An Essential Part of Creativity

Christian Wallpaper
Photo of abstract, vibrant colors pooling together with the quote: “An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail.”—Edwin H. Land, LIFE Magazine (27 October 1972)
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“An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail.”—Edwin H. Land, LIFE Magazine (27 October 1972)

Original piece by Daniel Olah on Unsplash.

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Reflection

Edwin H. Land founded Polaroid, so I thought it apt to blend it with this beautiful photo by Daniel Olah that shows colors across the entire visible spectrum of light.

Whenever I get to know someone better, there always comes a point where I see in them a deep desire to be creative. I believe creativity has a place in every occupation, it just takes on different forms. It does seems to be more encouraged in some lines of work than in others. Edwin had an insightful comment on the matter, and was likely an experience that he began to have as Polaroid rocketed up in popularity:

“Scientists made a great invention by calling their activities hypotheses and experiments. They made it permissible to fail repeatedly until in the end they got the results they wanted. In politics or government, if you made a hypothesis and it didn’t work out, you had your head cut off.”—Edwin H. Land, “A Genius and His Magic Camera,” LIFE magazine (27 October 1972)

When I create or take charge on anything, be it art on this site or a project at work, I try to strike a balance between implementing the feedback from others and driving what the Holy Spirit led me to do in the first place. The individual could truly be speaking words that come from the good in their soul and they want to elevate the work. That is truly possible because, in my own weakness and pride, I may have taken it along a path that wasn’t in true alignment with God’s will.

On the other hand, someone could be trying to tear it down because their comment isn’t rooted the good in them. Maybe they don’t like me, God, or my message, or they just have some personal pain they want to pour on me.

So, something that always helps me when discerning criticism is asking why. “May I ask why do you feel that way?”

If someone gives me feedback, I need to understand where it’s coming from within them. It could be legitimate or just hot air. What I try to determine is:

  • Is it coming from virtue or vice? Do they earnestly believe in the message of my art and want to see it touch hearts? Or are they envious or dislike my mission?
  • What specifically do you like/dislike and why? Whether they like it or not, ask them why. If they don’t like it but can’t answer why, it’s a red flag. For example:
    • “Your wallpaper is ugly” isn’t helpful.
    • “The bottom half of the quote is hard for me to read because it looks like it blends in with the background color. Consider adding a shadow around your text or changing the text color” is way more helpful.

Similarly, when I give someone feedback, I strive to:

  • Be charitable/loving about it—this is the core of Christian living: Love God, and love your neighbors as you love yourself. I have failed at this before and it never goes over well. Love is king.
  • Be honest—but still, be kind about it. Honesty is delivered best when wrapped in love.
  • Be specific—tell them what you like and why, so they know to do more of that. Also, tell them what you think could be an improvement and why.

We should all help each other strive to be creatives for the good of the world. Society disagrees on many things these days, but I believe everyone can identify with and strive to do this: provide feedback when prompted, and be honest, charitable, and respectful about it. Every human deserves that.

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