by Sunil Bali, 29-03-15

I was reminded last week of a blog I wrote last year, and what is perhaps an unusual alliance:

Sir Ken Robinson, Lemmy of Motorhead and Professor Teresa Amabile of Harvard.

They all agree on one thing: conformity kills creativity.

"Selling your heart, selling yourself short, selling your soul, that’s prostitution," said Lemmy, legendary libertarian and front man of Motorhead – 69 years old, still touring and still defying medical science.

Research by Professor Amabile shows that whilst seeking congratulations is natural, it ultimately corrupts the creative process and diminishes the quality of what is produced.

The paradox is: The less we care about the affections of our audience, the more people will be affected by our work.

Professor Amabile’s research shows that when you focus on the process of getting better, rather than pleasing your audience, you’re far more likely to achieve mastery and share the disproportionate rewards that come with being a top performer.

We know that those who are prepared to see things differently are the ones that make a difference; the ones that change the world. But it takes courage to be yourself, in a world that is continually trying to make you conform to a stereotype of who you should be.

It takes courage to think out loud, when others are trying to suppress your thoughts with their own.

It takes courage to run the other way, when the herd is running to the edge of the cliff.

Staying silent won’t save you. It will haunt you till your last breath, with the words "if only" ringing in your ears.

Conformity is the slowest way to kill your soul or as JFK said, "Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth."

Stand strong. Think for yourself. Speak your truth.

Don’t take my word for it. Listen to Forrest Gump …..

Jenny: "Do you have a dream Forrest, about who you’re going to be?"

Forrest: "Aren’t I going to be me?"

Ps. Here’s the most viewed video ever on TED – 32 million views – by Sir Ken Robinson. It’s very profound, funny and moving:

Killing Creativity


  1. My neighbor rang my doorbell at 3am in the morning.

    Can you believe it? 3am in the morning.

    Luckily I was still awake playing my drums.

  2. I saw a sign that said "Watch for children" and I thought, "That sounds like a fair trade.
  3. I refused to believe my road worker father was stealing from his job, but when I got home, all the signs were there.
  4. I’m on a wine diet. I’ve lost three days already.


Have a great week.