Can you say what you truly want for your creative business in 2019?
Knowing what we truly want – not what other people think we should want, or what our family or friends expect of us, or what our culture has determined we should do – is our starting point as creativepreneurs.
And, for many of us, it’s a challenge. Not least because we have been educated out of our creative ability.
Children enter school brimming with creative intelligence only to have it boxed into standardized testing. Alongside learning where they fit in the school pecking order, and some necessary skills like how to read, write and compute, what’s mostly taught is how to keep society’s accepted rules, spoken and unspoken: how to sit still for long periods of time at a small desk; how to submit to authority; how to negotiate bureaucracy; how to compete a lot, memorize facts, and create in carefully contained arenas.
Thanks to some fine 19th-century theorists like Froebel and Montessori, we now grant the importance of creative play in children’s early years but from mid-primary school onwards, education emphasizes the kind of intelligence that can be measured and analyzed.
In a hugely popular TED talk, educator and author Ken Robinson explains the consequences.
Kids will take a chance. If they don’t know, they’ll have a go… they’re not frightened of being wrong…By the time they get to be adults, most kids have lost that capacity. They have become frightened of being wrong. We stigmatize mistakes. We run our companies like this. And we’re now running national education systems where mistakes are the worst thing you can make. And the result is that we are educating people out of their creative capacities.
Ken Robinson. 2006. ted.com.
Jules Henry, an anthropologist who approaches field research in American classrooms using the same techniques as colleagues collecting data from rainforest tribal cultures, agrees.
If all through school, the young were provoked to question the Ten Commandments, the sanctity of revealed religion, the foundations of patriotism, the profit motive, the party political system, monogamy, the laws of incest and so on, we would have more creativity than we could handle.
Quoted in RD Laing. 1967. The Politics of Experience
Arriving at school for the first time, we use more than 95% of our creative faculties. In junior school, we’ll drop to using 50% to 70%. By the time we’re leaving, school and social life will have whittled it down to less than 20%. Colleges and workplaces will continue our creative disablement.
TRY THIS: Creative Past
Look back at your own school days. Were your creative impulses stifled? How? What would you like to have questioned? What about now? Still being stifled? Write it out.
Our natural creative process can be distorted in all sorts of ways. We deny that we want what we do want. We are deflected by other people’s desires, what they want of us. We are so removed from our dreams and desires that we don’t even know what they are. We push one desire over and over, not recognizing it’s become compulsive or obsessive. We play small. We refuse to play at all.
We may be attracted to the idea that “if we dream it we can do it”, but our actual experience is that we can’t even lose ten pounds, or quit smoking. Sometimes we can’t even tidy the living room. How on earth are we supposed to succeed in creative business?
It’s important to understand that we didn’t create the wants that circulate within us; the only power we have is the power to choose which ones we’ll feed and encourage and reinforce and which we’ll allow to dissolve away.
To consciously create, we must begin by recognizing the true wants that lead us towards the strength, stamina and flexibility we need to succeed. And the false wants—the desires and urges, cravings and addictions—that shrink, weaken and block our ability to create.
That will never see success in creative enterprise, or in any other aspect of life.
TRY THIS: Creative Business and Me
Tick any of the following that apply to you:
• I’m overworked
• I’m underpaid
• I hate my job
• I like my job but it’s not what I want to do with my life
• I’m a poorly paid freelancer
• I do my passion on the side and have no idea how to transition to full-time
• I feel I have a lot to offer the world but I don’t know where to start
• I want to understand how creative business works in our digital age
• I’m doing okay but I know I can do better
• I self-sabotage
• I’m struggling with information overload
• I can’t keep up with all the changes
• I don’t like technology
• I feel consistently anxious but I don’t know why
• I know what I should do but I keep procrastinating
• Life/health/family keeps getting in my way
DO THIS: Your Perfect Business
F-r-e-e-write what life looks like if your creative enterprise was up and running, perfectly. This is the ideal here, not the reality. Let rip.
Share your creative intentions and accomplishments in our Go Creative! in Business Facebook group, where we support and motivate each other.
Pre-order Three Pathways To Profit for Creative Entrepreneurs: Practice, Process, Positioning. I now use the “Pre-Order Marketing Method” devised for indie authors. As soon as we hit 1000 pre-orders, I’ll release the book.