This is part 2 of the 2-part series on Creative Chaos and the art of stirring it up and living your creative best. Here is Part 1.
If you would like to just see and go through the visual SlideShare presentation, please scroll to the end of the post!
5. Running into Uncertainty: the Eye of the Creative Storm
“Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Running with a new creative idea and embracing a process that you have never ventured on feels like sailing into the eye of the creative storm. The waves are tumultuous and the conditions very risky. Everything is at stake.
How you shout orders to your crew, how you navigate the ups and downs, how you keep yourself together in the face of amazing adversity determines the fate of your ship’s journey or the creative product.
There will be days when everything will appear hopeless and impossible. Your creative venture will look like it is stumbling and gasping for air but realize that every storm comes only to pass. There will be crisp, sunny days at the end of this crisis too.
You might go through the storm and the difficult situation and eventually enter beautiful winds and days of crisp sunlight. However, you never completely forget that stormy night. As the captain of your ship, you know that navigating the ship in a storm or a difficult situation is inevitable.
Many of us give up precisely at this point when it gets too difficult and unbearable to continue on.
In his wonderful book, The Lean Startup, author Eric Ries defines his theory of the Lean Startup: “An organization designed to create new products and services under conditions of extreme uncertainty.”
“Knowledge is an unending adventure at the edge of uncertainty.” ~Jacob Bronowski
When we allow ourselves to get into the center of the creative storm and be all right with the uncertainty, we allow the space for radical new ideas and creations to come forth.
As you move forth in your creative adventures, ask how can you learn from the adversity?
What are the skills that you have developed or mastered as a result of the previous storm?
If you have emerged without a new perspective, it may be that you are unwilling to see the writing on the wall and change your sails to reflect the change.
Remember that change is always inevitable, the learning and realizations are optional.
6. Embracing Fear and Massive Action: the Opposite of Analysis Paralysis
“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” ~Dale Carnegie
You may develop creative blind spots in your work that you choose not to see because it triggers pain and uncomfortable feelings. The result is unfinished projects and getting paralyzed in the analysis stage.
You might be experiencing fear because you are not sure how to proceed and whether your work will be received well. This fear is often well masked by the endless analysis and rationalization of why you should not continue.
The quick and easy solution to this problem is to take action in the face of fear. There will never be a completely fear free situation and it is unrealistic to believe that we can banish fear.
Banishing, avoiding and running away from fear rarely work because wherever you go, you take your fear with you.
Fear can be best described as a feedback loop where the lack of action due to fear is the fuel to the fire. Soon it is a huge raging inferno that threatens to engulf your life in the throes of inaction and despair.
The only way out of the fear cycle is to continually get up, front and personal with your fears. The way out of the quagmire is to take massive action in the face of fear. Sure, you might fail at a creative endeavor but you have the satisfaction to have squarely faced your fears and taken action regardless of them.
When you get stuck in fear, take a small action to move forward.
No action however small is unimportant. Every tiny bit of forward momentum counts.
Turn action into a habit, into your second nature and become comfortable taking massive action.
Remember that fear cannot be banished. You will have to befriend fear and not treat it like an enemy.
Here are some questions to ask to bust through inaction:
7. Fueling the Creativity Engine: Using the Power of Anger and Strong Emotions
“Anger is just anger. It isn’t good. It isn’t bad. It just is. What you do with it is what matters. It’s like anything else. You can use it to build or to destroy. You just have to make the choice.”― Jim Butcher
We have been taught not to get too excited and not to get too passionate about a dream. We have been trained by all the rational, level headed people to put a cap on our enthusiasm and overflowing creativity.
When you feel angry or less than better, you internalize the suffering. Instead, you may want to take advantage of the great energy of strong emotions to fuel the creative process. Let strong emotions move you into creative action and resolve to make the world a lot better as a result of your experiences.
Instead of shutting down, allow emotions to further the cause of your creative endeavor. When you feel the emotions in motion, breathe deeply into them and put pen to paper or brush to canvas. Externalize the power of your emotions and capture their essence in a work of creative art.
