The Laws of Nature

Saturday, January 2, 2010

You Are More Than Creative Enough

Sometimes a small voice singing the most beautiful song reminds us of the myriad of creative possibilities that exist within each of us. Or, to put it another way, even a "birdbrain" can create something beautiful. The fourteenth principle in Ian Roberts' book Creative Authenticity reminds artists that "You are more than creative enough." By that, he means that ALL of us possess more than enough brain capacity for creativity. The author writes:

Own your creativity. You are a creative being by nature ... the question is not whether you are creative enough but whether you will free yourself to express the creativity that is uniquely yours.

So, being creative enough isn't the problem. Rather, it's our courage to explore and gain experience; to fight our fears about inadequacy. The point is, when it comes to our art, we fear too much. We fear that we're not creative enough, smart enough, inspired enough, skilled enough, etc. We often fear what other people think about our art and ourselves.

One of my favorite quotes is from Franklin Delano Roosevelt's first Inaugural Address: The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.


Mark Twain: Do the thing you fear most and the death of fear is certain.


Bill Cosby: In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.

Perhaps this is the year that we'll conquer our remaining fears. I take my cue from the sparrow who has no thoughts other than to sing her song at the top of her voice without inhibition.

Your thoughts?


M said...

Many people have an over inflated ideas about creativity and set the bar at genius level! That puts them out of the running (and off the hook sometimes).

I've always found that if I give myself enough time and access to materials new connections are made and new work results. I try not to censor ideas too early in the game. I often think what if... when I am stuck and act on one or two of the ideas I come up with. Brainstorming ideas before ever beginning work is an excellent way to "clear out your mind". I really believe that linking improves thinking.

Anonymous said...
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Carolyn Abrams said...

I like this point. I have always felt that everyone is creative, you just have to tap into it. In working with the elderly and dimentia population as well as disabled adults i have found that the two latter populations have no preconceived notion of what it is to be creative and therefore just make art. Many of which i am humbled by given their limitations. Some of my elderly students limit themselves because they think it should look like something or its not good enough, etc. etc. It takes a while to break through that so they can just enjoy the art of creating. It's been an interesting and enlightening art journey working with them.

I like the points you all make especially margaret's linking improves thinking. great quote!

Myrna Wacknov said...

Interestingly, some people are afraid of success. But, mostly, I feel people are too focused on end results and not enough on just the act of creating.
The "doing" is so much more valuable to me. When I get a good result, that is a bonus!

Unknown said...

Hi Margaret - I completely agree with you that brainstorming is a very effective way to begin. Thanks for sharing your ideas so articulately! "Linking improves thinking" is a great statement. Thank you for it!

Hi Pam - Thanks so much for sharing your insights. I think that there's a fine balance between perceiving oneself to be an artist and having the rest of the world agree. What I mean is that we can see ourselves as artists, but that doesn't mean that we'll necessarily produce something that could be considered "art" unless it meets certain criteria. The criteria for what makes something a work of "art" are debatable, but this is something I intend to address later in the week for discussion. Thanks for commenting!

Hi Carolyn - your work with dimentia patients and disabled adults is inspiring and interesting. You have a unique viewpoint of what creativity is all about when you see the creations of your students and witness their process. I'm certain you have a lot to share about that! Thanks for commenting.

Hi Myrna- you make a very good point. The notion of "success" is intimidating and the act of creating is so much more rewarding. Thank you for reminding us of this!

Anonymous said...

My fear: what if I never tried? Wouldn't that be sad. Oh, I have the other fears too, but the fear of never trying trumps all.

The "C" word isn't so daunting once I remind myself it will reveal itself with time!

Good post to follow up the marketing one!

Mark Sheeky said...

I'd be nothing without my fears, they are the food of the surreal and of creativity. If a being felt only love or nothing then the art would be namby pamby, or boring! The discovery of a new fear is something to cherish, and to be painted!

However, on the general point of your post I agree that learning no skill can improve art better than gaining confidence. Does this contradict my paragraph above? Not to me! Is a solid gold electric spoon a better artistic statement than an egg quivering in its shell? That was definitely a rhetorical question!

Unknown said...

Hi Peggy - I suspect that you'll never be found guilty of "not trying!" You have a wonderful work ethic and your drawings reflect that - veru

Hi Mark - I agree that fear as an emotion expressed through a work of art is good subject matter, indeed. It's one of the basic human emotions that needs artistic expression. Of course, as you note, that differs from the fear of creating art in the context of this post .... or, maybe not. Maybe we should also paint our fear of painting :)

hw (hallie) farber said...

Maybe creating is like breathing. Some take deep breaths; some shallow--just a part of being.

Unknown said...

Hi Hallie - what a wonderful way to put it!! Thank you.

layers said...

I think you are right--- fear -- of failure, of falling short, of the blank canvas-- whatever it is-- fear is the block to creativity.
by the way--- happy and successful 2010 to you!

Celeste Bergin said...

..Here is my favorite Winston Churchill (a fellow plein air painter) quote:
"One ought never to turn one's back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half."
Was he a smart man or what! Well, yes, that's been established. lol.

Unknown said...

Hi Donna - thank you for your comments, and Happy New Year to you as well!!

Hi Celeste - great quotation! Thanks so much.

-Don said...

I'm "afraid" I've showed up too late to this discussion to add anything that hasn't already been stated so well by all those who came before me.

I have always believed that creativity exists in every one of us. Convincing others of this has always been a challenge. But, now I have a new and powerful weapon for use in future debates over this thanks to Hallie.

Now it's time to go breathe all over a canvas and be...