Creative doubts can creep into any creative activity. It doesn’t matter if you are composing music or devising a business plan or solving an IT problem, there can be a little voice in the back of your mind questioning the quality of your creative efforts. It’s not helpful. It’s pretty much impossible to give full flight to your generative powers — creating new ideas or concepts or products or combinations thereof — if that little voice is simultaneously evaluating or judging your output.
The little voice can be annoying or anxiety-provoking. It can be nervous or nasty or paralyzing. It seems to be most vocal when we are embarking on something new. When we commence a fresh project, or strive to hone a new talent or dabble with a novel approach, the uncharted territory seems to beg questions like “What the heck have I gotten myself into?”, “How will this turn out?” and “Is this any good?”
Creative doubts can be especially destructive for DaVincis — people juggling too many ideas, projects and talents. First, because we’ve got a lot going on so there’s ample opportunities for inner doubts to foment. Second, concerns about one creative activity can quash or dissipate our efforts in several other areas, simply by comparison.
So what’s a DaVinci to do?
First, remind yourself that doubts are a natural part of the creative process. Every creative person experiences them from time to time.
Second, think of that little voice as a symptom, rather than a disease. Any doubts that cross your mind are simply signalling that you are doing something creative and new. It’s part of the excitement and risk of creativity.
When you hear that little voice, acknowledge it and then push it aside. Delay it. Defer it. Remind yourself that you cannot give a valid, true assessment of the quality of something while you are in the process of creating it. “Okay, I don’t know how good this thing is…and really I don’t need to know right now. Right now I just need to keep going.”
Third, counter ‘fear’ with ‘love’. Whenever you notice creative doubts, ask yourself: what do I love about what I’m doing? What is it about this that’s fun or joyful or energizing or gratifying? To the extent you can focus your attention on the upsides of the creative process, the easier it is to bat aside whatever doubts may flutter across your mind from time to time.
Here’s a brief video that makes the point that (a) doubts are a natural part of the creative process and (b) the only way out is through. Just keep practicing, keep doing, keep going. The more you do, the more you create, the less you will doubt.
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Are you struggling with too many talents, skills, ideas? You may have The DaVinci Dilemma™! Find tools, fun quizzes, coaching, inspiration and solutions for multi-talented people at http://www.davincidilemma.com/ .