“Creativity,” Robert Greene once wrote, “is a combination of discipline and a childlike spirit.”
It’s also about the ability to let go and start again, and again, and again.
I re-read Anne Lamott’s thoughts on repentance, writing, and graceless perfectionism recently. As I’ve reminded myself, learning requires room for error, but the drive toward perfectionism makes both failure and learning hostile strangers rather than benevolent friends who add to our lives and help us to improve.
If I took all my first drafts as a referendum on my value as a human being, I would never grow! That goes for my first drafts in life as much as it goes for the first drafts of my writing.
“My pastor said last Sunday that if you don’t change directions you are going to end up where you’re headed,” Lamott explained. “Repent just means to change direction… Repentance is a blessing. Pick a new direction, one you wouldn’t mind ending up at, and aim for that.”
What a relief not to have to be stuck in a groove simply because it’s where we’ve always rested. How fortunate are we to be able to choose and choose again.
I won’t lie: it’s risky business.
But if we aren’t up for the risk of not just living but also living well, with awareness and intention and the ability to laugh as we learn, then every day will be toil and every new experience a fight.