“To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.”

We’ve all heard it many times. We’ve probably said it in fact. Fear, and especially fear of being wrong, kills creativity.

It makes sense. How can we possibly be creative – how can we try new things and imagine new possibilities – when we’re hampered by fear? When our focus is on not messing up, we’re not able or willing to try new things. We most likely can’t think differently, or get out of ruts and routines, which is all the opposite of what we need to think creatively.

So how do we lose that fear?

How do we break away from whatever is holding us back? How do we become willing to be wrong, or to look stupid, or to try – or suggest – something that doesn’t work?

The only answer I’ve found is to try. To build that muscle by using that muscle. To risk being wrong, and when we find that we aren’t wrong, remember that. Or if we find that we are wrong, notice that the world didn’t end and things are pretty much okay, and remember that. We have to find ways to get ourselves less sensitive to not being perfect and not always being right and good. The main way I’ve found to do that is to just do it, and let ourselves learn along the way.

Like a baby when they learn to walk. They fall down. All the time. And then they get back up and try to walk again. Have you noticed what the adults do? Do they lambast the baby for falling? Do they point out how wrong and imperfect the baby is, and suggest the baby not try again? No, in general they say, “Yay! You fell!”

The best way I know to be creative is to lose our fear of being wrong. And the best way I know to lose our fear of being wrong is to keep trying, over and over, and keep applauding ourselves for trying. “Yay, I tried something creative.” “Yay, I tried something different and it wasn’t too bad – in fact it was kinda good.” It sounds corny, but it helps.

What have you done to lose your fear?
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For support in losing your fear, contact Lisa at lkohn@chatsworthconsulting.com.

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