Creating equals vulnerability. That is it. There is no way around it. In my opinion, this is this most common reason people will stifle their creativity, especially if the process (or sometimes even the end product) will be seen by someone else. We fear failure. We fear criticism. We fear rejection or judgment.
The problem with this is that it is a Catch-22. If we won’t do something because we are not already good at it, and we can’t become good at it if we won’t do it…well, it’s just never going to happen.
But, why should you risk failure? Why should you put yourself out there? Who are you to think you have something worth offering the world? Why not stay secure since you know there are no guarantees? Well, I’m so glad you asked. Here are my reasons why you need to take those risks, fail, be vulnerable and use your beneficent creativity:
1. You produce unique things that are more special (and often more cost effective).
2. When you achieve enough skill in the area in which you are creating, you can enter a state of flow while doing it, in which you are fully energized and immersed in the task at hand. This reduces anxiety, worry and stress and brings feelings of contentment and purpose. And, when you feel better, so do the people around you.
3. Connected to #2: sometimes the process is the point. The act of creating can bring so much joy and contentment, sometimes the end product is just the icing on the cake.
4. We don’t learn or improve without failure. Failure is just a part of every life that succeeds. If your life never includes failure, I’d argue it probably doesn’t include much success either.
5. Sometimes, just sometimes, the criticism you receive is the very thing that improves your work and brings it to a new level. It can be the thing that sparks a whole new creative idea.
6. The world, our communities, our neighborhoods, our families and circles of friends need our creativity. There are practical problems everywhere both large and small that need creative ideas and solutions. If everyone is afraid to offer what they can, we’ll never get anywhere.
7. The progress you make in your skills along the way brings a sense of self confidence. And the more confidence you have in yourself, the more willing you’ll be to be vulnerable and risk being creative. It is a self-perpetuating cycle. You just have to start it.
8. Finding others who are learning and creating right along with you (like me!) brings new friends and a support group into your life. We all need those connections and the rippling benefit of those connections reach way beyond just ourselves.
9. Being brave and vulnerable encourages others to do the same. Nothing makes us want to act like seeing someone else act.
10. People are usually nicer and more encouraging about your creative efforts than you think they are going to be. Think of what you are afraid someone might say about what you make. Is that something you could ever imagine yourself saying to someone’s face? If not, they probably won’t either. And if they do, just remember what Brene Brown says, “Don’t try to win over the haters; you are not a jackass whisperer.”
“Vulnerability is the root of all emotions and experiences that we crave. Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy and creativity. Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage.” – Brene Brown
That sounds like the life I want.
It’s true, most of us will never be the very best at whatever we try (only one in 7 billion gets the distinction of “very best” in any category), but what we will be is a group of people who are willing to be vulnerable for the sake of our own lives and for the sake of the people and planet around us.
That sounds beneficent.