How can choosing to push ourselves beyond what is ‘safe’ and comfortable help us be more creative?
The photo caption is “Do whatever it takes.” by Chase Jarvis, from the Facebook site of the online education platform he founded: CreativeLive.
Deborah Ann Woll is such a compelling and dynamic actor in the series “True Blood” (2008-14).
An interviewer asked her when she knew that she wanted to make a career of acting:
“I was never really a good enough pianist or dancer to take that to the professional realm.
“But, I remember I was working on Madea, which I was way too young for at the time, and it was a character that was so unlike me and so out of my comfort zone and type, but yet I could still find something to say with it and have an experience with this woman, who I really had nothing in common with, except our humanity.
“That was a moment where I went, ‘Wow, I really seriously, honestly felt something there and, if I can find that with this character, then it should be easier with someone who I’m a bit more akin to.’
“So, I started to really take it more seriously, at that point.”
[TRUE BLOOD Interview with Deborah Ann Woll, Oh No They Didn’t, June 11th, 2009.]
On her official site, Fiona Apple wrote, “As you may know, I am a girl prone to low-days. I don’t know how many times I got to soundcheck, in a grumpy nasty, teary rut..”
In her album ‘Extraordinary Machine’, the lyrics include:
“But I’m good at being uncomfortable so I can’t stop changing all the time…”
From my article Depression and creativity: Fiona Apple – good at being uncomfortable.
Finding Comfort in the Uncomfortable
Mihaela Ivan Holtz, Psy.D., LMFT helps creative people in TV/Film, performing and fine arts.
She also writes about the pleasures and emotional challenges of being creative on her site Creative Minds Psychotherapy.
Here is an excerpt from one of her related articles:
Over and over again, you find yourself having to get out of your comfort zone and embrace the uncomfortable.
Yes, being an artist is about living in the uncomfortable zone.
You don’t know how your art will be received in the world.
You invest all your resources in developing the skills that you need to express your art.
You bear the unknown, having no idea when you will get an assignment, a show, an audition, if your book will sell, or if your script will be the one…
You perpetually have to go out in the world to open new doors and create possibilities for yourself.
And, if someone tells you it’s easy to be with the uncomfortable day after day and year after year… it’s not!
Sometimes it feels like you’re wrestling with the uncomfortable, getting dirty and messy, falling and getting up, resisting it, or crawling…
But, you must go through the wrestling, the fighting, or the crawling to discover your own comfort in the uncomfortable.
By being with and doing the uncomfortable you find your freedom from getting stuck in in the uncomfortable.
Read more in her article
How to Find Comfort in the Uncomfortable So You Can Live Fully As an Artist.
More actors on the values of going outside our comfort zone
“I don’t like being stagnant.
“I want to continue to grow and just be better at what I do, and the only way to do that is to keep stepping outside of your comfort zone.”
Vanessa Hudgens – in article Living and Creating: Fear Is Not A Disease.
(Photo from facebook.com/VanessaHudgens)
Actor Rose Byrne expresses a similar perspective:
“I just want to continue being able to get roles that scare me and make me better and I think I can only grow as an artist if I do things that are scaring me and making me uncomfortable because that’s the only place you’ll learn anything.”
From article Rose Byrne on fear and focus.
Comfort zones and stress and growth
In an article for Fast Company, Lisa Evans notes:
“Executives and entrepreneurs often say the times when they experience the most personal and professional growth are when they’re pushed out of their comfort zone, situations in which stress levels are high and the brain is flooded with an endorphin rush.”
She quotes stress researcher and author Heidi Hanna:
“Stress can be to our advantage. We don’t want a world without stress, because we need that stimulation for growth.”
From article Is Your Brain Chemically Dependent on Stress? by Lisa Evans, Fast Company 02.03.14.
Heidi Hanna, PhD is Executive Director of the American Institute of Stress.
See more quotes and videos and learn about her online course in article: The Stress Mastery Program for Emotional Health by Heidi Hanna.