The One Thing Creatives Can Do to Save Their Relationships

They listen. Photo by Twenty20

My wife has many talents. She can listen and smile, while inside she’s praying I’ll shut up. Some people describe me as hyper creative. It’s a nice way for them to be complimentary and yet tell me to keep it to myself.

Creatives tend to have an active imagination. It’s no problem for us to deliver a relentless stream of ideas.

Unfortunately, the first outlet creatives usually find is the path of least resistance — and this outlet is often a loving spouse.

My wife has shouldered many of my idea onslaughts.

At first, I was in heaven. Finding someone to listen after six years of censorship in the military was amazing. She was happy to hear me talk and express myself.

For the first time, somebody was listening to and appreciating my ideas. I rejoiced. But after my joy faded, I realized I was getting lost in a creative rut.

Offloading too many creative “solutions” is punishment to any great listener — and here I was doing it daily. I had fallen into a weak place.

Worse, I was offloading all of my excitement and ideas, but I was only procrastinating. I was exhausting my wife’s listening capacity, and I wasn’t doing any real work.

I was stuck on a ledge, and we both knew I needed to leap off.

Jump, dude! You have to jump! Photo by Twenty20

So I did.

Today when I get stuck, I call bullshit on myself. I identify where that stuck feeling is coming from — partly from laziness, and partly from the fear instilled by the start of a new adventure. I decide that I’m not going to let the Resistance win. It’s time to leave that weaker version of myself behind.

As creatives, we’re on guard for the negative people who attempt to silence our ideas. That first person who sees our ideas and lets them breathe is a godsend.

But it’s easy to become dependent on those people who love and listen.

These people are trying to help us, but really all they’re doing is stoking our Resistance. To truly help us, they have to tell us “enough is enough.” Face the challenge. Shut up. Jump off the cliff.

When you discover you’ve been overwhelming someone you love, it’s easy to feel disgusted. Don’t get lost in self-flagellation — it’s just another form of procrastination. Instead, readjust and redirect that energy into creating.

I caught myself on the lazy path, stuck on the edge of the cliff. Someone I love was paying for my cowardice.

It’s the easiest thing in the world to get lost in the realm of imagination, or to overwhelm the one person who actually listens to you.

It takes serious courage to escape. It takes a stronger version of yourself to transport your ideas from your mind to the physical world.

But your ideas are so much more beautiful in their realized form, and it’s a disservice to those who listen to not stop talking and start creating.

Either your imagination will:

Drag you both down, toxify, and overwhelm your relationship

Or

You’ll be courageous enough to take action and realize your ideas in the real world

Be courageous. There are only two directions to go: down and up. It takes courage to go up, but right now… that’s what humanity seems to be missing.


Chad Grills is the founder of The Mission, your #1 source for accelerated learning. You can subscribe to their M-F newsletter here.

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