How to Be Creative in a Mad World: Doubting

If you are creative then you’re paying attention to the world around you and exploring your inner world looking for inspiration and passion. But the more you look, the more you will doubt.

You can’t take anything at face value. You must penetrate the surface of life to find the truth. Like a good scientist, doubt is essential for intellectual rigour. You can’t test your ideas without it.

An inability or refusal to doubt will lead to gullibility and fanaticism. Your friends will look at you askance and it’ll cripple your ability to be creative. But doubt is scary. It undermines your sense of security. How are you supposed to do anything if the ground beneath your feet keeps lurching?

The ability to live with doubt and uncertainty is a sign of mental health: what Keats called ‘negative capability’. You may not know exactly what to do, you may not have all the facts, and the facts you do have keep changing. The outcome of whatever you do may be unknowable, but still you must act. You must do something.

Doubt isn’t the problem. Not knowing isn’t the problem. It’s not possible to know everything about any given situation. You will always not know something. Trouble is, you don’t know what it is.

You must act despite your doubt. You must create despite your doubt. There is no other way.

How do you deal with your doubts? Share your misgivings below…

Next time: Committing

>Read the rest of the series here

>More on doubt: Sceptical Mysticism

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