How do our fears encourage or interfere with being creative?
“I don’t do anything anymore that feels safe. If it doesn’t scare the crap out of you, then you’re not doing the right thing.”
I’ve always liked that comment by Sandra Bullock – but fear, which we may experience at times as anxiety, can both motivate and disrupt creativity.
(From post Fear and Anxiety Can Help Us Be More Creative.)
In their book Art & Fear, artists David Bayles and Ted Orland comment:
“In the ideal — that is to say, real — artist, fears not only continue to exist, they exist side by side with the desires that complement them, perhaps drive them, certainly feed them.
“Naive passion, which promotes work done in ignorance of obstacles, becomes — with courage — informed passion, which promotes work done in full acceptance of those obstacles.”
Writer Steven Pressfield asks, “Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do.” – From his book The War of Art.
Many actors and other performers experience stage fright. What are some of the feelings and thinking that drive this anxiety?
For some performers, their inexperience can lead to insecurity, but a number of people report these feelings even after establishing themselves for years as accomplished artists.
Ann Dowd was quoted in a 2015 New York Times article: “I have stage fright. I suppose every actor has a degree of it. It’s tedious.”
(Photo: Ann Dowd as Aunt Lydia in The Handmaid’s Tale.)
From my article How can anticipation drive stage fright?
Anxiety is one form of fear, and as a number of psychologists and others point out, it can interfere with creativity.
Writer and creativity coach Eric Maisel has said that in his many years of counseling as a psychotherapist, he has found, “Anxiety regularly stops creative people in their tracks and makes their experience of creating more painful than pleasurable.”
– From my post Creative Anxiety.
Psychotherapist Mihaela Ivan Holtz helps creative people in TV/Film, performing and fine arts,
She also writes about the emotional and creative pleasures of their inner life – and its challenges – on her site Creative Minds Psychotherapy.
Here is an excerpt from one of her articles on fear:
The fears that we are aware of, we can choose to face them or not.
However, Unconscious Fears are deceiving. They control us without our ability to know and understand their impact on our lives.
Unconscious Fears are seductive. We believe they do not exist, while they keep us stuck in dysfunctional cycles.
We can get stuck in bad or unfulfilling relationships, unsuccessful careers, or live a life that does not feel right.
Unconscious fears are powerful. They don’t stop controlling our lives, unless we address them.
When we heal unconscious fears, we can become an active part in creating our life, instead of life happening to us.
Actually, deep inside you know…
You know because life is not working for you…because you are feeling stuck, going in circles without getting anywhere.
Because you are aware of how much more capable you are than your accomplishments.
You know because you can’t make things happen, over and over again…
Some examples of unconscious fears are:
“fear of being broken,”
“fear of authority figures,”
“fear of not being loved,”
“fear of rejection,”
“fear of humiliation,”
“fear of not being good enough,”
“fear of not succeeding,”
“fear of making mistakes,” … just to name a few.
Read more in her article
Uncover your Unconscious Fears and Live Free.