Before we begin, know that the “Your” in the title is really “My.”
All of the overachievers in the room, raise your hand. If you are anything like me, you work hard at your job, or your school, or whatever task is placed before you. You strive to complete it with excellence, careful to follow the rules, to color within the lines, to map out exactly what’s been requested of you. You are so careful to do whatever you need to do to make that “A.”
Blame it on conditioning, but many of us have been taught that when we color outside the lines, “That’s wrong” and when we decide to go right when the crowd goes left, “That’s wrong.” We live our lives based on some predetermined scale of rules. I’m not talking about morality here, I’m talking about the freedom we have to make choices that seem, well, a little crazy. A little out-there, wacky, against the grain. We are hesitant to follow that childlike carelessness about what people think because we are so focused on the approval of others, which is that A we all want on the report card.
There was something in me since grade school that loved the feeling of good grades. I graduated high school with honors and a full scholarship and went on to graduate Summa Cum Laude from my university. There was some motivation for me that said, “You are doing it all right.” As I’ve grown, I realize that there’s a creative side of me that longs for expression. The problem with creativity is that there are no rules. Sure, you can read a book about writing or figure out a formula for creating nice music or follow a paint-by-numbers canvas. That’s not true expression, that’s simply another form of seeking the A.
True art, that true creativity, comes from the freedom to express, without limitations, the stories, the music, the pictures that lie deep within our souls. It won’t come from a formula or a self-help guru, it will come when you make the choice to risk, what we overachievers label as failure. It bothers me to even type that word. But here’s the thing, failure is subjective when it comes to creativity. Nobody has figured out the true template because it’s something much deeper that digs into the soul of the creator and when released, connects with the people who are experiencing the art (listening to the song, reading the story, looking at the painting, etc).
We can stop fearing failure in our creative endeavors because who has the power to set that standard but us? We have the freedom to express, to write, to sing, to dance, to play, to paint, to sculpt whatever it is that’s deep within. Let’s make a pact to forget the A’s and strive for the Wow’s – those things that have the power to touch lives and change the world for the better. It all starts with releasing our fear of failure.
Go create something that’s WOW!