Friday, February 27, 2015

The Space to Create



Hummmmmmm…

Until very recently, I never thought of myself as a creator, as someone with the potential to create.



Why would I be a creator?
My traditional schooling experience trained me to memorize and regurgitate. The best students were the most compliant. Original thoughts and ideas were not rewarded by the rubric. Each paper needed to be double-spaced and written in Times New Roman.

Society told me to consume. Wear clothes from the same retail outlets. Listen to music from the same radio stations. Read the book featured at the same bookstores. Watch television from the same stations.

Yet, I always felt different. I felt drawn to the underdog. I relished the non-linear argument. I sought the non commercial. I loved being non-compliant. I was fascinated by those who stepped outside the box.

I never tied the allure of divergence to the opportunity to create. Slowly, I am. My conversion to creator has been slow. You could say it has taken a lifetime. More than anything, I work to embrace this new mindset. I fight the urge to think my ideas are nonsense. I fight the urge to hit cancel instead of submit. I fight the urge to constantly ruminate on what others think. I fight the urge to believe my creation is less than others. I fight the urge to stop my work before I begin (I almost stopped writing this post before I started).

My biggest goal is to throw caution to the wind and follow through. Being a creator means being at ease with discomfort. The discomfort that anything could come of your ideas, your creations.

So this brings me to the question at hand — How do you make this space for yourself?

I make space for me to practice; practice this new notion of creating. I make space for me to practice a new mindset. I make space for me to sit with discomfort. I make space for me to accept the uncertainty of being a creator. I make space for me to struggle with my perceived inadequacy. I make space for me to be excited. I make space for me to be empowered.

How?

I read more. I connect more. I build relationships. I reach out on Twitter. I learn from giants. I study those I admire on Medium. I listen to inspiring podcasts. I mediate. I write. I write some more. I drag myself out of bed at 5:00 AM. I drink coffee. I drink a lot of coffee.

I value my hours teaching. Kids are natural creators, full of innocent imagination and potential. I am often inspired by my students. I value my co-founders. I listen to their feedback, I soak in their ideas. I push to fight for my own.

I walk around with post-it notes. If I run out of post-it notes, I use my hand. I write every idea down. For some reason, my best ideas occur in the car and in the shower. Sometimes this makes recording the flash of inspiration rather difficult. Yet I do it anyway. I empty my pockets at night and organize my ideas. I use my ideas to start new projects bright and early the next day. I use my ideas to improve projects I am working on.

So, I give myself the space by shifting my own personal paradigm. I can create anywhere, at anytime. I don’t need to make space, I need to discover the space that is already there. I simply need to slow down and acknowledge the amazing creative potential of each moment. To live a creative life is to realize that the space to create comes at all different moments and in all different places. You need to be ready to use it.

…If that all fails, I jump on my surfboard and flounder in the ocean.

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