You Say You're Creative Like That's A Good Thing.
Culture rewards being creative as this unique crown of a skill but is it all what it’s cracked up to be?
In reality, being a creative usually means you’re an idea-infested, undisciplined, emotional procrastinator.
It means you indulge in your ideas so much that they rarely come out of your head and into the real world.
It means as soon as you get some momentum with one good project, you’re likely to get sucked in like a vacuum to the next.
This is a vicious cycle and you have nothing to show for it after a year besides the boxes of t-shirts you’ll never sell, the subscription service you never kept up with and the concerned but generous smiles your friends make as you tell them “Oh, I’m working on something else now.”
Creativity is a magical force, responsible for all of the most remarkable inventions man has made but without the proper handling, it can quickly turn into a tornado of chaos and disaster. It can drag you down into the depths of depression, feeling misunderstood and not even having anything to show for it.
I see creativity as more of a stepping stone, a foundation for greatness, you need it but you need more than just that to create something real.
We walk around bragging about being creatives but maybe it’s nothing to brag about. Maybe we should hold off the bragging and wait until we have enough discipline, endurance and commitment to embellish our creativity.
Flaunting your creativity alone is like walking around with one fabulous shoe on. Yes honey. Your shoe is nice but where the hell are you going? You only have one shoe.
I feel lucky that my mind thinks in systems. It’s like I can see a messy creative coming from a mile away. They look like a waiter at a fancy restaurant, holding one-too-many plates. They have one-too-may ideas and they wobble in my direction.
I’m here to make you go splat.
Go ahead. Fall on the floor. Let the mess that is bound to happen, happen.
I’m here to show you how to make sense of all the ideas you were having and the creative mess you were holding. I can compartmentalize each spill, splatter and splash.
I’ll tell you right now, without even looking at it, you’re holding on to too much. You are so enamored with your ideas, you are not letting them any of them grow. You’re like the over-protective mom who keeps her kid away from the real world as long as she can.
Each day that goes by, your idea misses a chance to mature and grow. They are so beautiful and precious all there cooped up in your head aren’t they? Get them out in some fresh air. Let them skin a knee.
Allow them to get enough experience so that they can come back to you with a question that you’ve been too embarrassed to answer. “Mommy, what is a P&L statement?”
Another thing I can tell without even talking to you is that this fantasy of making your book/program/idea/whatever you’re dreaming of come to life, will look NOTHING like what you’re thinking.
It will not be all smiles and success. Parts of it will be grueling and u n c o m f o r t a b l e. Parts of it will feel as risky and dangerous as running in flip flops with freshly lotioned feet.
And see, that’s what makes you an idea hoarder. Look, I understand that running in flip flops is dangerous. But so is life. And this illusion you’ve built is very creative but I mean, I don’t know… is it serving you?
If a creative falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
So keep flaunting your creative title if you want, but remember, I’m looking at you rolling my eyes (nicely) and thinking “It’s wonderful that you’re creative but it’s not enough“. Don’t let your creativity be a parasite to your progress.
Pair it with discipline, guidance and some sobering ass reality to make it become an asset.
Because if not, you’ll just be that remarkable creative that never made a sound.