A Creative Death is the Antidote for a Practical Life

New ideas are inherently impractical. We cannot change the world by doing what has already been done.

‘The Octopus’ by Ana

Practicality is conforming to the status quo. It is not rocking the boat. It is following the well-worn path and not risking a detour that may lead to a dead end. It is low risk with low yield, over a long period of time. Practicality is the avoidance of failure and the result is the dull pain of a slow, quiet death.

Creativity is the opposite of practicality. Creativity is the embracing of failure, not safety, because the more creative work a person does, the more he or she will fail, but failure is fuel for the creative process. Failure forces the creative person to problem-solve in new, unusual ways. Creative work is rewarded by embracing failure, not by avoiding it because failure is the incentive to do more, better creative work until the problem is no longer a problem.

Creativity requires us to constantly take risks. It requires us to put ourselves on the line, to risk our ideas, our lives, and our status. It requires us to live and die over and over again each day, with no promise for any payoff except that, through our work, we get to live again and die again tomorrow. Creativity is the act of risking it all and living out loud, even if it kills us because a thousand little creative deaths are better by far than a long life of practicality and regret.

“As in life, so too it is in budo. As in budo, so too it is in life.”

-Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

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