The three most important truths for creatives: Part 2
This is part 2 of a 3-part series on the three most important truths for creatives. To read the first part, click here.
Part 2: Believe
Most likely you can relate to me when I say that there are times I struggle to believe in my own work.
It is precisely this unbelief that leaves many works of art in the drawer (or deep in our digital files).
It is belief that causes them to live and to be shared with others. Without it, we throw things in the trash and listen to the voices that tell us to stop. “No one will listen. No one cares.” After awhile, these voices become our own. We may have done the work well, but even good work that isn’t believed in will die. There needs to be someone who gives it life by standing up.
Unbelief is death, belief is life.
At the dinner table, you tell stories. Stories about your day, a funny remark you heard, something that happened in class, and so on. When I was younger, I admired people who could smoothly tell their stories with a perfect punch line that made everybody laugh. I wanted to do the same. So I would give it a go.
But it would all come out wrong. I would drag on too long and get stuck in the details. Sometimes I didn’t have a punch line, and other times, I’d mess up the punch line I prepared. Unfortunately with stories, there’s no, “Let me try to tell that again.” Everyone gets one take.
Sometimes—and this still makes me cringe—I was most of the way through the story, and then I forgot how the rest of it went. “Hold on, give me a minute,” I said. “I know I can remember.” And then a little later, “Sorry, I forgot the rest of the story.”
Or possibly worse, I would tell the complete story but there would arguably be no point to it. No exciting facts or realizations. No change in the hearts of the audience. No one was moved from point A to B. I hadn’t inspired, taught, or challenged. I told a story that ran flat. And to top it off, I’d often use words that were slightly off in meaning from what I was trying to say (I still do sometimes).
In all of this I started to develop a belief about myself. A couple of beliefs, actually: that I can’t tell a good story and that I don’t use the right words. And like you do with beliefs, I started to live like they were true. I avoided situations where people wanted me to share a story. I kept my writing secret because I didn’t want to embarrass myself.
Unbelief is death…belief is life.
There are projects and ideas and dreams you and I have shelved because of unbelief. Today is when you should take those off the shelf, resume, and fight with the truth that shatters lies.