5 Fears that Paralyze (According to Twyla Tharp)

Your mind is your greatest asset and also your most dangerous enemy.

I am a firm believer that you are the only thing that stands in the way of living your passions.  A few years ago, I read The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp.  Mrs. Tharp is a renown dancer and choreographer, having had decades of success.  She’s performed, created her own company, and had multiple shows run on Broadway.  She is what some would call a creative powerhouse.

I first read The Creative Mind in college, while taking a creative dance class.  I thought the class would be fun and an easy A (if I’m being honest).

However, I was very excited to see how this required reading was so applicable to writing, and all other creative outlets.  Tharp pinpoints some of the core fears that can cripple any person from chasing their dreams.  I react to each fear and give Tharp’s views as well.

1. People will laugh at me

Me: To this I say, probably.  No one likes to think that people will view their creative product and reject it, or just find it plain comical.  Yes, people may laugh and yes people may boo.  Perhaps their jealous of your initiative.  Maybe, your product isn’t where it needs to be.  But, you’re already miles ahead of where you were.  No matter how good your product is, you will never please everyone.

Tharp: “Not the people I respect; they haven’t yet, and they’re not going to start now….”

2. Someone has done it before

Me: If you’ve taken an idea and put your heart and soul into it, then it’s already original.  No person on this planet is exactly like you.  You are a unique snowflake.  You have a unique perspective.  Draw deep and wide for your inspiration.  Let others draw the parallels.


You stay hustling.  That being said, you are a product of your experiences, culture, readings, films etc.  You have been molded by others, but that doesn’t mean it’s not your turn to become the sculptor.

Tharp: “Honey, it’s all been done before. Nothing’s original. Not Homer or Shakespeare and certainly not you. Get over yourself.”

3. I have nothing to say

Me: If you didn’t have anything to say, then you wouldn’t have that burning desire in your heart.  That persistent itch would fade into oblivion without a fight…

Twyla: “An irrelevant fear. We all have something to say.”

4. I will upset someone I love

Me:  This isn’t one that has ever troubled me.  I have worried that those I love won’t understand or appreciate my desire to write and tell stories.  In all honesty, this is something I have yet to fully explore as I am young and largely inexperienced.

Tharp. “A serious worry that is not easily exorcised or stared down because you never know how loved ones will respond to your creation. The best you can do is remind yourself that you’re a good person with good intentions. You’re trying to create unity, not discord. ”

5. Once executed, the idea will never be as good as it is in my mind

Me: You can’t be a perfectionist when it comes to the creative spirit.  This work is like trying to catch smoke in a bottle.  I love this quote from Pierce Brown, author of the Red Rising trilogy.

“Everything grand is made from a series of ugly little moments.  Everything worthwhile by hours of self-doubt and days of drudgery.  All the works by people you and I admire sit atop a foundation of failures. So whatever your project, whatever your struggle, whatever your dream, keep toiling, because the world needs your skyscraper.” –Pierce Brown

Unknown.jpegTwo architecture metaphors in a row?  Coincidence or destiny?

Twyla: “Toughen up. Leon Battista Alberti, the 15th century architectural theorist, said, ‘Errors accumulate in the sketch and compound in the model.’ But better an imperfect dome in Florence than cathedrals in the clouds.”

Your Turn:

What fears paralyze you?  How do you manage those fears? Comment below!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s