Creative Vulnerability: Struggle From The Heart And Do It Anyway

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Horrified. That’s the only word I can think of to describe how putting my work out there feels. Funny enough, every person I’ve talked to who undergoes the creative process feels the exact same way. It’s certainly quite an accomplishment in my eyes when I see my friends undergoing it and proudly portraying their work to the outside world.

Frankly, I believe that everyone has a dream. Unfortunately, a miniscule amount of people end up following it. Why? Bluntly, whether it’s following your passion and attempting a career out of it or starting your own business, you are entering arguably the most vulnerable state you can ever experience. I get that this may sound dramatic but it’s absolutely true. You’re bearing your heart and soul into a project that takes an outstanding amount of work to the outside world. You’re opening yourself up to the high potential of judgment and failure, and self-doubt can absolutely take over.

It’s frightening but absolutely worth it.

I couldn’t imagine a life lived without at least giving it a shot.

On a neuroscientific level, the brain recruits three different networks that normally don’t function together when undergoing a creative pursuit. Your executive attention network, your imagination network, and your salience network, which monitors external events as well as your inner stream of consciousness. Since that’s the case, it really is no wonder that this process leaves you feeling so incredibly vulnerable and exposed. Again, you’re bearing what, if avoided, would exist solely as a strongly kept secret; a reoccurring daydream. Why leave it at that? Why not dedicate a portion of your free time towards turning fantasy into reality and reaping the unimaginable internal reward?

It’s funny. Vulnerability frightens us so deeply; yet, as impressive as our accomplishments may be, it’s important to remember that no one is loved for their accomplishments. Achievements are absolutely admirable, there’s no doubt about that.

However, your vulnerability is what garners true love and respectability.

It reminds everyone that we’re all human.

We all experience these fears together and there’s something so deeply humbling about exposing that side of ourselves. The amount of self-doubt I’ve experienced in the process of creating this blog has been the mentor I never knew I so deeply needed.

“Who the hell would give a damn to read what I write? Why even publish this? To experience deep failure? Why would I do that to myself?”

I’ve had people excited about this project and offering to advertise the hell out of it. Gratitude on gratitude for the offers, but they also peak my anxiety like no other. It’s an experience of complete exposure to various strangers. “They’re going to take a look at it, roll their eyes and never return to experience my new content.” I even put off my first Spotlight interview with one of my best friends to whom I constantly talk about my true feelings with. Why? Strictly because I thought I’d be terrible as an interviewer. Again, it was fear of failure, the ultimate liar. Point being, these are the relentless thoughts that self-doubt breeds. It truly is a battle of what Stephen Pressfield refers to as ‘resistance’ in his book The War of Art (highly recommended to any creative).

We’re warriors who show up for battle every single day. Resistance is both our enemy and our mentor. I hope my readers can find an ounce of inspiration in what I’m attempting to communicate through my work and I hope you join me through the challenging journey ahead. TC mark

I’m a philosophy, psychology and practical neuroscience nerd who loves baby elephants

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