Fear blocks creativity and results in a retreat into a creative shell. It’s true. And, it’s sad.
But one can conquer the fear.
The answer is both complex and simple.
But before I tell you the answer, I think it’s important to first understand what causes that fear. Or, better still, answer the question via an illustration of how great artists across creative fields conquer that fear.
Way back, when I was but a college student, I happened to attend the annual 3-day Indian Music Group (IMG) organized festival at St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai.
I will never forget Bhimsen Joshi’s performance at that open-air festival. In particular, the way he rendered the vocals of one song. When he belted out Vithal Vithal,* shivers ran down my spine and the hairs on my skin stood up. I clearly remember this one moment when the thought ran across my mind that God is going to respond to Bhimsen Joshi’s invocation. At that moment in time, I looked up at a sky lit up by a full moon almost expecting to see the Lord Vithal.
I am not hundred percent certain that Tirtha Vithal was the song he sang but here’s a YouTube video with English subtitles explaining the rich meaning of the hymn. Do see the video and read the explanation because it does point one in the right direction to conquering fear and achieving the sublime heights of creativity.
Hear’s a sample:
When all worldly bonds break and desires fade away
the devotee’s heart sees only God everywhere and in every thing.
I believed then and I believe now that Bhimsen Joshi that night was so lost in his love for Lord Vithal and his music that he had lost all consciousness of his audience, the world….everything but his focus on expressing his love through his incantation.
That then is the answer to conquering the fear that blocks your creativity.
You have to love your creative field.
You have to lose yourself in your work. You have to lose all other consciousness.
You have to stop worrying about what people will think about your performance.
You have to ignore the fear stylists surrounding you who chant, “Not this way. Not that Way. You have to do this. You have to do that.”
Do what you believe in.
Go with the flow and To Thine Own Self Be True.
That’s the only way your work will be an original and not a poor imitation. That then is the way to prevent fear from blocking your creativity.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that one doesn’t take on valid criticism.
Author’s Note: If the contents of this post ring a bell and interest you enough to explore the subject more, do read Briefing: Brilliance!, Face Off. With Yourself! and A Measure of Success Called Joy. In all the aforesaid posts, I have talked about creative inspiration, losing the self and the true meaning of creative success.
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Featured Image Credit: Wild Turkeys displaying for the hens by Rodney Campbell (Flickr.com CC By-SA 2.0)
* Vithal – one of Lord Vishnu’s name (a Hindu God).