Is Creativity linked to Failure?


Photo: Sharon D Pruitt

Hi it’s Tania  and we’re talking creativity.

Have you ever given a talk to a room full of people a good thirty years older than you?
I have.
Five years ago the Floral Art Society asked me to talk at their monthly meet.
The women in the room were many years older than me and I felt daunted.
Shouldn’t I be the one to  take in their wisdom?
(Deep breath)

I started by handing out papers listing a series of traits,
everything from loving to daring to friendly to brave and so on.
They were asked to mark at least four of the traits that best described them.
Two women did not, would not, could not mark one!
My heart cringed for them but my talk flowed.

Traditionally at the meetings there was a display of floral art
by whoever chose to bring.
These were viewed and judged at the end.
There were many women in that room, but not many flower
arrangements awaiting criticism.

Creativity is tinged with fear.
This beautiful thing , this catalyst of new ideas and fresh
perspective is lined with dread and panic.
We feel it there, we can almost touch it,
but all to often the emotional risk is just too great.
Creativity is linked to failure.
There is nothing, yet we dare to create something.
Will that something have value?
And if not, will we still have value?

I looked into the upturned faces of these women ,
all part this creative community and saw the
uncertainty that held them back.
An uncertainty that even prevented those ladies from placing
a pencil tick next to an excellent character trait!

“Why didn’t every one of you bring a piece of floral art today” I asked,
“Is it because of the criticism that lies beyond that creative action?”
My challenge was to have no judge at the next meeting.
To ditch the red pen!
I urged them  to each create a piece out of sheer love and beauty.
To create for creativity sake and then be kind and gentle with each other.
I knew that if most of the meetings ended with that act of celebration,
the floral art would pour, not dribble
through the doors every month.

Did they do it?
Actually, I don’t know.
I hope so.
Will you do it?
Your today needs a simple act of creativity.
Don’t wait 10, 20, 30 years.
Are you scared and uncertain?

Creative uncertainty isn’t a bad thing – we all feel it’s touch.
It’s within the uncertainty that we discover something new,
realizing we can be brave and we deserve
all the pencil ticks we can get!

This is Tania Ahlfeldt, feeling brave and uncertain – yet reaching for that pencil.


3 thoughts on “Is Creativity linked to Failure?

  1. “There is nothing, yet we dare to create something. Will that something have value? And if not, will we still have value?” – perhaps ‘value’ is not to be found in the opinion of piers, but in my own heart, recklesly ignoring whatever opinion is thrown my way – this makes me brave …

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