TED Conversations

Simon Caira

Personal Coach, Peak Performance Techniques

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If it's true that our gifts, passions and identity were educated out of us as we grew up, how can we reclaim and rekindle these gifts?

Sir Ken Robinson asks that we be mindful of the 'really extraordinary capacities that children have - their capacities for innovation,' and he contends, 'All kids have tremendous talents. And we squander them, pretty ruthlessly.'

He says, 'We don't grow into creativity, we grow out of it. Or rather, we get educated out if it.'

He believes - and I tend to agree - that 'many highly talented, brilliant, creative people think they're not, because the thing they were good at at school wasn't valued, or was actually stigmatized.'

Have you been steered away from your true talents in order to follow a more conventional route to success? Or was it your sense of identity that was in some way challenged and even squandered?

Sir Ken believes that a child's ability to take a chance, to not be frightened of being wrong, is lost by the time they become adults. If this is true I guess it's fair to say there are a lot of us running around with limiting core beliefs that inherently hold us back from our originality and creativity. Beliefs like: I'm frightened to make mistakes, or, I'm scared to be wrong.

Identity statements and beliefs govern our thoughts, behaviors, actions and outcomes. I wonder if you agree that you had your identity, creativity and talents educated out of you and what can be done to rekindle the fire of lost passions and to rebuild those latent talents, qualities and abilities?


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    Nov 22 2013: I think Sir Ken is largely right. However, once one wakes up to the lost opportunities in a less-than-perfect upbringing, you can always do something about it.
    I quit my well-paid secure academic post in the year 2000 (good year for a change, I thought) without having any game-plan except I was curious to know if I had anything creative and original left in me to express and contribute. It has been a long journey into the inner world, at times despairing and wondering if I had acted too rashly, but I predict it will be worthwhile in the end.
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      Nov 22 2013: I expect you have seen this talk by this enormously popular speaker: http://www.ted.com/talks/randy_pausch_really_achieving_your_childhood_dreams.html

      I agree that one can often do something closely connected to what one once imagined doing. Sometimes it needs to happen alongside other projects. And some projects are more compatible than others.
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        Nov 22 2013: Hello Fritzie,
        Thank you for the link, which I have just watched.
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      Dec 3 2013: Hi Joshua,
      Good luck on your journey. Just wondering: Are we more capable of realigning with our dreams if we are on our own? And what kind of support do we require from those around us when decide to change direction?
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        Dec 3 2013: Hi Simon,
        I think it's harder on one's own. That's why I like to find like-minded people who accept me as I am and thereby give me support (emotional, practical, non-judgemental, friendship); I'm part of a "men's group" which meets fortnightly for support which fulfills part of that. And I'm very fortunate to have a loving and supportive wife too.
        In the bigger scheme of things, I see it as a journey to try and live authentically "in the world, but not of it", whatever the material outcome looks like. I have long since said good-bye to the comfort of a professional career, its status (and its pension!) but I would not have had it any other way - which indicates I guess I'm on the right track. Sometimes you have to jump first, and sort things out afterwards - otherwise if you want to make a change in direction, you might never do it. It's probably easier if one is very clear about the new direction - which probably means it has been growing alongside as a hobby or something. I took a more open-ended plunge.
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          Dec 3 2013: I could relate to every part of your answer, Joshua.

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