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Finding the Boldly Creative Work Inside of Us

“Some arrogance is essential to the creative process. The very idea that your private thoughts or feelings are worth sharing with anyone outside your family or friends is already a kind of arrogance. Arrogance is the exit and entry point to the humiliation that art requires. Not unrelated is a dubious courage that when you find yourself out of your depth in troubled waters, you will discover how to swim. Another daft but true idea that creativity seems to depend on.” — Bono, Surrender

“Resistance is experienced as fear; the degree of fear equates to the strength of Resistance. Therefore the more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul. That’s why we feel so much Resistance. If it meant nothing to us, there’d be no Resistance.” ― Steven Pressfield, The War of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle

Taking a leap into anything is a bit scary and uncomfortable. Think a moment about public speaking. Did you shudder just then? Walking up to a microphone to deliver a speech can be daunting, yet some of us flip the switch and do it anyway. It’s nothing more than playing a character—a bigger version of our normal self. A bigger version that has something to share that others may find connection and meaning from. That voice inside that says you don’t deserve to play that bigger version is the real fraud, not the person you’ve become. Every step on the climb can be thought of as arrogance should we surrender to the Resistance.

Art is very much like public speaking, in that we are putting ourselves out there for all to judge. There is a large sample size of writing now that would give the world a pretty good idea of who I really am deep down inside. Is there arrogance in thinking anyone really cares to find out? Surely there’s some truth to this, but how else do we move forward in this world were it not for the boldness to speak up and show our work?

I’ll embrace arrogance if it means I’m bold. I’ll embrace the courageous leap into the unknown if it leads to growth and better work. I’ll risk it all for better. How about you?

Behind those words are other words. The self-talk of someone who knows that there’s still so much work to do. The words of someone who doesn’t dare leave this world without putting my best out there, but knowing the best is yet to come. Feeling that urgency and acting on it is all that really matters. The rest is just talk.

“Decide what to be and go be it.” — The Avett Brothers, Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise

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