“Creativity takes courage.” – Henri Matisse
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Whether you’ve been creative your entire life, or you are just now exploring it, one thing is true. Creativity takes courage.
As creatives, we spend our whole lives fighting against the system. Our parents tells us to stop drawing on the walls. Our teachers gave us bad grades because we didn’t do their assignment the “right” way. Our bosses are dead set in their ways.
Each day we live within the confines of the establishment. Most of us fall right in line. We feel stifled and held back by the people around us, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
We can choose to be courageous. We can take the unbeaten path. We can take risks without knowing how things will turn out.
Most of us choose to accept the status quo, but there are many people out there who have created their own way. Here are a few of the people I look to while trying to form my own path:
Tim is one of the best known examples of someone who doesn’t let people dictate his life. He built and sold his own company after deciding he could maximize his time and delegate his work.
He has written multiple best-selling books including his seminal work The Four Hour Workweek, he has one of the top ranked podcasts on iTunes, and he is also an angel investor.
Tim has built a massive following around the idea of doing maximizing your efforts to get the greatest results and has inspired many people to do the same.
Lewis was fulfilling his dream as a professional football player until an injury ended his playing career. This injury devastated him. He was broken and living on his sister’s couch.
At that moment, he could have felt sorry for himself and accepted his place in the world. Many people would. Instead he embarked on a new path.
Since that moment, he has built multiple companies, he has created an extremely popular podcast, and he recently released his first traditionally published book about achieving greatness.
In that moment of weakness, instead of giving up, he chose to seek greatness. Now he is helping people seek their greatness too.
Maria is the wonderful mind behind one of the internet’s favorite blogs: Brain Pickings. While most blogs on the internet explore very specific topics, Brain Pickings features Maria’s thoughts on culture, books, and any topic that interests her.
Brain Pickings started as a weekly email to seven of her friends. Now it receives millions of visitors a month. She has built that following by exploring her own interests, and is able to sustain her blog through donations from her readers.
Although she could be making much more money through ads, she chooses to make money through affiliate links and donations from her readers. This allows her to work on things she enjoys instead of working on things that will make her money.
Srinivas is the creative force behind one of my favorite podcasts: The Unmistakable Creative. This podcast features amazing interviews with everyone from artists to entrepreneurs to ex-cons.
Like many people, Srinivas thought he had to seek the traditional path to success. He went to business school and got a 9-5 job, but wasn’t fulfilled. So he hosted a podcast called BlogCast FM and gradually grew the podcast interview by interview. He then re-branded it into what it is today, the Unmistakable Creative. It is now one of the most popular podcasts for creatives.
Tina is one of the most popular designers on the internet. She came to the US from Switzerland and worked for several prominent NYC design firms.
In 2005, she started her popular blog, swissmiss, and ran her own design studio with clients including the Museum of Modern Art and Food Network. While building the studio she also started other side projects including Creative Mornings, TeuxDeux, and Tattly. These projects allowed her to drop all her clients to work on them full-time.
While at San Diego State University, Chase had plans of going to medical school after graduating. A few weeks before graduation, his grandfather passed and left him all of his photography equipment.
Instead of going to school after graduating, he took a trip to Europe, where he discovered his passion for photography. While pursuing his Masters degree at the University of Washington, he licensed photos to REI, which allowed him to leave school and start up his own studio.
Since then, Chase has photographed for clients like Nike, Apple, Miscrosoft, REI, and Lady Gaga. He also launched CreativeLive which offers free classes for people who want to learn photography, design, and other creative topics, and hosts interviews with creatives on Chase Jarvis Live.
Most of us believe we can’t pursue our creative dreams. We lack the conviction to step out of our comfort zones and do the thing we love most. Instead of letting your preconceived notions stop you, let them go. Be courageous and let your creativity guide you.
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Photo by Mike Kniec