The Antithesis of Creativity

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Immersed in a whirlpool of ideas, some good, some worth dropping off a cliff to the jagged rocks below, still others leading to publication or other successes, creativity abounds in all of us. It’s how we use that energy, how we channel it into our passions that defines us as artists or strategists or inventors or a number of other creative-based professions. When we are fearless, we are at our best.

It’s that moment when we let apprehension stand in our way; when we let self-doubt consume our inspirations; when we allow aversion to risk-taking to override our passions. That moment when the reaper positions his queen with that bony hand to proclaim checkmate. Fear is the consummate eternal when we grant it the opportunity.

Fear comes in many valid forms: an explosion at a chemical factory, an out-of-control eighteen-wheeler on a busy highway, an angry dictatorial boss, the wrong end of a gun. All physical, all legitimate. Even a zombie invasion should one occur. It’s the fear in our heads that restrains us, prevents us from taking ownership of our ideas, of executing an idea as the lingering possibility of retribution or disappointment hangs six inches in front of our noses. That is the antithesis of creativity, which has claimed so many unwritten stories and unperformed songs. And it lives in our collective subconscious, both culturally and individually.

Those lucky fortunate few who have made a killing following their creativity passions, those people we are fans of and consume everything they produce. We love them, we want to emulate them and collect everything they’ve ever touched. We hang on their every last words. We wonder: How did they do it? Right place at the right time? Perhaps. More than likely, they took control of fear. They did not listen to the naysayers – themselves the products of internalized fear – they channeled that energy into their passions, they took risks knowing that at any moment we may reject them. Through every mountain and canyon, they persevered.

Bottom line: we are products of ourselves, we are our own creators. We define what we put out there, assuming we take the first step allowing our viscera to be exposed. The sad reality is, most of us are willing to give in without a fight. Don’t do that.

Push forward. Follow your passion. Create.

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2 thoughts on “The Antithesis of Creativity

  1. David, I was writing something this week and your post and my thoughts must have crossed. I was writing about taking a risk and one student said to me, "It's risky to put yourself in a position where people might judge your decisions and your behavior. And yet, as I continue to learn, there lies the stuff to which other people can truly relate." And I think she was right when she said that. We need to risk our vulnerabilities to connect with the acceptance of other people's emotions. The risk is that it won't work, or that people will not understand why you felt the way you did. But the pay off is that they will completely understand – and the feelings of humanity, the feelings that the reader isn't alone, that risk is always a failure if you never known what its reward looks like. Sometimes, I feel like I just don't expose myself enough… I don't send out my work, don't talk about myself and promote that I can write and share experiences. And other times, I think, I just don't want to be rejected. I don't want to have the failure to remind me. I know that isn't acceptable, but sometimes, it is easier to wait. And you said it clearly, "most of us are willing to give in, without a fight. Don't do it." Teaching is the same way – no one wants to be exposed for what we don't know. So, we cover it up and never risk exposure to our students. But when we do, the students realize that the teacher is learning and living just as passionately as they are. Sometimes, discovery together is better than a teacher instructing a student. I love those moments when we learn in the moment together. It is much more exciting – but it will expose your weaknesses and your uncertainties. As writer or a teacher, the quicker you offer up that exposure and share your ability to fail… the quicker you will get to the good stuff. Nice work. Be well, Ron

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