An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail. -Edwin Land
What is the difference between you and the great Creatives of our world? Is creativity a gift for only a select few? Yes and no. Are there some outliers like the DaVinci's and Steve Jobs' of history who have a unique gift for thinking creatively? Yes, but I would like to put forth that creativity is like a muscle. Although there are a gifted few, we all can increase our creative prowess just like we can build any other muscle, namely, through proper exercise and use. Trust me, you have much more in you than you realize.
Why are you not as creative as you should be? I'm sure the answer varies by person, but generally the answer is fear. This is the part where you roll your eyes, and think you are about to get a bunch of psycho babble. Well, I'm no psychologist, but humans are pretty much all the same. From a very early age we are encouraged to be creative. We draw pictures that look horrible and are told they look beautiful. We pretend to be our favorite superheroes and dream of one day conquering the world. We are asked what we want to be when we grow up and are met with encouragement no matter how crazy our answers are. Then, as we get older, something happens, and society is less interested in us expressing our creativity and more interested in conforming to best social practices. I'm not sure exactly when this happens, but it definitely happens. One minute, you are a knight, conquering the world, the next minute you are forced into doing things the way everyone else does things.
Some people never stop dreaming and these people are the people we admire or denigrate. You see, most people can't handle being on the tails of the Bell Curve. Most people can't handle the baggage that comes with being creative. Think about Steve Jobs for a moment. Imagine his life. Once he proved to the world that he was a creative genius he was then under almost constant pressure to continue coming up with the next life changing Apple product. Rarely was an Apple announcement met with neutral opinions. No, people either loved or denigrated Jobs' newest brain child. Human beings are excellent observers of other human beings and we quickly realize that creative people are either loved or hated. Have you ever met someone who had no opinion of an artist? Start talking Picasso with someone and you will be met with adulation or laughter. This is the price the Creative must pay and the question you must ask yourself.
Can you handle the praise and the persecution of being creative? Are you afraid of success? What if you tell someone your ideas and you get laughed at? What if your ideas are met with praise? Can you handle the stress of having to be creative a second, third or even fourth time? What if your creativity runs out? What if people love you because of your creativity? Fear is the root of your monotonous life. Before we begin to start talking about how to increase our creativity we must sit down and take stock of our own thoughts and emotions and recognize that fear of failure or even success could quite possibly be the thing that is keeping us from stepping out and being creative.
Ok, so you agree with me that fear is the problem. What do you do now? Here are five things to remember before you read any further:
- People will judge you
- People will love you
- People will dislike you
- People will judge you
- People will judge you
So what? If you spend your life worrying about what other people say or think about you then you will never reach your full potential and you are giving people way too much control of your life. Wouldn't it be stupid if Bill Gates took all his critics to heart? Everyone knows Microsoft has plenty of haters. So what? Bill Gates is a billionaire who has produced a product that most everyone in the world who uses a computer uses or has used at some point in their life. Forget the critics. What if Jim Carrey stopped making movies because of the people who don't think he is funny? Do you think successfully creative people have no critics? Do you think they have magically received nothing but praise, adulation and encouragement their entire lives? Of course not.
There will always people who don't like what you do. How many amazing inventions would we be without today if their creators had listened to their critics? Didn't someone once say that the idea of a horseless carriage would never catch on? Didn't someone once say we would never go the moon? Didn't someone once say the world was flat? The neigh sayers are a dime a dozen. Me, I'm going to the moon.
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