Four TED Talks to Inspire Your Creativity — Part Two

Swirl pattern color background

© Charon |

In Part One, we met visual storyteller Béatrice Coron and arts educator Sir Ken Robinson. The series concludes with insights from a writer and a film director on how they create.

Curiosity drives Amy Tan’s creative process. It serves her as she searches for personal meaning and strives to bring forth something out of nothing. 

The writer, whose debut novel was bestseller The Joy Luck Club, recognizes the world’s uncertainty. It prompts her to question why and how things happen. In seeking to create her own life, she asks, “How do I make things happen?”

In her TED Talk, Tan touches on the random aspects of life. She reflects on her childhood and tough events. Both her father and brother died from brain tumors within six months of each other.

Tan sees synchronicity operating in her life, noting that when she is aware of these random coincidences, more of them happen.

For example, she is writing a story set in a Chinese village and becomes stuck for a detail on cairns. Walking on the beach with a friend, she spots a man creating amazing stacks from large rocks, using no glue. He tells her that with everything in life, there is a place of balance. The universe has sent her what she needs to know.

For Tan, there is beauty in uncertainty. She appreciates it — a plus for a writer, who entrusts her creative product to readers who then interpret her stories in their own ways.

An Indian myth says the rich survive on the shoulders of the poor. This idea grounds a fictional world director Shekhar Kapur has created in his film Paani to show the struggle for a limited resource.

In his story, an upper city houses the wealthy, who get water. A lower city, reserved for the poor, gets their drops. The idea grew from an experience Kapur had in Bombay where he saw poor women and their children carrying buckets to get water from a tanker.

Kapur believes the world is a contradiction. His stories come from his search for harmony. However, he cautions that harmony is not to be confused with resolution, which is finite. As he creates, he is comfortable with ambiguity and embracing eternity.

In fact, Kapur says that panic drives his creative process. He thrives on not knowing whether an answer will come to him because that chaotic state holds the power. It allows you the luxury to “get rid of your mind” and go to the universe. It’s there you find creativity.

Join Kapur as he shares the power of visual storytelling and elaborates on his creative process.


Do you relate to these artists’ creative processes? Do you find commonalities among the four speakers in the series?

You might also enjoy Four TED Talks to Inspire Your Creativity — Part One

About creativeconsiderations

Christine Sullivan is a communications strategist with expertise in communications planning, writing and content development, and executive communications. She can be reached at
This entry was posted in Creativity and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s