Saturday, May 07, 2005

It Takes Courage To Be Creative

"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great." - Mark Twain

Getting beyond what others think is a huge victory, at least it was for me. And even the belief that those "others" might be out there judging new endeavors is often enough to keep us in status quo behavior even when we know it's not the best solution.

This seems to be especially true when it comes to creativity. I didn't realize how difficult it really is to define creativity until I started to think more about it. My own definition would be something like: the ability to create; inventing something new; or coming up with fresh ideas. I used to think that people were either born creative or they weren't, and that creative people were those people who could draw, or paint, or act, or write.

Even the dictionary doesn't do a very good job of defining it - at least not much better than I did. says: n. The ability to create.

I believe now that the level of my own creativity was in direct proportion to my level of courage. I spent so much of my youth as a perfectionist that I had very little space to be creative. Being creative means being willing to step outside the traditional into the unknown. It means being willing to make a mistake - to take a risk - to get beyond worrying about what others think and following your heart and soul and intuition.

As I've started listening to my life speak, I find that my true self is, as some have called me, a boat rocker - a limb sitter - a trailblazer. I've found it to be much easier to follow my heart than to feel pressured to justify my existence in a work environment that doesn't know what to do with me.

I believe that everyone has the ability to be creative. But in order for people to connect with their inate creativity, there has to be some semblance of courage present as well, because many of us don't have enough experience out on the limb or outside the status quo to even know how to support someone who's venturing out there. It might seem to be lonely out on the limb, but it's much less lonely when you find others in the same place than it is to be struggling alone amid other closet creatives, none of whom is yet ready or willing to venture into the unknown.

Living creatively = living courageously.


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