Creativity

Real Creativity Takes Courage

I’m thinking about writing a future book on the amount of courage it takes to make creativity happen. There’s been plenty written on creativity and innovation, but very little on the battles we often have to fight to be creative in the first place. Wherever you are or whatever you do, creative change is going to ruffle a few feathers. Perhaps more accurately, it’s going to drive some folks absolutely nuts. That’s why creative courage is in such short supply today. Advertising legend George Lois said, “In professional work – certainly in the arts and graphics – 99% of people have zero courage. They blow with the wind.”

George is right. Innovators shake people up and that creates criticism, push-back, and in many cases, when your critics are in charge, you could lose your job or have your reputation tarnished. That’s why the few who do stand fast are creative heroes in my book.

In the October print issue of Fast Company magazine, photographer Platon (who’s made a career photographing world leaders) told a remarkable story:

“I once photographed the civil-rights heroes of our time, including one of the Greensboro Four, who did the original sit-in. I asked him “How did you do that?” It broke all the rules to walk into the Woolworth’s and sit at the counter. He said, “Don’t wait for the masses to start a revolution.””

When it comes to making creative change happen in your world, stick to your guns. Do what you have to do.

Don’t wait for the masses to start a revolution.

Where can you show a little creative courage this week?

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One Comment

  1. You are so right, Phil. I can’t tell you how much courage it has taken me to write the scripts that I do – true stories of people who exhibited tremendous courage to cause change, or to help someone in Watts, like my friend, Rhea did, or to forgive two young men who murdered your family, like my friend, Terry did. And believe me, I got attacked and attacked, but persevered, because God is good all the time….

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