This is a really interesting topic that I will definitely continue to think more about.
To start with, Creativity is a value that I hold especially close to my heart, and I’ve had personal “crises of confidence” that have threatened my creative confidence. I’ve been playing the violin for almost two decades, and I’ve watched as amazing musicians (myself included) begin to have their creativity questioned by their peers, by mentors, by audience members, etc. I used to consider the possibility of playing the violin in a professional setting but was somewhat warded off the idea by the intense pressure I experienced as a younger musician.
I can truthfully say that I felt most comfortable with my creativity as a musician when I was surrounded by supportive and amazingly creative peers. Never mind the parents who always seem to try to pitch their children in competitions against one another. The way I see music is this: we are all striving toward a common goal – mastering our craft and showing the world how beautiful our craft can be. This belief very much parallels my thoughts on creativity. Competition can be alarmingly regressive; in my experience, intense competition has forced individuals to back down on their creative talents and shy away from their respective craft.
In order to truly preserve creative confidence, our focus cannot be on who is most skilled or most talented, who is winning the most competitions, who has the most potential in the future, etc. Creativity is here and now. Regardless of the craft the individual is learning – if he/she is able to nurture creativity, he/she will have the upper hand in all future endeavors.
This is not to say that all competition is horrible. I’ve had great experiences where I’ve been able to compete with friends and still focus on nurturing creativity. This is why I mentioned the importance of being surrounded by “supportive and amazingly creative peers”. As long as we are all constantly focused on our goals and reminded of why we spend so much time and energy on what we do, I feel that the passion of creativity will never be lost.
Nurturing creativity starts at a young age and can be beaten down in a moment’s notice by his/her surroundings. I feel that we can help young people build their creative confidence by nurturing a creative environment, in which everybody is continuously learning and creating – rather than competing.