When you have creative confidence, you know how to strike that balance between uncertainty, false starts and mistakes. You know that is all just a part of the process.
All of us are born creative. As children, we revel in imaginary play, ask random questions, draw blobs and call them faeries. But over time, because of socialisation and formal education, a lot of us start to stifle those impulses. We learn to be warier of judgment, more cautious, more analytical. The world seems to divide into “creatives” and “non-creatives,” and too many people consciously or unconsciously resign themselves to the latter category.
A person with creative confidence does not lose their direction. Even when everyone has an opinion – they follow their own principles and their own ideas. They might not have all the answers but they have a clear plan that inspires confidence in them. There is thoughtfulness and diligence in their work – a quality shines through.
Fear can steal your pride. The courage you build up to be creative can be stolen away by fear. It is a voice, inside you that whispers and steals your creativity. It can cripple you and consume you. It can determine where you are going.
“Tell your fear that it can come along for the ride, but it is not in the driver’s seat. Because if you can’t learn to travel comfortably alongside your fear, then you’ll never be able to go anywhere interesting or do anything interesting. That would be a pity because life is short and you want to be able to do interesting things while you’re still here. The clock is ticking and we simply do not have time to think small”. – Elizabeth Gilbert
Creativity is something you practice, not just a talent you’re born with.
If the scribbling, singing, dancing kindergartner symbolises unfettered creative expression, the awkward teenager represents the opposite: someone who cares—deeply—about what other people think. It takes only a few years to develop that fear of judgment, but it stays with us throughout our adult lives. Most of us accept that when we are learning. As a result, we self-edit, killing potentially creative ideas because we’re afraid our bosses or peers will see us fail. We stick to “safe” solutions or suggestions. We hang back, allowing others to take risks. But you can’t be creative if you are constantly censoring yourself.
Half the battle is to resist judging yourself. If you can listen to your own intuition and embrace more of your ideas (good and bad), you’re already partway to overcoming this fear. Instead of letting thoughts run through your head and down the drain, capture them systematically in some form of idea notebook. Defer your own judgment and you’ll be surprised at how many ideas you have—and like—by the end of the week.
Instead of letting thoughts run through your head and down the drain, capture them systematically in some form of idea notebook. Keep a whiteboard and marker in the shower. Schedule daily “white space” in your calendar, where your only task is to think or take a walk and daydream. When you try to generate ideas, shoot for 100 instead of 10. Defer your own judgment and you’ll be surprised at how many ideas you have—and like—by the end of the week.
Even when we want to embrace our creative ideas, acting on them presents its own challenges. Creative efforts are hardest at the beginning. You need to stop planning and just get started—and the best way to do that is to stop focusing on the huge overall task and find a small piece you can tackle right away. Your mantra should be “Don’t get ready, get started!” The first step will seem much less daunting if you make it a tiny one and you force yourself to do it right now. Rather than stalling and allowing your anxiety to build, just start inching toward the snake.
Fear is there to let you know that something is worth doing. Your limitations however as self-imposed and are chosen out of fear. See how beautiful your ideas and goals are. There is so much potential. This is your only life to live.
Feel the fear and do it anyway.
Make the decision that your life is going to be driven by creative fulfilment over fear. Challenge yourself to explore. To write that post, tell that story, paint that painting, sing your song and share your love.
When you look pack, you will be grateful you faced your fear.