August 23

 “Each of us must confront our own fears, must come face to face with them. How we handle our fears will determine where we go with the rest of our lives. To experience adventure or to be limited by the fear of it.” —Judy Blume

Fear thrives in the dark. Bringing your fears out into the light will often cause them to dissipate.

It’s not true risk that inhibits creativity, it’s perceived risk. We artificially escalate the perceived consequences of failure to the point that we don’t act. We don’t take little creative risks that are necessary in order to intuit larger possible creative leaps. Instead, we cower under the illusion of what will happen if we don’t get it right.

“I’ll lose my job.”

“They’ll laugh at me.”

“I’ll lose their respect.” 

“I’ll never work again.”

These kinds of narratives take root and justify our lack of creative risk, often causing us to live out a self-fulfilling prophecy. We don’t want to fall, so we don’t leap, so we do what’s expected, so we fail. 

This is the paradox of how we often respond to fear: our timid response causes us to experience the very thing we were afraid of to begin with. To loosen the grip of fear, we must change the narratives. We must notice the difference between perceived consequences of failure, and likely consequences of failure. There are consequences to be sure, but often they are far less devastating than the ones that fear is whispering in your ear.  

Question: What fear or narrative is keeping you from taking a creative risk?

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