Articles

4 horsemen of creative apocalypse

By Derek Zboran

I have succeeded in many creative projects.

And I have also failed to bring my ideas to life.

For over ten years I have struggled with manifesting my creative potential.

Steven Pressfield calls this “resistance.”

For me, “resistance” hits hardest in four ways. Different situations. Different times. But these four themes are consistent forms of inner sabotage.

Here is a quick summary:

Procrastination. You intend to do something, but do not implement your intention. Maybe distractions tempt you away from what matters. Or life seems to get in the way. If “life getting in the way” becomes a habit, you live a life where your potential goes inactivated. As I type this, a beautiful electric guitar is quietly staring at me, dusty, begging me to come play with her…

Anxiety. You spend time wrapped up in your memory’s recollection of the past, or in predictions and possibilities of the future. It is important that your mind has the ability to flag dangers and inform best courses of action. But harmful anxiety can cripple the focus of the mind, sour intentions, and take you away from engaging the present.

Imposter Syndrome. This is what happens when you feel insecure in the doing. This tempts me before every speech. Ever go to one of my speeches? Does not matter if there are two people or sixty people in the audience. My face is smiling, but inside I’ve probably stressed-out for days about whether or not I am good enough to be delivering the talk.

Perfectionism. Related to imposter syndrome. This is what happens when you feel insecure with results achieved. Recent examples: I wish I could write better so that my novel would be like Hemingway’s prose. I wish my voice sounded better so that I could make podcasts like Jon Acuff. I wish my guitar sounded like Jimi Hendrix when I touched the strings. Whereas imposter syndrome is dissatisfaction with doing, perfectionism is about dissatisfaction with the results of doing.

And what do all these horsemen boil down to?

Fear.