In our last post, we talked about Steve Martin and the usefulness of being delusional while chasing our dreams. It’s equally important, however, to never become blind to reality.
Richard Feynman was a Nobel prize winning physicist who developed quantum mechanics, worked with Einstein, and experimented with just about everything under the sun. His wonderful book, Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman: Adventures of a Curious Character is a testament to what it means to live a creativity-fueled life.
One of my favorite quotes comes from Feynman: “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest to fool.”
We all smoke our own crack sometimes. And more than ever, it’s easier to embrace facts that support what we already believe, or want to believe. Our past experiences, personal biases, and old patterns for seeing the world affect our instincts and often lead us away from the truth.
As we chase our dreams and, as Steve Martin says, “charge ourselves up with delusions,” we must still maintain the ability to zoom out and look at our work objectively.
Are you so close to your work that you’re no longer able to see the flaws in it? Is what you’re working towards actually important? Or does it feel important because you’ve been fixated on it for so long?
As we soak and spin in our personal whirlpools of genius, we have to remember that our brains are wired to make us the hero of our own story. And it’s easy to fool ourselves into thinking that whatever has our attention must be important.
To live a creative life of freedom, we need to be the ones to recognize if our delusions of grandeur are propelling us forward, or if we’re just smoking our own crack.