This is part three of my “What is Creating?” Series. Let’s get straight into it:
There are probably some good things about our school system (it gets the kids out of our hair for one thing, right?), but undeniably the worst thing about it is rote learning and testing. Why? Because it trains you to be attached to getting the right answer. Yep. Year after year of schooling, you learn stuff, you’re tested, and if you respond correctly you get a treatie (in the form of good marks, respect, better opportunities, etc.). And like a dog in puppy school you become trained to always get it right.
Okay, So it has its uses. I bet you’re glad you learned how to read and write for instance. But the problem with it is this: you learn to have a very negative association with getting the wrong answer, or, in other words, failure.
And what does this lead to? It leads you to only going for things that you already know how to do, because those are the only areas in which you can be guaranteed to get the right answer. This keeps your scope limited. It keeps you in administration when you should be a designer, or churning out newspaper copy when you should be writing a book, or training staff when you want to be expanding your business.
Remember when you were learning to walk? Probably not, hey. But if you did remember you would know you fell over hundreds of times before you got it together. If you want to get serious about having the results you want in your life, you’re going to have to let go of your fear of messing up. You’re going to have to go for stuff you don’t already know how to do, and maybe sometimes face a crowd of people with spaghetti sauce on your shirt, or realize after a Ted talk that your fly was undone the WHOLE time.
MOST likely it won’t be that bad. But you’ll never know until you chance it. You’ll never know until you start banking on yourself.
The truth is: it is those who are most willing to get out there and fail who will create the most powerful results in the end.
After all, even Einstein got it wrong once or twice.
We all would like to be able to make a bargain with the universe, right? Because everything we go for is a risk. So it would be nice to know that the risk is going to pay off – that there is a guarantee that we are not going to be hurt, or exposed, or bankrupted, or rejected, or really, anything bad. Most of us, when we go for something, are unconsciously hanging on to something that we insist cannot happen.
This is having a conditional relationship with life. And life doesn’t like it. Put it this way: Imagine you are starting a relationship with someone and you say to them:
“Look, I like you, but I’m not entirely sure whether this will work out, so I want to keep my ex on standby in case it doesn’t. Do you mind?”
Or, imagine you are going into business with someone and you say:
“Hey, this is going to be awesome, but it’s too much of a risk for me financially, so I think you should put up all the capital, and I’ll see how it goes. If it goes well, I’ll definitely put my money in. How does that sound?”
Life doesn’t respond well when you approach it with conditions. In fact, when you go for stuff whilst hanging on to your safety net, it’s ineffective, uninspiring, and far more painful.
Real creators are able to open their hearts to what they fear, and go for things wholeheartedly, freely allowing whatever happens to happen. As a result, they create more powerfully. They have more fun. And life rewards them with what looks like luck, but is really just the rewards of unconditional living.
This is a good one. Some of us get stuck in the idea that if we are to “go for what we love”, that means we can never do anything that doesn’t suit our passions, ever. Of course this is crazy. No matter how much you love something, there will be days when you don’t. There will be stuff you have to do that is not fun. And there will be times when you want to turn back altogether.
Real creators know this. Real creators are passionate enough about what they are going for to do what it takes to achieve their results. They are truly dedicated individuals, who are deeply committed to sharing their gifts, and not afraid to “do the hard yards” to make this happen.
That’s it for What Creating Isn’t. I’d love to hear what you think. Please comment below with your thoughts…
This is part two of my “What is Creating?” Series. Let’s get straight into it:
Here’s a fun debate for the Buddhists in the crowd, who may say that all desire is wrong, because it is a form of attachment, which causes suffering. I agree, attachment does cause suffering. If you insist on things turning out a certain way, you will cause pain to yourself and others. But having a vision is not the same as being attached to a desire. When creators dream up what they would love, they do so not because they are attached to an outcome, or because they need things to be a certain way, or to get away from the way things are, but for the love of the thing they wish to create. Creating is active loving. It’s loving something enough to bring it into being.
I think creating done right is in fact incredibly spiritual. It feels right to me that human beings have a natural desire to contribute to the world – just look at all the art, science, technology, wisdom, writing, music, etc. etc. etc. in the world. It seems like we are here to express ourselves in some way that is unique to each individual, and to deny this would be the same as denying who we are, and therefore the opposite of true spirituality. Real creators know what they love, and they know it is their birthright to go for it. They know how to hold an outcome lightly (like cupping water in your hand), and as a result, they get to be continually surprised by the wonders they bring into being.
There is a humungous difference between creating what you love for the sake of it (and enjoying your wonderful life as you do so) and chasing the proverbial carrot, and in the meantime not enjoying your life. Holding out for some great thing that will happen in the future is not creating.
As Eckhart Tolle puts it: “the present moment is all you ever have.”
