047_Is Perfectionism Getting In The Way Of Your Creativity?

May 18, 2021 Annika Bryn Burton
047_Is Perfectionism Getting In The Way Of Your Creativity?
Show Notes

I borrowed this title idea from an inspirational book I recently read called Creativity Over Perfection by Heather Lee Dyer

Lar and I were having a conversation about the justifications and excuses we make to ourselves about why we aren’t creating ( or doing anything we want to do for that matter) and what’s behind it. 

Most of us can relate to the label perfectionist. 

I grew up thinking it was a good thing... something to aspire to. I had the unrealistic idea I had to do things perfectly or I was doing it wrong. Failure was not an option. 

“Do it right or don’t do it at all.”  This set the stage to believe that we have to be good at everything we do or we’re a failure. So we procrastinate. Or don’t try at all. 

Afraid to try and fail.  This brings up a whole other set of questions about what success is. 
We want to be happy —that is ultimately what success is... but we get stuck on the criteria we’ve set up — the things we tell ourselves we need to accomplish and the results that will prove our worth.  Yes? This takes all the joy out of creating because we aren’t living in the present moment — we’re futurizing our happiness. 

We talked about all the ways we put off doing what we love because we’ve made it something else in our mind.

Whenever we want to create something and we don’t, isn’t it perfectionism behind our hesitation? We procrastinate because we are afraid. We think our creating has to result in some preconceived outcome. We measure our creativity off of external criteria we learn about and suddenly the joy is squeezed out of our creative act.

Lar loves to paint. He’s been painting since he was a child. It delights him to put paint to canvas.  He loves to see  ‘pieces of me’ in each of his paintings.  —“I paint because I like painting.” FOR THE PRESENT MOMENT JOY OF IT!

In today’s episode Lar and I share how perfectionism has gotten in the way of this simple act that has given us so much joy throughout his life.

Throughout our explorative conversation, I immediately saw how this discussion totally applied to me as well. That’s the yummy thing about having a wholly honest and open relationship... whatever life is teaching one of us is also meant for the other — we just need to be open and willing to receive.

I started writing simply for the joy of it.  An idea would start to tickle my heart and my mind would say, “Let’s see what this is all about — pick up a pencil or put your fingers on a keyboard and have an adventure. I love the experience of putting words on a page and the joy of seeing how ideas come together — how ideas flow and take on a life of their own — how they teach me what is most precious in my heart by the way they unfold through the process of writing.

As I  became an author and started identifying myself with the labels of ‘author’ & ‘writer,’ something subtly started to change. My writing had an agenda. And I found myself resisting. I’d sit down, agenda in tact, and I’d find I was reaching for the right way —the right formation of ideas...  When I’m trying or efforting, the flow is no longer available to me.

The joy happens in the intersection of ideas and the desire to enter the unknown to see what unfolds on the page, or whatever medium that we feel drawn to. Joy will give us our own right way!

This is the secret to life — Do what we want to do, this moment, for the JOY of it.
When we do the thing we’re doing for the JOY of doing it it really can’t go wrong. The reward is in joy of expression.