over many years talking to and researching creative people, I’ve learned that self-doubt is an important motivator. When I was a student at the Royal College of Art, many famous people such as Ridley Scott, Henry Moore and Dennis Hopper used to visit to discover the new trends. I was always struck by their humility. I particularly remember the students’ surprise when David Bowie, who all of us were in awe of, was particularly insecure and regarded us as ‘proper’ and ‘serious’ artists and himself as a mere lightweight pop star. Self-doubt as a motivator is one of the themes I explore in my new book The Art of Creative Thinking.
It doesn't matter how much successful creative people actually achieve, they always feel inadequate. ‘Sometimes I wake up in the morning before going off to a shoot, and I think, I can’t do this; I’m a fraud. They’re going to fire me — all these things. I’m fat; I’m ugly . . .’ admitted the actress Kate Winslet, despite being the youngest person ever to acquire six Academy Award nominations and winning an Academy Award for Best Actress for The Reader.
The great creative minds are often racked with self-doubt but they turn it into a driving force, an engine that pushes them forward rather than something that holds them back. Because they feel inadequate they have to prove they are not. They do that by trying to do great things. If we want to be more creative, instead of building our self-confidence, perhaps we should be cultivating feelings of inadequacy?
Copyright Rod Judkins
This article is based on a chapter from my book The Art of Creative Thinking.