Inspiration isn’t the problem.
If you can free your thoughts to go where they want, while remaining curious, mindful, non-judgemental and compassionate, you’ll find yourself overcome with ideas; wondrous, explosive moments where the dots momentarily connect.
In fact, the inspiration part is easy. Too easy. Whether through art, music, stories, conversations, human connections or the simple knowledge that we’re actually on a planet, there is a vast and never-ending supply of inspiration hurtling toward us at any given moment. Occasionally when the flow is strong, ideas overflow; more ideas than time with which to capture them. Rather than trying to find inspiring ideas, it becomes a matter of trying to fend them off, and prioritise between a select few.
The risk is that we become overwhelmed by inspiration-overload. Each idea is unique, beautiful and in some way or another worth exploring. But then, we try to act on too many at once (none of which happen well), or worse, act on none at all and slowly descend into the madness of deep ‘un-fulfillment’.
I’ve struggled with both. Each is a playground for fear and/or ego, who will gladly—and quietly—take the opportunity to quietly seize control and run the show. Fear of missing out (FOMO), perfectionism, procrastination, over-confidence and ‘excusitis’ are the result.
Looking back at the few creative ‘successes’ I’ve had, I’ve learned that much of the time I invested wasn’t spent on actual work. Rather, it was spent building courage; facing the fear and ego that blocked the path at every turn, slowly (and sometimes painfully) breaking past the barriers I subconsciously created within myself.
With the right idea and singular focus, it was possible. No matter how much thought, over-thought, uncertainty and doubt I faced, with time I eventually arrived at understanding, acceptance and a realisation: I don’t have a choice.
I’d rather do it and fail, than not and wonder.
Then, I got to work.
Does the knowledge of this fact help to avoid wasting investing so much time building courage to begin with? Yes and no. Knowledge and acceptance of the challenge you’ll face is certainly helpful when setting forth into the creative arena, but it’s tough and scary, no matter how well-seasoned you are.
…the more I think about it, the more I realise that’s a really good thing. I wouldn’t have it any other way. For to create anything of substance, we need to be uncomfortable; we need to dance on the edge, and create the opportunity to discover new measures of courage within.