How do fear and courage impact our creative thinking and expression?
How do we gain confidence to live and create more fully?
Author and teacher Elizabeth Gilbert admits “the only reason I can speak so authoritatively about fear is that I know it so intimately.
“I know every inch of fear, from head to toe. I’ve been a frightened person my entire life.”
She points out that “Evolution did well to install a fear reflex within you, because if you didn’t have any fear, you would lead a short, crazy, stupid life.
“You would walk into traffic. You would jump into giant waves off the coast of Hawaii, despite being a poor swimmer…
“So, yes, you absolutely do need your fear, in order to protect you from actual dangers.
“But you do not need your fear in the realm of creative expression.
Seriously, you don’t.”
She adds: “Just because you don’t need your fear when it comes to creativity, that doesn’t mean fear won’t show up.
“Trust me, your fear will always show up, especially when you’re trying to be inventive or innovative.
“Your fear will be triggered by your creativity, because creativity asks you to enter into realms of uncertain outcome, and fear hates uncertain outcome.”
She says this “natural and human” fear reaction is “absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.
“It is, however, something that very much needs to be dealt with” in order to realize our creative ideas.
Dealing with fear
In her book on the creative life, she writes:
She lists “some of the many ways in which you might be afraid to live a more creative life:
“You’re afraid you have no talent.
“You’re afraid you’ll be rejected or criticized or ridiculed or misunderstood or—worst of all—ignored.
“You’re afraid there’s no market for your creativity, and therefore no point in pursuing it.
“You’re afraid somebody else already did it better.”
Do we need to be fearless?
She also writes about dealing with fears like these:
“Now you probably think I’m going to tell you that you must become fearless in order to live a more creative life.
“But I’m not.
“Creativity is a path for the brave, yes, but it is not a path for the fearless, and it’s important to recognize the distinction.
“Bravery means doing something scary.
“Fearlessness means not even understanding what the word scary means.”
From her book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear.
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Learn more and sign up for her online course to “learn about how to pursue a life driven more by curiosity than fear.”