Life is known to flow more powerfully when there is uncertainty and it is then when creativity surfaces - then when there is a sense of loss of control over our lives and we let things flow and be.
It is through a series of synchronicities that I decided to write this blog on the unlikely connection between uncertainty and creativity - a daily morning quote landed in my inbox which read “Transformation happens in Uncertainty”. The main gist of the book that I am currently reading says “when facing the unknown one cannot rely on known techniques and responses”; the theme for the next Science and Non-duality conference is “On the Edge of the (Un)known.”
The last human voice on the late night South African FM radio gleefully said, “Do not be afraid to come of your comfort zones and throw yourself into the unknown…which is much more fun and exciting…” This young celebrity and successful entrepreneur on the radio definitely did not speak like Generation Entitled- instead she spoke with the truthful assertion of a sage and the zeal of Richard Branson.
Then there is Generation Comfort Zone co-existing with them and clinging on to their dear lives - one wrong move and they will in all likelihood slip into oblivion. But Generation Comfort Zone was born at a time when achieving material certainty in all countenances of our lives was what guaranteed to cut us out from the rest. We were told that there is only one way to achieve this material certainty – combine very little of your brain power with rote learning at school and follow the rules and Voila! You are an achiever! School never taught any of us life skills – trust, compassion and gratitude.
People cling to certainty out of fear – the fear of an unknown future that is filled with uncertainties and is not guaranteed. Someone once said to me, “Oh! I do not know what is going to happen to me if I quit my boring job”. It takes a lot of courage to quit that job and start living the life you always dreamt of.
One has to throw caution to the wind at some point - to start that travel around the world or the bakery or open the homemade ice-cream shop or the yoga studio or pursue that idea that had been stalking your mind all these years but you never dared exploring.
Most people are afraid to explore and leave their comfort-zones. People are too afraid to make mistakes and therefore never ever take chances.
The uncertainty of life or the unknown of the future has no form and definition and shape. To the human mind who wants to be in control over their lives all the time - this undefinable fluid state of a future is scariest.
It is often after unexpected setbacks and misfortunes such as a heartbreak or the loss of a loved one or a divorce – people come alive and are awakened. The circumstances which defined the comfort zone of their earlier lives dissolve and they become awakened to the limitations of their lives - and in that 'dissolved' state they would have glimpsed the most stupendous potential of living life with uncertainty. A deep realisation of the loss of sense of control over their lives sets in while until then they would have scrupulously led themselves to believe that they had every possible control over their own lives. It is no wonder that when people lose sense of control of their lives, momentarily or even for an extended time, they become most creative, inspiring and inventive – inspired to write brilliant poems, songs and paint, sing and whatnot.
A professor I worked with in India, Prof Anil Gupta, the grassroots innovation guru, said to me that over the years he observed that people who lived under uncertain conditions, their existence threatened on a daily basis (such as war or strife-stricken regions), were the most creative and inventive people – they would often devise ingenious ways to cope and survive the extreme uncertain conditions.
It is only in the undefinable and the uncertain state where life can be found. For as we come alive we are awakened to the restrictions and conditions we long believed to be true and had long enslaved ourselves with limited beliefs and thoughts.
Such an uncertain or unknown state is limitless in the extent to what we can explore in life and what we could shape according to our desires and wishes. Our creativity can only be nurtured in an infinite space without boundaries, structures and definitions.
Only fear stifles creativity. It stops us from exploring the possibilities and the limitlessness of our true potential and what we can all achieve as creative human beings. Eckhart Tolle writes, to embrace the uncertainty of life, to live with it and begin to love it, has another interesting effect in terms of creativity. Creativity is stifled by excessive security. If you look at the lives of history’s great artists and writers, most of them didn’t have secure income; and survival was uncertain. But that’s when creativity arises and when awakening becomes possible.
Consenting with the celebrity on the radio and the various inspirational thinkers such as Eckhart Tolle– there is indeed something incredibly exciting about living with uncertainty and the unknown. As you flow into your future and let go of all sense of control over your lives – you play and create life as you go about.
When there is no fear and you allow and go with the flow of life as it unfolds - it is then when you would begin to live life with grace and creativity will abound.