The Romance of Creativity
If you are trying to bring something new into the world, know this:
The creative process is very much like a relationship.
And like most relationships, it usually begins with fascination — that curious state of mind that keeps you spellbound, charmed, and aroused.
Whenever someone gets a new idea, a kind of romance begins.
For many of us, just thinking about a new idea is an aphrodisiac. It turns us on, psyches us up, and otherwise makes it hard to eat, sleep, or obsess about cash flow.
While some people involved in a new relationship are able to sustain this excitement for months, most of us are less fortunate. It’s the rare person who knows how to savor and expand upon this feeling for years.
After the intoxication of the initial encounter wears off, a less-than-incredible reality sets in.
Where once we saw only beauty, now we see blemishes.
To make matters worse, a weird kind performance anxiety enters the picture.
“Will I be good enough to achieve my goal?” we ask. “Do I have what it takes?”
Call it doubt if you like, but any way you slice it, the honeymoon is over.
What follows is a painful period of re-evaluation.
Long-buried fears of being consumed by the “other” surface, driving us into withdrawal. Instead of enjoying the outpouring of creative energy that accompanies a new idea, we study it. We dissect about it. We doubt it. Anything but let go to it.
Before you know it, the approach/avoidance game is upon us. On Monday we’re totally absorbed in our new venture. On Friday, we’re sure it’s a waste of time.
The plot soon thickens.
Instead of maintaining our commitment to our HOT new idea, we begin having flings.
We flirt with other ideas, other possibilities, other new loves. We get into everything and anything — whatever it takes not to sustain our ongoing relationship with our original inspiration.
Is there any hope?
Yes, there is. And something a lot more powerful than hope — awareness.
Simply by being aware of the mind games you play will go a long way towards making magic happen.
To begin with, understand that all romances, no matter how inspiring, are temporary. The trivial ones end. The good ones mature, often growing into committed relationships — even marriages.
If you are serious about your current hot idea, be willing to get closer to it. Be willing to go from the romance stage to an intimate relationship.
Understand what the creative process is — an impossible-to-deny encounter with yourself — your fears, your power, your vision, and what drives you to play the game of life.
Know that you will have your falling out periods and your disagreements. Know that you will sometimes feel like a fraud. And know that the fuel for many creative breakthroughs has not only been passion, purpose, and power, but confusion, conflict, and collapse.
It’s normal. It’s human. It’s part of the process.
Above all, do whatever it takes to put the elation back into your relationship to creativity.
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Leo Tilman and Charles Jacoby write in their book Agility: How to Navigate the Unknown and Seize Opportunity in a…Read More