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Being bold

by Douglas Eby 

"You either had to be willful or risk losing touch with yourself."

Actress Judy Davis made that comment in an interview, saying "To pursue acting... needed a fair degree of willfulness... I grew up in quite an oppressive Catholic society. In order to survive that, you either had to be willful or risk losing touch with yourself."

To be realized, creative ideas often need this kind of boldness, as noted earlier by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, author of "Frankenstein" in 1818: "We ought not to be too anxious respecting the opinions of others. ... Those who are bold enough to advance before the age they live in.. must learn to brave censure."

Shelley lived in a period when women's independence and creativity were actively discouraged - but how much have things changed? 

For example, some studies show boys are five times as likely to get attention from teachers as girls. Fortunately, many girls find the strength and courage to be bold.

In her new autobiography, Cher recounts being in fourth grade for a "sharing day" and getting so bored with it she stood up, called the whole thing "stupid" and walked home. Her grandmother and mom, she writes, both laughed about it: "My family rewarded that kind of independent behavior; they loved an individualist." 

Cher has gone on to be a great example of a bold woman who expresses many talents as singer, actress, director and entrepreneur.

A bold attitude recently helped Joan Chen make her first film as director ("Xiu Xiu, The Sent Down Girl") in spite of opposition from the Chinese government. Chen has commented, "From getting an idea to completing this film.. was obstacle after obstacle after obstacle. I think without that drive, that spiritual need to tell a meaningful story, I would not have been able to do it."

The author of a new book ("Girl Boss") to encourage a creative entrepreneurial spirit for girls, Stacy Kravetz noted in a magazine interview, "Attitude is everything. Attitude will help you stand up and ask for what you want, and it's what will keep you going when you're about to give up." 

Writing in the foreword to the same book, actress Gillian Anderson explained part of how she has found her own creative boldness: "I have been so blessed to portray such a phenomenal woman as Dana Scully. She has taught me about strength and self-worth and personal power. In early episodes, when I was called upon to address large groups of male FBI agents with authority and self assurance, I felt so scared and weak that my voice would come out high-pitched and shaky. 

"But the more I 'acted as if' I was self-assured, the more I felt powerful. And believe it or not, it can be that simple. 'Acting as if' is sometimes all it takes to empower oneself... the more I do this, the more people listen to what I have to say and value my opinion."

Boldness can be put to use in business meetings, as well as on a stage or movie set. Perhaps boldness is something many of us - men and women - have too much forgotten as adults. And something that could help realize our creative ideas more fully. 

NASA scientist Bonnie Buratti has commented "For women, the most important things are: have faith in yourself, and be persistent. If I had listened to the teachers and classmates who made fun of my non-traditional interests, I would never had been able to pursue my dreams and goals of being a part of the great tradition of scientific knowledge and discovery."


Stacy Kravetz. Girl Boss: Running the Show like the Big Chicks: Entrepreneurial Skills, Stories, and Encouragement for Modern Girls

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