A few years ago, I helped my friend Suzanne sell her photographs at art fairs. The photos were gorgeous shots of flowers, spectacular close-ups.
People would walk by and say, "I don't need to buy one of those, I could take a photo like that."
Um, really? You could get the settings on the camera right so that all the detail popped out, and you also had the eye that could make the creative angle of the shot pop out? Really, you could?
A couple weeks ago, my husband and I were flipping through the TV channels on a Friday night when we landed on the coverage of Nik Wallenda's tightrope walk over Niagara Falls. Talk about inspiring. But news reports featured people's doubts because ABC made him wear a harness:
"Onlooker Gary Neal was disappointed.
'I reckon I could do it myself with a safety harness,' he laughed. 'That takes the excitement away for me.'"
Really? You could stroll on over that high wire, with spray from the Falls blinding you and wind whipping you? Without any training?
Both of these are examples of naysaying. And naysaying is an example of fear.
Naysaying is what we sometimes do instead of creativity. We say, "yeah, but" in order to take down the person who has actually gone out in the world and done something creative, the person who walks the highwire or takes gorgeous photographs. We want to take them down to make them more like us, we who are not actively being creative and daring.
I've found myself doing it with other writers:
"Yeah, but, even though the book is a bestseller, it's poorly written." (Fifty Shades of Gray, anybody?) The fact remains that the book has struck a huge chord and its an enormous accomplishment.
We do it in order to somehow diminish the other person's accomplishment. And what it really does is diminish ourselves.
Fear is like that. It's a sneaky bastard, and it'll overwhelm you in a variety of guises. One way it acts is to make you inauthentic, to make you scared of being yourself. Because diminishing yourself and your authentic creativity is the ultimate naysaying act.
Which is why I am THRILLED to announce a class that I'm offering with Karen Caterson, better known as Square-Peg Karen, on Authenticity + Creativity. It's an affordable one-session class coming up on July 10th and we'll be getting to the heart of this topic.
I won't recap all the details here, when there is a perfectly lovely page that explains it all that you can click over to right here. We'd love to have you join us!
What about you? Have you ever naysayed before? Or do you diminish your creativity in other sneaky ways?
Photo by agentoseis.