Respecting the Fine Line Between Creativity and Fiction
Fiction is the domain of novels and screenplays, but it has a way of slipping into other creative pursuits, like planning entrepreneurial endeavors and evaluating our businesses, as well as planning and evaluating our lives.
The reason for this potential slippage — which can cause us to put less than solidly-factual and rational foundations under what we build — is probably partly neurological. We human beings are moved by the energy that fiction can kindle. Creative, but reality-based imagination probably requires the activation of nerve centers in the brain that flirt with those that generate pure make-believe.
Remember back to when we were kids and used to play at being princes and princesses? We didn’t need lots of rehearsals to “memorize our lines.” We came up with them on the fly. It was easy to slip the bindings of our life stories and playact with abandon. That’s a strength we have as human beings — and it is a potential weakness.
In the realm of creating fiction we are free to take big leaps toward our dreams and to imagine meeting our goals without the intrusion of realities that would slow us down or weigh us down. There is a dashed line that connects the notion of raising large sums of capital for a limited idea and morphing into a superhero and winning the day, against all the odds. Our minds are capable of suspending disbelief and being recruited into illusions that make us feel magical.
In the realm of imagination that serves the creation of non-fiction — like a real business or real preparation for a career — there are realities that must be respected. There are hurdles that — properly — weigh down those huge leaps we can take toward imagining the fulfillment of our dreams. There are troubling details that make us check our compelling ideas to make sure they are worthy ideas.
This is why working on oneSELF is so important to the creation of an inspiring non-fiction project, of any kind. Because the creator must be as expansive in his or her thinking as possible, yet as invulnerable as possible to slipping into fantasy. We can never get lost in a “role” and lose ourSELVES. True and strong foundations must be built, even for very moving projects. And here’s the key: If the creator has developed a habit of avoiding the painful paragraphs or pages or chapters in his or her own life story then he or she will be more prone to avoiding the painful, often solvable problems with whatever they plan.
The strongest leaders of creative projects have powerful imaginations, yet remain grounded. They aren’t people who have been trained to avoid the tough realities of their own narratives or the non-fiction versions of their projects. They aren’t seeking to escape reality; they are seeking to improve it.
To solve problems, they must be seen. That’s why the imaginative, non-fiction thinker and doer in business (or in any endeavor) is a transformational thinker, not a Transformer of the fictional, superhero variety.
Dr. Keith Ablow