This was something I was quite good at back in the day. I was pretty good as making stuff happen that I intended, but I was often deeply unhappy – to the point where I suffered intense depression on a fairly regular basis. As the masters tell us – kicking goals without heart, without passion can be very empty and meaningless. It can be a very lonely existence.
Real creating is an inclusive affair. It is done connected to others, connected to heart, connected to joy, connected to the delights and drama of being a human being. Believe it or not, the pleasure is mostly found when you are working on something, rather than when you have finished it. Real Creators create for fun, and they have fun doing it, and while they may also be challenged, the overall experience is pleasurable. It’s like sex. If you’re not enjoying it, you’re probably not doing it right.
This one is a little weird – but awesome once you get your head around it. Credit where credit is due: it comes from master creator and teacher, Robert Fritz.
Satisfaction sounds like a sensible goal right? But the truth is, if you seek to get satisfaction out of life and your various creations, you are not only destined to be less satisfied, but your creations will not be as great as they can be. Think about it: for a start, satisfaction is totally dependent on mood. So some days you will be satisfied, some days you won’t. Take it further: imagine you are in a relationship and you are seeking to be satisfied by the relationship. To the degree that you feel unsatisfied, you will be less committed to that relationship. To the degree that you are less committed, you will have less satisfaction in the relationship. Then you will be less committed…etc. etc. Seeking to be satisfied by your creations leads to less involvement in them, which leads to less satisfaction and creations that are not as great as they can be.
The opposite of seeking satisfaction is seeking involvement. Satisfaction is dependent on how you feel and other external factors, but you can be involved anytime, no matter what your mood, state of health, or anything else going on in your life. And the more you involve yourself in your creations, the more fun they are. If you seek to involve yourself more deeply in your relationship, for instance, it will lead to a greater experience of your relationship. And this will lead to truth. This may mean having a deep, fantastic relationship, or it may mean moving on to something that is more true for you. Either way, you will be having a real and meaningful experience of your life. And because you are seeking involvement, you will be seeking to contribute to life, and we all know that things go well for givers, rather than takers.
Real creators are deeply aware of their contribution to life, and they seek to involve themselves and to give their gift whenever and wherever they can. And as a result, they are happier and more successful. Seen from the outside, creators can look lucky. But the truth is they create their own luck.
That’s it for now. Watch this space for the next instalment.
So, apparently I talk too much. Or to be more accurate: my blogs are too long. Here’s my solution: a wonderful series of blogs that I will release over the next few weeks about what creating really is. I’m going to start, as usual, by sharing a few things that creating isn’t:
No, silly, that is control. I dare say Hitler may have been able to insist that things go his way all of the time, but I wouldn’t call him a creator. Creating is about learning to flow with life, to use the laws of nature to support you in building the life you love. Real creators will tell you that they fail all the time, but that their overall experience of life is that it is filled with the things they love. Creating is like growing a garden: it’s not about insisting that every single seed you plant grows – it’s about letting some grow and others fail, but overall cultivating a wonderful blooming oasis that gives you and others great pleasure.
Some people can look like great creators because there are a lot of external results in their lives. But this is not necessarily the case. We all have areas in which we are comfortable, and areas in which we are not. One person’s comfort zone is another person’s purgatory. I have a friend who happily does international talks for corporate bigwigs and doesn’t even break a sweat (I would be pissing my pants in the same circumstance), but then freaks out big time when someone asks her on a date…
This is why you can’t judge another person’s “creating” from the outside – because you don’t know where their comfort zone is, and what takes them to the edge of it. Real creating is not about just manifesting more of what comes easy to you – it’s about going for the things that REALLY matter – the ones that take you to your edge – the ones that challenge you a bit. Real creators know how to find the waves out on their edge, and ride them like professional surfers.
Here’s a good one. Some people are good at forcing the things they want into being. And to a certain degree, it can work. But it eventually falls down. There’s always a cost when you force it. Maybe it’s just that you can make stuff happen in a work context, but not create the relationship that you want. Or it might be that you are great at convincing a whole bunch of people to jump on board with your product, but then, if you have used force, the tricky part comes in how to keep them. If you create by force it is hard work to make it happen, hard work to keep it happening, and hard work to hang on to what you have. In the end, creations that have been brought into being by force collapse under their own weight. Need proof? Think about what happened to the Holy Roman Empire, or the British Empire, or what lead to the global financial crisis…
Creators on the other hand, know how to flow, how to go for things without forcing them, how and when to surrender, let go, and receive. When a creator brings something into being, the thing itself has a natural momentum that keeps it growing and building in the world – like what happens when you plant a tree. Sure you have to keep watering it on occasion, and look after it a bit – but it has its own will to live, its own wisdom, its own direction – all you have to do is give it the space to grow.
That’s it for now. Watch this space for the next instalment.