Friday, February 26, 2010

Pick a fight

Twyla Tharp's book, The Creative Habit - Learn it and Use it for Life is one of the best books on creativity/art I've ever read. Her persistent and courageous approach to life and art is motivating. She presents her ideas in each chapter and follows them with several exercises. One exercise that has stuck with me is ....

Pick a Fight
Too much planning implies you've got it all under control. That's boring, unrealistic, and dangerous. It lulls you into a complacency that removes one of the artist's most valuable conditions: being pissed. Art is competitive with yourself, with the past, with the future. It is a special war zone where first you make the rules, and then you test the consequences.

Creativity is an act of defiance. You're challenging the status quo. You're questioning accepted truths and principles. You're asking three universal questions that mock conventional wisdom:

1. Why do I have to obey the rules?
2. Why can't I be different?
3. Why can't I do it my way?

She goes on to suggest.... When you set up to work, pick a fight with your rituals.... When you get down to work, pick a fight with your first impluse that day. Do the opposite of what your brain is telling you to do.


Some of the most brilliant artists picked fights with conventions and rules of their time.

Can growth happen without a fight?

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