4 Pains Of Creativity

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Innovation & Creativity can be very painful processes. If there was not a pain or a cost to being creative, everyone would do it…so, the cost has to be substantial enough to find those who are committed to excelling at their daily art. Max McKeown is an author and innovator. In his new book, Truth About Innovation, McKeown talks about the 4 pains of a new idea.

  • People Pain – Most people do not like change. Change bothers people and causes friction. When most people are confronted with friction, they choose to avoid it and attempt to find a path with least resistance. Creativity & Innovation require us to embrace friction and do the hard work to bring our ideas to life. This is especially true in our churches – where we have so many sacred cows in our organizations. People will FIGHT for their sacred cows. And the truth is: a lot of times, new ideas fail. When they do, we lose equity with the people in our organizations. We have to make sure we are strategic as to when we cause friction and pain on the people within our organizations so we have the privilege of the pressure to succeed.
  • Necessary Pain – McKeown has been quoted as saying “Innovation is a gamble”. When we are attempting to further creativity and innovation in our organizations, we are forced to face the gamble of pain. McKeown went on to explain how a lot of times the biggest pain is found in hard work. “Innovators put the effort in to achieve greatness and are willing go beyond existing knowledge at the risk of failure and humiliation.” It takes a hustler’s mentality to be willing to do the work to make our ideas succeed.
  • Industry Pain – This could be the most painful for our churches and organizations. Industry pain is the unwillingness to continually develop, embrace, and adapt to technology. Everyday technology makes the playing field more even for creative people. What we can create now on a laptop and a phone used to take a crew, film, and tens of thousands of dollars. Creativity used to exist for the rich and elite, but now, kids in the hood – kids with amazing creativity – get to express it because creativity is attainable. Industry pain is the fear of growth and development and the refusal to embrace where the world is going…fast.
  • Unnecessary Pain – We need to know when enough is enough. As creative people, our tendency is to continually push the boundaries and ignore the limits. Sometime,s the cost is not worth the result. We have to be in tune with our surroundings, our teammates, and our instincts to know when we have reached this threshold and the right time to say ‘enough is enough.’ Don’t allow this to become an excuse. Cast vision passionately and be willing to fight for your ideas. Just know which ideas are worth dying for and which can be refined to see another day.

As you create in your church or organization, pay attention to your pains. Know them and be willing to confront them. Your pain can make you better.

4 comments Add yours
  1. One of my fave scriptures is the Proverbs 27:17 – “As iron sharpens iron, one man sharpens another.” I’ve learned to embrace the pain and conflict because I know that the heat and friction from it is making me better than the current. Creativity is no different. Good stuff man!

  2. The biggest pain I experienced in creating within a community was caused by my own arrogance in thinking that my idea was automatically the best.
    Humility has got to come with creativity… It took a while for me to learn that.

  3. Excellent points. We haven’t really experienced much pain in our organization…yet. But I know it is coming. And I believe that the early victories have demonstrated a need for change and creativity which creates a larger threshold for bigger change/pain.

  4. People Pain is something I’ve come up against. It’s been hard to navigate but slowly getting people from “here” to “there” can happen.

    Never really thought about Industry Pain, but I can totally see it all around me. Gonna keep processing this post.

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