INSTINCT & IMPACT
Creative people are the toughest individuals I know, because of the two motives that have driven us from a very early age.
But first, let’s acknowledge that like all people who share a common quality, creatives are not all the same. We have different muses, unique reasons for our art, disparate skills and goals. But under our many differences, I believe we all share two important motives: the instinct to create and the need for impact.
Instinct: We have to create things that didn’t exist before we arrived. Why? I don’t know. Perhaps to leave our mark, or to help improve the world, or to test the level of our skill, or we just have a burning message to deliver. We all have different reasons.
But once inspired, there is no denying us. We have to make something. It’s primal, consuming and unavoidable. Put a pen and pad in a doodler’s hands. Put chop sticks in the hands of a drummer. They can’t stop themselves from making something new. Impossible.
Impact is the second, and I believe universal, motive of all creatives. No matter what we’ve made and how happy we are with it, we know it’s not done until we show it to someone and witness their reaction. We need to know that our work has had an impact, big or small, on someone else.
It’s the combination of these two motives – the instinctive need to create and the confirming need of a reaction – that make creative people some of the toughest mofos I know.
Ever since we first showed a drawing to someone who couldn’t recognize what it was, we knew we had to go back and get it right. We couldn’t just stop drawing. Not an option.
So we learned early that effort and reaction are intertwined, one affecting the other in a symbiotic dance. Anticipating the reveal heightens the effort. The heightened effort increases the need for the reaction. The reaction, whether good or bad, drives us back to create more, to be better. No room in there for self-pity. Just grit.
Creatives can not only handle your unvarnished feedback, we need it.
That’s the creative drive that makes us tough.