Are you a Creative Cripple?

You probably have no idea what I’m referring to so let’s take a little self assessment and answer the following questions.
  • Do you have your hand in several different creative avenues and endeavors?
  • Are you really passionate about being creative?
  • Do you ever feel like in order to take a creative endeavor seriously, you have to have it consume your whole life?
  • Do you feel pressure to monetize your creativity?
  • Do you sometimes feel directionless with your creativity?
  • Do you feel like your circumstances don’t allow you to be as creative as you’d like?
  • Do you ever struggle with feeling like you have to be something you’re not to get ahead creatively?
  • Do you ever feel stuck, stagnant, or passive with your creativity?
If you answered “yes” to any of these then you have experienced the crippling effect creativity can have on us. However, is creativity really what cripples us, or is it the mindset we have towards it? Check out some personal examples of the perspectives that lead to creative crippling.

3 Common Mindsets That Make Us Creative Cripples

“The end goal seems impossible-so I don’t start”

I love ballroom dancing and really want to get back into it but in my head I picture myself as this amazing professional dancer. However, I know that takes a lot of time and money (neither of which I have) and it just seems unlikely that I will achieve my desired skill level. Therefore, I do nothing because my circumstances aren’t ideal for the result that I want.

“I can’t commit-so I don’t”

I want to connect with people at church but sometimes it feels like the only way to do that is to be in a “small group.” It’s one of the first things people will ask you about when you join a church. I often find myself feeling like a small group is the only way to really connect with people and since it has yet to work out for me in spite of many attempts, I feel frustrated and guilty for not being able to commit to this and make it work-not to mention, I’m still not connected.

“Money matters took over my passion and now my purpose is blurred.”

I started this website with the desire to reach and encourage artists. When I got injured and couldn’t work, I put this pressure on myself to see if I could turn this into something more and perhaps see if it was possible to make a living off of writing. This pressure created frustration over technical aspects, obsession over results and numbers, a never ending to-do list, and a lack of joy and inspiration in the very thing I once enjoyed-writing and encouraging.
What do these examples have in common? They prevent growth, make us stagnant, and stop our passions dead in our tracks.

How do we get healing from being a creative cripple?

Focus on the passion-not the results

We live in a society that obsesses over the end product. There’s nothing wrong with setting a goal and working toward it but too often we become obsessed with results to the point where we either lose our passion in the shuffle or we stop altogether. When we get stuck with our creative endeavors, we have to get back to the roots of where our passion comes from.
I recently saw the musical Bandstand and there was this fabulous quote where the leading lady was sharing about how she had auditioned for a play and was upset that she didn’t get the lead. The advice she was given was:

“Don’t sing to get the lead, sing because you need to sing.”

I think we need to get back to that mentality of being creative because we need to be not because we have to be.   We do what we do because we enjoy it and if we don’t we need to evaluate why.
The other day, my sister took me to a Zumba class and I had a blast because it had some Latin dance flair and I just got to dance again. Will Zumba make me a ballroom dancer? No, but who cares? I enjoyed it and it was a breath of fresh air to just get moving again which is much better than not moving at all, which brings me to my next point.

Don’t wait-do something

I was reading the book “Love Does” by Bob Goff. This book is completely devoted to putting action to our words and what we love rather than waiting for the perfect set of circumstances. In the book I remember reading this:

“Organizations have programs. People have friends. Friends trump programs every time.”

Why do I need an organized group to connect with people or a business to encourage them? What’s wrong with connecting and encouraging with the people right in front of me in my own time and space? 
Real connection and real passion go so much further than organizations, programs, resumes, and education. I’m not saying those things aren’t important but sometimes we get so caught up in how many things we are involved in and how many tasks we have that our passion and connection to others gets lost in the shuffle.
Stop crippling your creativity by waiting for the perfect set of circumstances-just do something.

Change your mindset to avoid becoming a creative cripple. Free yourself from the thinking that creativity needs to be monetized, organized, or regimented to be legitimate. Creativity doesn’t need labels, it just needs passion and action. 

What can you do to free yourself from becoming creatively crippled?

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