First, let me just clarify: creative people are not really crazies. Of course not. But when you look at these visionary people, the ones with the drive, the unstoppable energy, the thirst for challenge, the need to be different… Well, when you look at them up next to the rest of the world, they do look.. a little… bit.. crazy.
I like crazy.
But what you don’t want to do is ‘go crazy’ trying to support the crazies in your life. Even if you are already a little bit crazy. Because it’s one thing to be a little crazed because of your unique creative inner self, and it’s another entirely to go crazy because the going/doing/scheming/dreaming/unpredictability/sensitivity/burn of someone else sent you there.
The first kind of crazy is weird but good. The second kind of crazy is not good for anyone. It’s reactionary, it builds resentment, it squashes your own creativity, and it dries up your passion.
Not what you want.
What you want is to be able to maintain whatever kind of stability you need while also allowing this person in your life the freedom they need. Pursuing both stability and freedom means that you’re going to encounter some conflict. But stability and freedom are not sworn enemies. They’re just different beasties who need to learn how to get along.
Let’s start with two ground rules.
1. The fact that someone in your life is a creative person to the hilt does not diminish YOUR creativity, which may be more subtle, more stable, less identifiable as creativity. But creativity looks different in each one of us. Don’t despise, demean, or diminish yourself just because you don’t look as crazy-creative as the crazy creative person you love.
2. Supporting a creative person does NOT mean you have to love all their ideas/projects/art/products/visions or agree with all (or any) of their philosophies, experiments, personal stands, or counter-culture displays. You can love and support a creative person without agreeing with or even liking what they do.
When you want security, but you get crazy
Most people in the world – even the edgy ones – want security. You want to know what to expect. You want to have some familiarity, some repetition, some routine. You want to know you’ll have a job, money in the bank, clothes to wear, food, friends, a strong relationship, love, warmth, a future that doesn’t involve begging on street corners.
Creative people want this too. Even the craziest. But it’s not their highest desire.
Their highest (or deepest, however you want to look at it) desire is to express that inward creative drive, to conquer, to channel the creative energy they can’t stop into something different and challenging and amazing and mind-boggling and just plain AWESOME. They NEED to do stuff that expresses, challenges, and excites them. And they CRAVE affirmation from others that what they are doing is different, amazing, mind-blogging, awesome, exciting, worthwhile.
That need for expression and deep desire for affirmation is, for the crazy-creatives, a higher need than the need for security.
Which is why your spouse will walk in and say, “I want to put our life savings into this amazing new invention that I’ve just come up with. Isn’t that great?”
Or your child will call you up and say, “I’ve just dropped out of college to live in this haunted house, raise badgers, and write the next Great American Novel. Aren’t you proud of me?”
Or your best friend will drop by and say, “Do you want to invest in this business I’ve just started, even though the last five ventures I’ve had failed miserably?”
And you look at them and think: You are crazy. What are you thinking. Why are you even asking me this? OF COURSE NOT.
- you, my friend, value security above creativity/adventure. That’s not wrong, it’s just who you are…
- and they value creativity/adventure above security. Also not wrong, just who they are.
When they hit you up with one of those ideas that obviously places security waaaaay down low, and creativity waaaaaaay up high, there’s bound to be conflict.
Next up: how to handle the conflict without crushing the creativity and also without blowing your life savings.