“Anybody can do that.”
“I’m just fooling around.”
I hear that a lot when someone gets complimented for an accomplishment. Okay, I say that a lot too. Don’t want to get the big head (or so I rationalize) so I’ll slough it off as insignificant.
“Shoot, even a blind hog can find an acorn sometimes.” That’s one of my favorites, and it usually means I’m downgrading stuff again.
Seem that’s something creative types do. I can say I was raised not to brag on myself too much, but that’s not it. Rather than just kicking a little sand over it with a country-boy aw-shucks, I’m completely dissing my accomplishment and my gift.
I read a blog post about it where the writer suggests dissing the talent comes with the fear of exposure, which is something many creative types share.
If you’re one, you’re probably on a first-name basis with that fear. You’ve fooled everybody all these years, you’re more full of it than a Christmas goose and someone will expose you soon enough. That kind of success isn’t sustainable.
Maya Angelou, that amazing poet who recently moved on, admitted to that fear — after having 11 books to her credit.
The greater the success, the greater the fear and the more I’ll discount my gifts.
But wait, there’s more.
Without getting all mystical and stuff, having a creative gift is a big deal. Really big. Like, bigger than I am. I can sometimes control it but most of the time it whips my butt.
Not only is it big, but there’s some real power there. Major forces are harnessed in every great work.
My old guitarist friend, the late Chuck Bigbee, was pretty out there musically and few could keep up with his ideas. He was also quite intellectual and, yeah, maybe a little crazy. But he liked to say the next note you play might cure cancer or bring world peace, so play it.
Okay, so that’s from deep left field, but Chuck was on to the idea that there’s great power in a great work. In fact, he may have been right all along.
Like a lot of people, I don’t like the thought of something being bigger or tougher than I am. I’d rather be in control than be controlled any old day. I’d rather say it was me doing this work when it’s really from something unseen and I’m just a conduit for putting it out there.
In other words, this gift puts me in my place. Early and often.
I’m trying to tame what I can’t tame and minimize what I can’t minimize. Could it be that discounting the gift is my own feeble attempt to do so?
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