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Is Perfectionism the Opposite of Creativity?

Updated: Jun 18

Sometimes creativity is stumped by my perfectionism, is there a realistic balance between my creative thoughts and my sometimes irrational expectations for myself?

Welcome friends to blog #2! I'm quickly learning that writing a blog is a lot more work than I would have ever anticipated. When I have downtime I rarely want to spend it alone and writing what I hope to be helpful or at least humorous content if nothing else. Sharing personal stories, personal insight that I found to be helpful and am hoping it is helpful for someone else. Don't get me wrong, I love to write, its always been one of my MANY passions. Blogging is just me learning how to not ramble like I'm trying to meet a word count for a discussion board, but actually sharing meaningful thoughts. Finding the balance between cliche and impactful, the balance between wordy and moving. So enjoy todays blog where I'm going to attempt to delve deeper into the world of creative outputs and how our society, whether inner circle or global influence, effects our ability to create.





Understanding the difference between "Creativity" and "Perfectionism"


Before we dive deeper into my personal opinion I want to share just a few of my favorite definitions I found on creativity and perfectionism. In writing these blogs I understand that not everyone will be on the same page and I would love for anyone to voice their thoughts, share their take on this topic, and add to the conversation.


Creativity

  • Starting with nothing and ending up with something. Interpreting something you saw or experienced and processing it so it comes out different than how it went in. – Henry Rollins

  • Giving the world something it didn’t know it was missing. – Daniel Pink

  • Living in possibility and abundance rather than limitation and scarcity. – CJ Lyons

  • -Creativity brings good things in the world that otherwise would not exist. It’s a noble act of pushing back darkness and giving hope to despair. – Jeff Goins

Perfectionism

  • Perfectionism is often defined as the need to be or appear to be perfect, or even to believe that it’s possible to achieve perfection. – Brené Brown

  • Perfectionism is a trait that makes life an endless report card on accomplishments or looks. A fast and enduring track to unhappiness...What makes perfectionism so toxic is that while those in its grip desire success, they are most focused on avoiding failure. – Psychology Today


The age of social media has completely changed the access and ease of sharing creativity. Coming back to the definition by CJ Lyons, we live in a world where our creativity has the ability to create abundance, to inspire change and to remove limitations. Social media, even for me personally, is a great way to share photography, artwork, illustrations/graphic design, poems, quotes, journaling, music, and other creative outlets. This is a two edged sword. There will, and will always be someone to compare yourself to which begins the "need" for perfectionism. I think as a creator it's extremely important to find the balance between striving for perfectionism and striving for excellence. Sonia Simone says it best...


“Just making something. It might be something crummy or awkward or not ready for prime time. If you make something, you are creative.” –Sonia Simone


We ALL are creative, but NO ONE is perfect!


When looking at other people's work I think I have found that I have to change my mindset from the focus of jealousy, to a focus of excitement. When we see someone who is farther along in their creative journeys we need to see the excitement and passion that they have, and need to share that excitement for our own work. The only difference between that person and you, is YOU! What is often missed about creating is that it is a forever learning process. That's why its called creativity, if there was only one way to do something it would be boring, it would make your love and your passion something that is achievable by everyone. For me photography is so much more than taking a picture, and if you follow along with my instagram (https://www.instagram.com/michael.marhefka/) you will see that my passion is not the tech behind the camera, but it's the person behind the smiling face.


Perfection, simply put, is unachievable. However, the pursuit of excellence is. In everyone's life whether you consider yourself creative or not, no matter what you are passionate about, it's important to look for how you can be fully committed. How can you put your entire self into your job, your family, friends, creative projects, schoolwork, etc.? Perfection is not a reasonable expectation of yourself or anyone else, when you see a person on social media you are seeing their pursuit of excellence not their achievement of perfection. When we see someone we wish we could become, we are not looking for the right things. When we look to someone else to fulfill our desires to be successful we are looking from a place of jealousy. I often find myself in this place of wishing I had taken that photograph, traveled to that place, eaten that food, or owned that outfit. Instead of coming from a place of jealousy I should come from a place of excitement that all those things are achievable. The things we crave in life are attainable through our pursuit of them, not our envy of them.


So my encouragement to you would be to create, FOR YOU. My photography professor told us when we first walked in the door that if we had intentions of sucking up to him, if we had intentions to create content to please him then we would fail his class. This may seem harsh but he went on to say that he wanted us to look at what matters to us and not steal what matters to someone else.


I think the best way to end this is to re-quote Jeff Goins, "Creativity brings good things into the world that would not otherwise exist". Our ability to create, to pursue excellence is a gift. It's a gift that if used correctly can bless people around you. What I'm constantly learning from my photography is that when I create, I'm happy, when I share my creativity, others share in that happiness, and ultimately what else can I ask for?



More about me:


I'm a photography major at Kent State

Still love music (check out my January playlist)

https://music.apple.com/us/playlist/january/pl.u-b3b8Rx8hkKPJoe

Dad joke of the week-

Did you know the first French fries weren't actually cooked in France? They were cooked in Greece.



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© 2019 BY MICHAEL MARHEFKA