Every time we create something, we take a risk. Not just whether it’s going to look good or sound good. When we create something we are exposing who we are. Even scarier, we are exposing who we want to be, but aren’t yet.
Artists, writers, musicians, we all do it in our own ways. We create something and when we do, we put a piece of ourselves into it. Then we send our creations out into the world and risk ridicule, derision, constructive criticism, or, worst of all, indifference.
This isn’t just true for those of us in the “creative” fields. Scientific experiments, mathematical theories, new lesson plans, people create all these things with varying amounts of self-investment. Why? Why do we risk the gut-wrangling discomfort of exposing ourselves? Why do we time and time again make ourselves vulnerable to everyone else’s opinion?
The answer, which can be so clear when we begin creating, is easily lost depending on the reactions we’ve received to our creations. Continuing indifference and scorn are strong naysayers to the natural creative impulse harbored in all of us, whatever our profession.
When we create, we make ourselves vulnerable and it is only through being vulnerable that we can truly connect with someone else. It’s the possibility of connection, of being understood and of understanding ourselves a little better, that keeps the creative impulse alive.
So we continue to create, whether with a new skill or a polished expertise, a napkin sketch or a manuscript. It’s a risk, a huge risk, and in our first attempts we are more likely to fall flat than take off running. When you have taken that risk and made yourself vulnerable only to get the wrong reaction, it hurts. It hurts so much more than if you had never tried at all. And as everyone knows, every time you experience that rejection, it becomes more and more difficult to take that risk again.
But eventually, my friends, someone will respond. They will connect with the little, vulnerable piece of you that you have so bravely thrown out into the world in the guise of art, technology, music, etc. And that connection takes you higher, makes you warmer, and fills you more than anything else.
Why else would we all keep doing this to ourselves?