Is the fear of failure killing your creativity? Here’s what you can do about it
“I want to learn how to paint but I am scared of failing ….I want to write a book but what if no one wants to read it…why create something no one will see/like/value?” Sound familiar. It is normal for professional and beginner artists to worry about creations being deemed as a waste of time, space and money. And we allow such self-defeating thoughts of failure to get in our own way of success before we have even made a start.
Such fears are self-sabotaging as we don’t give ourselves the opportunity to learn from our failures. For some such fears lead to the end of their creative journey before it begins. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
One small step
“The journey to a thousand miles starts with a single step”
What this means is need to push through and fear and take just one small step at a time. Michelangelo took 3-4 years to sculpt his masterpiece of David as a professional artist. He also undertook his first painting project while he considered himself as a sculptor not a painter. Want to take a guess at the painting he created? Yes – the ceiling of Sistine Chapel.
You might say that he must have been born with such artistic genius. Perhaps. However even the geniuses such as Michelangelo made a start somewhere!
So just start with…one word…one brush-stroke…or one small step. Then keep going. One day all of your tiny steps would lead you somewhere you never imagined you could be.
“Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try.”
Consider failures as ‘happy accidents’
Have a go and if you fail, try again. Failure not only shows you what didn’t work, they also highlight new possibilities. Enjoy the process of creation as with each step you learn bit more. Thus failure is a part of growth. If you still end up with a muddy mess on your canvas – that’s Ok. Start over. Have another go and try new ideas. Remove the fear by expecting failure.
Create from your heart
Adapt your thinking to create from your heart or a place of love. When we create with love, we intuitively push through our fears. We often do this in life.
Now try creating from a place of love and watch your fears fade away. That’s one of the best ways to turbo-charge your creativity and move past and through any hurdle – creative or otherwise.
Discover your ‘unique’ creative voice
Start experimenting with ‘failure’ and treat these as prototypes. Explore to identify that one ‘thing’ that makes you different from other creators. Then take the courage to set free your personality to the world.
It doesn’t matter if someone doesn’t like it. You see… art appreciation is extremely subjective. For every person who dislikes your work, there will be someone who adores it. So go ahead, find your ‘unique’ and express it to the world.
This is something that I tell all my students when they start. And this literally gives them wings to create freely despite any fear tugging at their heart.
Enjoy the creative process
When we stop obsessing about the final product or perfection of the outcome, we set ourselves free to be adventurous unleashing our creative side. And this is an important mindset that will enable you to keep our creativity nourished and ready to go when needed.
Don’t get me wrong. For those of you who are professionals, perfection matters and you should aim for it. But remember that perfection results out of practice and is bit like aiming to create a ‘zero-calorie’ cake.
Imagine such a cake that you can eat all you like and never gain an inch! First such a recipe would need many…many…MANY experiments to invent…then this recipe would require many…many…MANY trial runs/aka practice to get all the ingredients right for it to be devoured as a one in a million cake.
What this means, don’t allow fear of creating works that aren’t perfect stop you from being creative. Perfection requires practice and that is secondary.
First create… then perfect your creation.
So go ahead and take your first step to discovering your own creative genius. Be curious. Explore. Create fearlessly.
I’ll love you and leave you here with this quote that I love:
“When we stop fearing failure, we start being artists.”
~ Ann Voskamp
Soma M Datta
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