Creativity takes guts


Hoping that your next idea is the next big idea is silly.

Yet we so often find ourselves working on, or seeking out, ideas that are perfect, ideal, better than anything else out there (at least in our mind).

The result is either failure to start or a failure to launch, both of which come about as a result of fear. Of course, when this happens we fail to discover whether our ideas really were worthwhile or possibly the next big idea. We fear our ideas may not be valuable, so we don’t make them real, which makes it impossible to determine whether the ideas were worthwhile or not. Silly, right?

To get an idea out of our heads and into the world takes work, yes, it also requires that you have an idea to begin with. Hopefully the idea is at least somewhat worthwhile, it’s certainly possible that the idea really is the next best thing. But more importantly: creativity takes guts.

What if nobody likes this? Why would anyone care if they knew anyone else could do the same thing? What makes this special? Is this really better than what already exists? Who am I to make this a reality?

We face these questions any time an idea pops into our heads, big or small. But the best ideas – the wonder breads, the Facebooks, the automobiles – all started as just another idea, not something to change the world or inspire millions. All ideas start the same, whether we believe they do or not.

The first personal computer was never intended to evolve into the iPhones and Android phones we have today. The first aircraft wasn’t intended to be a way for transporting products or medical aid across the world overnight. Picasso began sketching out Portrait of Igor Stravinsky because he enjoyed doing it, not because he wanted it to become a historically remarkable work of art.

When I started Creative Something, my goal was to research creativity and share what I discovered, in the hopes that someone, somewhere, would find it inspiring. Today the blog has 100,000 subscribers, but that’s never something I imagined nearly seven years ago when the project began.

My point is this: You don’t need to come up with the next big idea. Your ideas don’t need to be thebest, or even your best. What’s more important is that you have ideas, and that you have the guts to see them through.

You won’t know what your ideas can become until you get them onto the canvas, captured on film, somehow out in front of the world. That’s what matters.


Starting and the fear of breaking things

A note on creating something imperfect

Poster: Ideas are worthless until you get them out of your head to see what they can do

Fear of the critical finish line

When can you call yourself creative?