Did you ever create something you were really proud of, to doubt it furiously upon presenting it to others? I think most of us have had this experience. It’s understandable to become nervous when we present our creativity to others: it’s easy to identify what we produce from our inner depths with who we are. Which makes a rejection of what we make feel like a rejection of who we are. Wouldn’t you love to be able to handle this fear?
Dealing with your fear
There is no meditation, coaching or treatment (except maybe for Prozac?) in this world that can completely take your fear away. And if something like it exists, I would strongly recommend you don’t take it! Fear is normal and good, and gives you energy. It’s the way you handle it that decides whether it works for you or against you.
A useful way of looking at fear of rejection for your actions is from the perspective of the pupil. Whatever you do, you’re always a pupil. Even when you’re the best or a pioneer, there’s always something else to learn, and there are always others that can inspire you and provide relevant feedback.
From this perspective, showing off is the best thing you can do! Others will judge whether what you do stands the test of the outside world. Another useful way of looking at things is that nothing is ever finished. It’s basically the same as before, only this time it’s about work, not the person. Kill your darlings – review and improve upon your old work. It’s also a great way to chart your progress!
Handling your life differently
So far, I’ve mainly covered concrete expressions of creativity. Painting, writing, handiwork, or the results of your daily work. But you can also apply this principle to your interactions with others. What’s stopping you from becoming the pupil and learning how to have better relationships, experiment with different approaches? That doesn’t mean become a danger to your environment – but a bit of unpredictability can do miracles.
In the end, it’s all a question of perspective. We all have frames of reference to which we stick. We call them society, the others, moral, common sense… in the end it’s all internal projections of reality. In relation to reality itself, it’s just meagre projections. With regards to ourselves it’s more dramatic: our frames of reference define us.
When you ain’t got nothing, you got nothing to lose
Look at life this way for a second: you don’t really have anything at all. Everything you own now, you will eventually lose. You will die. What you own will be spread out and disappear. Your loved ones will die. Your kids will leave the house, maybe so will your partner, your house could blow away. Do you want to sit around being scared for it to happen, or get the most out of your life and enrich yourself? True riches is the ability to create wealth, not the wealth itself.
Making mistakes is the beginning of your success: from a hundred bad ideas comes one good idea that can change your life. So make great mistakes – accepting the consequences of your actions means that you accept the full breadth of them, that you don’t flee from them, resist or deny them. And that you take steps to make a change. That means there are certain standards to making mistakes. You have all the freedom in the world to make mistakes, but you know where some of them will lead. So make the right ones, the ones that move you forward!
One golden tip: do it one step at a time. Find the edges of your comfortzone, and venture out just one step. Learn to get comfortable being uncomfortable. Do it now!