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This is the best and most powerful reward you get from creative living, you get to connect with so many amazing people and you all inspire each other. The list is endless and boring. Creative living requires courage. Taking the road less traveled will never be easy but it will always take you to extraordinary places not many people have been. A lot of Nobel prize winners and Oscar winners never even got past high school.

3 Ways To Lead A Creative Life

Good enough is better than nothing. This goes back to being fearless enough and having the courage to be an open book or exposed. This is one of the worst misconceptions about artists; we do have more flexibility but you still have to discipline yourself to prepare your craft, fix it, re-do it and find more inspiration. You spend your life promising your art that you will never give up on it, take it for granted or stop loving it.

Destroy the Old and Create Something Better

Nothing terrifies me more than being so close to someone and then watching them become a stranger again. Perfection is just a bludgeon that goes around murdering everything good. Somebody once said I was disingenuous for saying this, because surely I try to make my work as good as it can be. This is my fundamental opposition to the mythological dream of fearlessness, and the frustration I feel whenever fearlessness is held up as a virtue. Just converse with it and then move on. I am no fan of the aspiration to do original work.

The only way that you can create authentic work is to, with great humility and great faith and great curiosity, follow your own inquisitiveness, wherever it takes you, and trust that whatever comes out of you will feel original. If they gave you a full ride, and the school allows you to go there for free, again, go. Enjoy it, consider yourself lucky. I cannot strongly enough beg you not to do that.

In other words, they kind of sacrifice both.

"The only way around is through."

It can, for instance, pull you away from other important aspects of your life, most notably relationships with other people. It's certainly no coincidence that many great artists throughout history have failed at maintaining long-term relationships, often divorcing not just once but several times. Certainly this could be explained by the over-sized egos many great artists have been said to possess, but I strongly suspect that obsession with the creative act itself played a larger role for many.

Certainly, creating something provides immense personal satisfaction. But artists are also drawn to create art by their desire to create value for others to enjoy, to learn from, or to be inspired by. For some, the act of creation defines the meaning of life itself and without the ability and the time to do it, no other activity of life is able to please.

But against the desire to create must be balanced other aspects of life. For like an unrecovered alcoholic who lives only to drink and who will effortlessly toss all other parts of her life aside to do it, artists who care only for their art, who neglect important relationships, will find themselves at risk for living lives that, while pleasurable in many moments, are ultimately miserable. I know this because I feel the tug of the solitary, creative life pulling at me every day—and have indulged in it often enough at different points in my life to know that, for me, that way lies not only misery but also diminished creativity.

The mental energy required for creative work flows far more readily in happy people than sad ones. And even introverts need some degree of social interaction be happy.

Filmmaker and Graphic Designer on Living The Creative Life

And though artists who choose to live a predominantly solitary life, who never marry or have children, can certainly find happiness , they will often still have romances and friendships that require tending. But artists who cut themselves off from others to pursue their art, or who only connect with others when it suits them , caring about others only to the extent that it satisfies their own needs, will almost certainly find themselves unable to enjoy satisfying relationships.

The Problem With Living a Creative Life | Psychology Today

I find tragic those artists whose need to produce art has turned the process of art-making into a single-minded obsession. Becoming obsessed with creating art is certainly something to which all creative people are vulnerable, but the happiest artists I've observed are those who've learned not just to walk away from whatever they're working on regularly, but to walk toward interpersonal relationships when they do—relationships that are not only important and satisfying in and of themselves, but that often provide the grist for their creative mills when they walk back.

Because what people talk about at the very end of their lives when they're dying has little to do with art, with work, or even with religion or God. What they talk mostly about is other people.

Other people they loved—or failed to love enough. People they hurt and to whom they never made amends. People they stood by and who stood by them. The good times they had with their families and close friends and the bad times they endured with them. Yes, art is important.


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Yes, it has the potential to create wonderful value. But if done at the expense of those we love, we likely won't greet our end with a deep sense of satisfaction but instead with a deep sense of regret. Lickerman's book The Undefeated Mind will be published in late I have always believed that the most important "things" in our lives are our relationships and that in the "end" it is only the other people we connect with that truly matter. Alex, I love that you have taken the time to write and share a reminder of what we need to value everyday.

Can we really have it both ways?

Thank you! Great art comes from those who are most dedicated, saying those who don't need the same emotional stimulation from human relationships are somehow broken or less able to achieve is nonsense.


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Some of humanities brightest saw their work as merely extensions of themselves. If ones work brings one joy over everything else then the fickle nature of human relationships matter little.