Mobilize the power of strong feelings and emotions by creating something.
Instead of internalizing strong feelings, allow them to express on canvas, recipe, paper or whatever that you are creating!
8. Creative Entropy: Life is Messy and Everything Moves Towards Disorder: the Structure of Chaos
“You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche
One of the fundamental laws of Physics is the Law of Entropy or disorder that states that everything in the universe is moving from a state of order to disorder.
When you realize this immutable natural law that disorder is inevitable, you may be able to make peace with the messiness of the creative process.
You realize that nothing about the creative process may be rational and orderly. Creativity is like chaos and entropy within the confines of a meaningful framework. If you do not allow the chaos to exist because of your obsessive need for order, you might be short-circuiting the process.
Expecting only order is similar to cooking a gourmet meal and having a spotless kitchen while you cook and afterwards. Everyone who loves to cook realizes that chaos happens, messiness ensues, and ingredients fly around a bit and out emerges a work of culinary art.
One of the most damaging social paradigms is that everyone is trying to live the perfect dream life while avoiding the chaos. This does not translate well to creativity. It may not be possible to neatly package creativity and avoid the aspects that are painful and chaotic.
Embrace the chaos
Allow yourself the creative freedom to be messy in your creative ventures.
Trying to fit the mold of order may upset the applecart of the creative process and crush it before it completely blooms.
9. Waking up From the Sleep Walk: Reinventing and Stirring It Up
“Do every act of your life as though it were the very last act of your life.”― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
Mix and match your creative powers by allowing ideas from completely unrelated fields and aspects to influence your work. The amazing thing about creativity is that the palette is endless and the canvas can be empty.
When you make the conscious effort to step outside of influences that you are familiar with and into ideas and concepts that are new and from disparate sources, you stir up the synthesis of art.
Most people gravitate towards what they habitually do on a daily basis and spend time in what the Buddhists call a habitual state of sleepwalking.
Sleepwalking consists of looking the various aspects of your creative life with the same set of jaded lenses. The wonder and amazement turns into routine and familiarity.
Allow ideas to combine and mix freely in your head. Allow them to percolate and brew like a fine coffee and serve up the synthesis. You may be amazed at the novelty of your creations.
Look at the problem from up, close and personal and then look at it from a distance. Zoom in and zoom out of the problem.
Let ideas from different and varied elements come into your head and cross-pollinate.
Ask: If I was someone else or if I changed my perspective, what would I do differently?
What new perspectives and ideas can you gain by changing the lens that you see the problem through.
Zoom in and zoom out to look at different aspects of the problem.
10. Putting it All Together and the Launch: Sheer Joy of the Process and the Possibility of Rejection and Failure
“It’s good to have an end in mind but in the end what counts is how you travel.”― Orna Ross
The amazing excitement of the creation, the impossible chaos of the process and the absolute fear of the outcome are very different elements.
When you combine inspiration and excitement with chaos and great action in the face of fear and discomfort, you synthesize creative magic. Now that is a worthy creative goal to chase.
Be willing and allow the different elements of excitement, inspiration, chaos, fear, discomfort and action to exist together and synthesize creative magic.
Are you willing to stir things and up the creative ante?
Now over to you! Please comment below and let me know if this post resonated with you and if you have creative chaos in your life and how do you go through with it?
Photo Credit: Donnie Nunley via Compfight
Michelle Dobbins says
I love your list. One of the things that has helped me that you mentioned was taking one small step forward. It seems one small step usually leads to another and the next thing you know you have momentum again.
Harish Kumar says
Thanks for your comment, Michelle!
I completely agree. I think that taking one small step forward is the single most important thing that we can do to create momentum. People attempt to take bigger steps and end up getting overwhelmed. My philosophy is simple: a tiny step forward is better than attempting a big step and then stopping.
Have a great week,
[…] In fact, I have written about the art of creative chaos and how to navigate it in your life here and here. […]