Confront the Realities of Your Creative Inclinations

Sundance knew he shot better when he moved.

When he applied for the job as the payroll guard, the
crotchety old miner told him to hit the tobacco plug, but with no fancy
footwork and no quick draw theatrics.I
just need to see if you can shoot the damn thing
, he says.

He stands there, aims, shoots and misses by by a yard.

But right when the old man starts to walk away, he looks
back at the target and famously asks, “Can I move?”

And before we know it, Sundance holsters his gun, draws and
fires from the hip in the classic western tradition, and the bullets connect
while the tobacco plug jumps and bucks around the dirt. He’s hired on the spot.

Do you have that level of understanding about your own work?

If so, becoming a prolific communicator will come naturally
to you. Creativity, after all, is a function of identity. You can’t have one
without the other. Whatever kind of work you do, what you make will be inextricably
connected to what you are.

That’s why the theme of identity is so prevalent in my work.
Not just because I wear a nametag twenty four seven, but because few things
fascinate me more than the formation, nuance, complexity and absurdity of why
people are the way they are. And so, after writing a handful of books of the
subject, here are a few truths I’ve come to realize:

You can’t run from who you are. You take yourself
with you, wherever you go. And your identity chooses you, not the other way
around. No matter how hard you work to kick nature out, your truest self will always
bubble up the surface. When Michelangelo famously said the sculpture was inside
the stone, he wasn’t talking about art, he was talking about us.What you
make can’t not come from what you are.

This is great news.

Because once you reach a certain level of understanding about
how you work and how you’re wired, there’s no stopping you from hitting your
target. And once you confront the realities of your creative temperaments and
inclinations, the likelihood of hitting the wall is drastically lower.

I’m reminded of something my mentor used to say:

hide your limitations, channel them.

attention deficit disorder. This condition negatively affects millions of
people each year and it results in a great deal of emotional pain,
disappointment and in some cases, pharmacological side effects. And yet, I’ve
read inspiring stories about people who channel their condition into artistic
superpowers like multitasking, detail management and writing wicked technical
punk rock songs.

But there
are two sides to every cognitive coin.

On the
other side of the fence, I’m one of those weirdos with hyperfocus, or as my
wife likes to call it,reverse attention
deficit disorder
. I tend to become intensely engrossed with the task
at hand, to the point where all emotion drains from my face, I lose complete awareness
of my surroundings and disappear inside myself like a sea turtle. One morning
I was so zoned out during a writing binge that I spilled hot tea down my pants
and didn’t even notice.

yet, I usually find a way to channel my hyperfocus into productive, meaningful
work that’s useful to others. Because there’s always way to channel your limitations
in the service of making your ideas happen.

Otherwise, the more mysterious your own creative process becomes
for you, the greater your fear the well is going to run dry.

Confront the realities of your creative inclinations.

There’s no telling how many plugs of tobacco you might hit.


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Author. Speaker. Strategist. Songwriter. Filmmaker. Inventor. Gameshow Host. World Record Holder. I also wear a nametag 24-7. Even to bed.
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