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Chris Dunmire : Taking Those Scary Creativity Risks!

Taking Those Scary Creativity Risks!

risk n : exposure to possible loss or injury.

By Chris Dunmire

Recently, I learned a valuable lesson in risk taking. No, it didn't involve investing money or losing anything of physical value. Rather, it was a risk in either being embraced or rejected by revealing a personal part of myself amongst a room of virtual strangers on a creativity-related discussion board. What was at stake? Mostly my creative pride and the possibility of being poked in some tender places.

Guess what happened?

I was embraced and rejected. Paraded and poked. Isn't it funny how in a situation like this, we often overlook the positives and allow the negatives to weigh us down? Nine people could be neutral or receptive, but it's the 1 in 10 disagreeable Diana that grabs the spotlight with contention.

No, it's not pleasant to experience rejection of our sincere contributions or ideas, especially when our goal is to inspire others to be their very best and live a more fulfilling existence. And it's not fun when people make ill-assumptions based on their own filters and perceptions. But it happens. And when it does, we have to learn to roll with it.

Living in a world with diverse ideas and personalities assures that people won't see eye-to-eye all of the time. Cultural differences are even more apt to manifest on the Internet, and the ease of wearing masks and hiding behind anonymous personas online abound. Some may be thoughtless or purposely hurtful with their words, trying to discourage our efforts and dreams. Don't let them. Remember, words reveal more about the one speaking them rather than the recipient of them. People project their own negativity and lash out at others for all sorts of reasons, none which have anything to do with you, me, or the subject of discussion.

What I learned this time around can be summed up in the comforting words of Ralph Waldo Emerson:

"Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. What if they are a little course, and you may get your coat soiled or torn? What if you do fail, and get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice. Up again, you shall never be so afraid of a tumble."

Keep Taking Risks Anyway

We all have to take risks sometime or another. Some are forced upon us by circumstance, and others are born through gut instinct. But what about choosing to take risks that we know will yield mixed results or allow self-doubt to creep in? What if we know that 1 in 10 people will always be a disagreeable Diana? Should we stop opening new doors just because what we find inside is not always favorable? I don't think so.

In fact, I encourage "us" to push through anyway and not shrink back in letting ourselves shine. Overcoming adversity helps us to grow and makes us stronger people. Most importantly, being authentic and true to ourselves — whether or not others embrace us is the finest gift we can give to ourselves.

It's true: We can't please everyone. But then again, we really don't have to, nor should that be our aim. As long as we have tender parts, they will be poked. And they will heal. Our creativity is too expansive, to precious, too important for our well-being not to share, delight, and inspire others with. Find your voice and let it sing! •

© Chris Dunmire 2004, 2009. All rights reserved.

About Chris Dunmire

Chris is a deeply engaged creative spirit, lover of wit, words, and wisdom, and the driving force behind the award-winning Creativity Portal® Web site. [...]

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