This I Believe

Scott - Provo, Utah
Entered on December 20, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: creativity

I believe in creativity balanced with discipline. Some people are born with more innate creativity, others with more discipline; I am all creative and no discipline. I think the trick is to balance the two, because only with a good balance can truly great things be achieved. For someone like me, however, that’s much easier said than done.

As a little kid I was kind of off in my own little world. I was as smart as any other child, but things like math homework and physiology just didn’t engage me. I doodled and daydreamed in class, wrote fiction while I was supposed to be working, and devoted inordinate amounts of time and thought to characters, stories, and worlds that only exist in fantasy. Many great authors and artists have described the same habits, which gives me hope, but here’s the problem: they put in the necessary effort over a sustained period of time to make good on their dreams, and I have yet to do that. All of the novels I set out to write are still sitting at two pages. In fact, I’ve never written anything longer than twelve pages, and after all these years my drawings still look like the work of a ten-year-old.

There came a point after high school when I realized that if I’m going to turn my unfocused creativity and daydreaming into something more tangible than the vague realm of my imagination, it’s going to take some work, some persistence, and some discipline. Sometimes my self-defeating lack of discipline is pretty disheartening. For example, if I get this essay to the point where I actually submit it without losing interest, it will be a first. The more I grow and learn, however, the more easily discipline comes to me. It sounds obvious that we all grow more disciplined as we mature, but until recently that didn’t actually seem very likely to me, especially when I think of all the forty-five-year-old teenagers I’ve met, college professors who frequently indulge various addictions, and parents in their thirties who still consider themselves skater punks.

I’ve come to realize that we can’t all be fifteen-year-old prodigies, however nice and convenient that sounds. But as time passes I get nearer and nearer to my goals. Now that my thoughts about the value of discipline in augmenting and enabling creativity have been consolidated and made a part of me, anything can happen, so keep an eye out for my name in the bestseller lists.