Yes, that is correct... right in the middle of the word discouraged you find the word courage. I know this sounds like a middle school coach slogan in the midst of a soccer tournament or a poster you might see in a dentist's office, but I think it is still important to pay attention to root words.
Living a creative life can be exhilarating, exciting and can bring a great deal of joy into your life.
But there is a flip side to every coin.
It can also lead to moments of self-doubt or times of discouragement. If you are trying to go pro with your creativity it can sometimes be incredibly discouraging or daunting, sometimes even seemingly hopeless. I know these are not the bright words of encouragement you were hoping for, but being realistic about this stuff is important. If you are prepared, you wont be surprised when those discouraged feelings hit you.
I deal with this stuff on a regular basis. Sometimes I get a rejection letter or something doesn't go well in the studio and other times I get surprise e-mails out of nowhere asking me to be a part of a creative project that is just perfect for me! These are the waves that hit ya when you are delving into you creativity.
Some of the biggest waves of self-doubt and discouragement will come from the inside though. Inside of your head and your heart the fears well up and crash over you sometimes. Don't let them totally knock you down. If they do, get back up again. Heros in movies are not heros because they face completely easy tasks. They are heros because they face challenging, difficult and seemingly impossible tasks. That is why we root for them.
They stand on the edge of a canyon where a bridge is quickly disappearing, look down and realize that the situation is not good. They look behind them and see that they are being closed in on by the very guys they are trying to escape. They weigh their options, get a running start and jump!
When we watch movies like this, our hearts skip a beat as we watch these brave and courageous heros take that leap, wondering if they will make it and hoping they will! In the face of discouragement, they find courage. They take the leap.
When I am feeling discouraged in my creative practice, I remember Indiana Jones. It's true. Though it is just me and my easel, certainly not death defying, in my head and my heart are the heroic leaps that need to be made. Leaps over fearful canyons of my own self-doubt. Taking the leap is the key. The fears and discouraged feelings win if we just sit back and do nothing.
'What would you rather have', I ask myself, 'More art or more fear?'
When I think about it like that, it makes more sense to me. Having more fear and nurturing my fears and self-doubt, will lead to a life with probably more fears and self-doubts and less of the stuff that I do want to nurture... like my art!
So, when feeling discouraged, remember the root word, courage.
Remember Indiana Jones and "Choose wisely."
Take the leap.
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