Why Creativity Takes Courage

Writer, artists, painters, banjo players, and the other million and one activities that can be practised as a creative pursuit all need courage.

Sean P. Durham
Jun 27 · 5 min read

Creativity is on offer to all of us, but not all of us have the will to take it to the limits.

That requires courage.

Creative activity doesn’t lead to a place you already know, it takes you to some place unknown.

There’s this risk factor all of the time when you are being creative, and I mean really creative. You are in danger of falling off the edge of the world. That’s what it sometimes feels like.

Have you ever felt that surge of emotion that grabs you from deep down inside when you think about doing something great?

Well, when creative people are on a roll, really getting their focus, and their brain is flowing like a multicoloured fountainhead, that feeling is there all of the time, it’s like riding a wave that is getting bigger and bigger, and you’re not sure if you will be able to keep your balance.

It’s like being in love.

It’s saying,”yes,yes,yes,” to the surging feeling that can sweep you away.

Intelligence is the forming thought process that allows your idea to have some sort of perspective for you to work with, creativity is when intelligence starts to have a party.

When we allow our creative mind to open the doors and go wild, to think like the curious cat on LSD, then that’s what Albert Einstein meant when he said, “creativity is intelligence at play”.

Albert Einstein meant that this is when a human being has gone wild again. Back to nature where the mind is breaking rules and running through the jungle.

You can’t be creative and tied to a post. These are not mutual situations.

Courage is the ability to forge on ahead, into the darkness. Mostly, it looks dark and vague when we work on a creative project, if there is no courage to draw on, then don’t worry, doubt will step in and try to guide your thoughts towards the safety of the rope and the post.

To run back to the roping post is also very human, to seek security and say, “screw that!”.

Courage takes us through the vagueness and cloudy pathways of our minds, then through the process of stepping away from logical everyday thinking we begin to see the small sparks in the twilight.

Humanity is essentially creative, I believe that wholly. Our duty to be creative is the same as it is our duty to save the planet. If we let the planet go to hell in a bucket, then we can’t save ourselves either.

Creativity is the mountain path at the precipice of the North Wall.

Creativity takes courage because once you realise how powerful it is, how it can make people wake up and see things as truths, then you realise how humanly ignorant it is to ignore it as an essential part of the human psyche.

Life was always meant to be an adventure. We are built that way, to explore and to find things and do something good with them, use them but not destroy them.

It is not creative to build a machine and then rape the earth of its oils and ore to keep the machine going. That is foolishness.

Creativity will take you along the north wall of the highest mountains of your life, a risky place to go but surely worth the risks of hanging by a thread in the wind, just to discover something that only you could find in your own creative life. Something of value.

Young people practising the arts, writing, building, discovering their inherent creativeness are often only learning about themselves through the process.

They are in danger of turning to the wrong idles and worshipping the gods of “value”.

As soon as we put a value on the results of creative process we begin to think critically about it, to form it into a usable object, and then we try and sell it as if it were still in its original state and form.

The valuable object of “art” is often explained to us with sentimental values. This appeals to those too wary for a creative adventure themselves. They are often above that type of thing. It’s easier to understand sentimental feelings.

The writer who works hard on their craft, the painter, or photographer all stand within the circle of mixed emotions about their art. It’s a confusing place to work in.

To begin to think about creativity tied to sentimental values is to give up and wear the mantle of idiocy.

You don’t create something, capture it, tie it up to a post just so that others can cock their head to the side and say, “isn’t it quaint!?”.

Courage has no room for sentimentality, it abhors it.

Courage is a strange emotion. It can be spoken of with different attitudes, depending on who’s speaking it can be, “braveness”, “daring”, “foolishness”, “idiotic”, and “adventurous”.

It’s little wonder that the ancients understood the symbolic meaning of “The Fool” in the Tarot cards better than us; the Fool represents the sparkling mind that knows little, a beginner’s mind that is full of energy and curiosity.

The Fool is the artist in the making. The true mind that can create with a foolish courage that baffles the learned dons who only speculate about these things.

There are plenty more fools in the pack that go under other names.

Photo by JJ Jordan on Unsplash

If creativity can’t happen without being courageous, then surely they are both of the same emotion. The same place deep in the mind where the artist-creator lives in us all?

The foolish adventures of most creatives always lead to a better understanding for the person creating. They open doors that lead to new ideas.

Creativity and Courage both, is the armour that we wear to live a life that means something more than running to the safety of the village square.

To conform and allow ourselves to be tied to the post is to give up on being a human.

Sean P. Durham

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Writing about the Creative Art of Living Successfully at http://seandurham.eu