25 November 2019

Creativity & Passion

With the end of any era in your life comes reflection; on achievements, perhaps regrets, changes you want to make, things you’d like to do differently. Quite often this can be related to career choices or work-life balance. When you’re manning the Petalon inbox, you see lots of emails from people wanting to get in to floristry and looking for a bit of advice. It’s always lovely to hear from people who have been in touch because they love what you do and want to know how you got to where you are. And we always reply, hopefully with some useful advice and an encouraging nudge. But the advice always has a similar theme – there is no substitute for just ‘doing’. Your journey won’t be the same as anyone else’s, so why try and replicate it? Chatting with people, meeting up for a coffee, sending an email, bookmarking inspiring posts or images all go a little way towards helping, but one thing we always tell people is to get their hands on flowers as often as they can. Create. Document it to track your journey. Even when you might hate what you’ve made one day and feel like you’ve gone backwards a few steps or you’re beginning to wonder why you started in the first place, somewhere there will have been something you’ve learned, even if it isn’t immediately obvious. Musicians, writers, artists will all tell you the same thing.

According to this article on creativity by Yale research scientist, Zorana Ivcevic Pringle, these unpleasant and frustrating days are just as important as the positive, productive and enjoyable days when it comes to fuelling creativity. Apparently there is no one emotion that is beneficial to being creative, but instead it’s how we use all of our emotions towards creativity. In this piece, Pringle makes the distinction between creative ideas and creative work and the role of emotions in both of these. When studying painters, sculptors, choreographers, writers and composers, the type of emotions reported that inspired creative ideas were often positive; love, happiness, joy. But the dominant emotions experienced during the creative process itself were negative; frustration, sadness. So basically, creativity is hard. Despite how you’re feeling at one particular point in time about that song you’re trying to write, painting you’re trying to finish, bridal bouquet you’re trying to make – those emotions are part of a passion you feel towards what you’re creating. And it seems that passion is the key to creativity and far more complex than you might think.

Here, they identify two things that fall under passion; a strong desire to do something and goals related to whatever it is you want to do. So although being creative is not always a happy, positive and satisfying experience, if you are passionate about your work and have a long-term view of what you’re trying to achieve, this allows you the energy to keep you motivated, even after those stressful and frustrating days.

As so perfectly put by Steven Pressfield in his book The War of Art, “Self-doubt can be an ally. This is because it serves as an indicator of aspiration. It reflects love, love of something we dream of doing and desire, desire to do it. If you find yourself asking yourself (and your friends), “Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?” chances are you are. The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death.”

So in short, Nike were really on to something when they came up with their slogan; just do it. If you’re passionate about it, it’s worth taking the risk.

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