Creativity is not about being Perfect

Taking risks and the willingness to be “wrong” and “look bad” are a part of the process of creativity. If you are not willing to fail you will never try something new. You may never rearrange the the words on a page to see how it might read. You will never try different colors in a painting or new spices in a recipe. You will never put on the dress that just isn’t you or sing a song that might be beyond your range. Creativity is about putting together things in new and different ways. When you do that sometimes in may not look that good, taste yummy or sound nice. When you are taking part in the actions of creativity, perfectionism has no part in the process. None at all.

Perfectionism can show up in many ways. Many times we get so hung up on what the final product will be that we don’t finish or don’t even start. This type of perfectionism occurs when we hold an image in our heads of the final output and if it doesn’t look exactly like we think it should – out it goes. It is judged as “bad” or a “failure”.  There is no room in the process for deviation from the image.  Another challenge for the perfectionist is that they can only see the flaws in there work. They never see when and where the process is working. They never see the beauty of the piece. There are only flaws and that is all they see. The more flaws they see in their works the less likely they are to begin another. A more subtle from of perfectionism is more along the lines of image we present to the world. When this type of person looks at one of their creations, they immediate decide what other people will say or think about it.  They judge it as “different” or as a piece too “out there” for others to enjoy. This person believes that they be “wrong” or the piece is “wrong”. So it is never seen or never created. This type of perfectionism is when we want to appear perfect to the world, when someone will only present a flawless image to others.

We are not perfect. Thomas Edison said “I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward”. There is no failure. Everything you create teaches you. Everything you create expands you. Everything you create allows you step into the great amazing realm of the endless possibilities that exist. Yeah, I get that and how to I get over it? In the end, every type of perfectionism comes down to a fear – a fear of not meeting some type of expectations. So look at what you afraid of. Is your fear more important than your desire to create? If “no”, then go create something. If you feel like “yes” is the answer, then stop taking the process so seriously. Find away to make the whole thing fun. Find a way to play with it. One thing that worked for me was getting some crayons and drawing a picture with them. Another thing I would do was just scrabble or paint different colors next to one another to see what would happen. Create a fun jingle and sing it to some kids. Try to make the strangest color cake out there. Go find some children and spend some time with them just being “silly”. Just play. No pressure. No expectations. No demands. No one will ever have know what you created. It will be our secret. Promise.

Excuse me, I hear my crayons calling me. How about you?

In love and light



  1. Great insight! My crayons are beckoning too!

  2. I used to color in a coloring book when I was in law school, just to use a completely different part of my brain than the part that was being crammed with information. It was the best therapy! I think I hear my crayons calling, too….

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