Creativity and Success

My sister recently wrote a great blog post discussing how we too often conflate success with struggle and hard work. She raised the question: is a goal that is easily achieved some how less valuable than one achieved through long hours of grit and perseverance?

Her post prompted me to apply the same questions surrounding the idea of success to creativity. Success and the accompanying attributes of hard work, struggle and achievement are often corrupting influences in the realm of creativity. Working harder does not mean that a new idea will magically appear, rather it is often the times when the mind is left to wander that fosters an environment suitable for creative exploration.

When running a creative business I often feel the conflicting tug of a result driven culture versus the more nebulous space of creativity. How does one separate the business sphere with the creative or keep the minutia of the daily to do list from trumping the time required to be creative? I often feel that the business tasks seem more concrete and immediate because they are easier to measure. The ambiguous nature of creativity prevents it from easy quantification, which in turn makes it difficult to value as a top priority. Creativity is often described in terms of happenstance and momentary consciousness. We say “creative spark” to describe the instance an idea comes into existence and it is in that moment that we must lose control in order to see the world differently or come up with a novel idea.

So how do we learn to value creativity and the effortless it requires? I often feel guilty when devoting time to creative thought. It seems almost selfish to spend time in artistic reveries without any guarantee of a result or conclusion. Creativity requires faith and trust. Faith that creative exploration is time well spent and trust to let the mind go without knowing the destination. To me, that is the beauty of it. It can not be forced into existence. It is intangible and that is what makes it so special and authentic. The creative mindset is not exhausting, but rather exhilarating. It thrives on dualities and lives in the space between connection and freedom, at once grounding and weightless.