A creative life goes hand-in-hand with diversity and adversity – actively seeking out diversity in communication and managing adversity in life. While creativity may be our natural, pure state, being creative fuctions best when encouraged. Competition instead of cooperation, refusing to be flexible in your thinking and not seeking out diverse opinions are three barriers to creativity.
An article in FAST COMPANY magazine by Art Steiber about film director Martin Scorsese reveals some universal truths about the creative process, especially in a group environment. One of the great myths of creativity is the idea that an artist lives in solitude, struggling away at an artistic endeavor. For most creative undertakings, the opposite is truth. To nurture the spark of creativity and help it blossom into a successful creative work, we need input, ideas and opinions from others.
Steiber writes, “a great artist needs a lot of support.” Support is the cornerstone of bringing a creative idea to the public’s eye. You simply cannot do it alone. Martin Scorsese’s greatest creative moments came about because of suggestions by those closest to him. The lesson is to surround yourself with people you trust and encourage them to tell you the truth. Scorsese said that one of the most important elements to creative success is to know when to accept their criticism and knowing when to say “no.”
An additional truth I gleaned from the article is that sometimes you have to play the game to get what you want, especially in the business environment. Martin Scorsese had to make a couple of films he wasn’t enthusiastic about in order to prove his work was financially viable and get back in the game. The lesson is that you have to learn how to play the system and gain traction and, conversely, know when to insist that you are going to do what you want to do and how to back off until you can.
If you want to bring your creative vision to light, you must learn to walk the tightrope of controlling and letting go: when to bet and when to fold. We need to listen to others, weed out the ideas that do not resonate with us and put the ones that do into the creative pot to simmer. We need support, so we must respect the dignity of others and make sure they know they are valued.