The second day of each month in the Hellenic calendar is sacred to the agathos daimon, our benevolent personal guardian and companion spirit, similar to the Roman genius, ensuring good luck, health and wisdom. It is customary to pour a few drops of wine libation to honor your agathos daimon, who in all likelihood is an important guide on your own creative journey.
As we examine how we derail ourselves mid-creation by the compulsive need to analyze and perfect, we may begin to understand that this desire for perfection is rooted in fear. It is a distraction that has more to do with our need to feel in control than our desire for a beautiful, satisfying creation. Perfectionism removes us from participating in the act of creating. Instead, we stand apart from our art, finding fault. It is, in short, a subtle form of abusing our inner artist and blocking our cooperation with Creator.
“The success of a creative recovery,” Julia writes, “hinges on our ability to move out of the head and into action. This brings us squarely to risk. Most of us are practiced at talking ourselves out of risk. We are skilled speculators on the probable pain of self-exposure.
“‘I’ll look like an idiot,’ we say, conjuring images of our first acting class, our first hobbled short story, our terrible drawings. Part of the game here is lining up the masters and measuring our baby steps against their perfected craft. We don’t compare our student films to George Lucas’s student films. Instead we compare them to Star Wars.
“We deny that in order to do something well we must first be willing to do it badly. Instead we opt for setting our limits to the point where we feel assured of success. Living within these bounds, we may feel stifled, smothered, despairing, bored. But, yes, we do feel safe. And safety is a very expensive illusion.”
Even for those of us who are living a very creative life, this turns up time and again when we stick with what we know, the proven commodity that everyone likes and knows us for. We’ve all witnessed how unforgiving the world can be when someone tries to expand outside of their niche. Especially if they are not superstars in the new endeavors. Just think about the response that Michael Jordan got when he tried to leave basketball and try his hand in baseball.
Here’s the thing: he did not fail, did he? No, he did not shatter world records in baseball. But in every interview I remember from that period, he was joyful. You could see he was learning and challenging himself. He was exhilarated because he was living in harmony with his own authenticity, not the expectations of the public.
Risky? Yes. But absolutely necessary, because Michael Jordan has the spirit of a true champion. And so do you.