Creative people are often admired. Many aspire to be more creative but get stuck in conventional ways of thinking. Some people still believe that creative ability is genetic--either they're born with it or they'll never have it. Sadly, that faulty belief limits the believer's own potential for growth and success. I think there's a more dangerous assumption, however, and that is that real creativity always flows easily, with no conscious effort required.

The truth is, creative ability is just like any other talent or skill. It has to be fed, nurtured, and continually exercised. The most successful "creatives" have made character development part of their creative practice. They build a work ethic, embrace the need for discipline, and act with integrity. And their effort shows in the quality of their output. Below are quotes from 20 of the most respected creative professionals working today. I hope their thoughts will inspire you to give your own natural creative ability the time and energy it deserves.

1. "I'd rather believe in my own choice and see it all go wrong than do something I'm not fully convinced of and later feel guilty about it." - Alicia Keys

2. "There's no black and white in this world; it's all grey. That's what people are like! No one think they're a baddie. Everyone thinks they're trying to do their bit to make the world a better place." - Riz Ahmed

3. "You have to be willing to ask questions that almost no one else would ask." - Samantha Bee

4. "What sets you apart can feel like a burden, and it's not. A lot of the time, it's what makes you great." - Emma Stone

5. "Laughing can serve you in dark moments and even help you crawl your way back out." - Ryan Reynolds

6. "To not have any hope is where things start to get really bleak. Things are possible. The impossible can be possible." - Sarah Paulson

7. "As much as I'd only like to concentrate on the creative side of acting, the whole business in general is just that - a business - and you have to do your homework if you want to be successful." - Margot Robbie

8. "Soul is about authenticity. Soul is about finding the things in your life that are real and pure." - John Legend

9. "Recovery is something that you have to work on every single day and it's something that it doesn't get a day off." -Demi Lovato

10. "I mean, you can't make anything without making mistakes, is the truth, and I'm very grateful for those misses that I've had in my career at home, because you learn so much more from them than you ever do from the hits. You learn that you really have to work hard, which I wasn't really doing at that time. You sort of think 'I've cracked it, I'm doing it.' And you start to think perhaps you're more of a dude than you really are." - James Corden

11. "They say the two most important days in a person's life were the day you were born and the day you discover why you were born." - Viola Davis

12. "When you become the image of your own imagination, it's the most powerful thing you could ever do." - RuPaul

13. "We have to be that wedge that drives the question and asks the hard questions." -Danny Glover

14. "Be Yourself. Embrace your quirks." - Ed Sheerhan

15. "If your dream only includes you, it's too small." - Ava DuVernay

16. "I think we need to remember...that a lot of energy was put into changing things to get us to the point where we are now. But being where we are now doesn't mean that we don't have to put in the same kind of energy to get us to a place where we ought to be." ­-Kerry James Marshall

17. "To make something new in fashion, you have to stay in a little bit of mad place and do a revolution." - Alessandro Michele

18. "It is failure that guides evolution; perfection provides no incentive for improvement, and nothing is perfect." - Colson Whitehead, The Intuitionist

19. "I have nothing to explain. As for being misunderstood, I have grown accustomed to that." Fan BingBing

20. "It takes 10 years to become funny, first of all. You don't start thinking about your voice until you REALLY realize that you're funny. I pretty much know who I am as a person, so that's why my voice is so real. Because I'm honest. It took me a long time to accept myself, people, and once I did, it was on and crackin.'" - Leslie Jones