Growing up, I was fortunate to have an extremely supportive family. I had all of these crazy ideas about what I could be and I didn’t really experience any major pushback. When people asked what I wanted to be when I grew up I had a list that I would recite: Scientist, Chemist, Astronaut, Dirt Bike Racer, Chef, and a Computer Programmer.
I figured those seemed reasonable, and not necessarily mutually independent. (Seeing how a chemist is a scientist and many astronauts are scientists, it wasn’t that far fetched to be all three.) In reality most people would only aim for one or two of those, but that didn’t deter me from dreaming, and I had important people that supported this vision. My parents, along with the rest of my family, worked hard to foster a sense of creativity in me that has remained throughout my life.
However, not everyone will support your creative endeavors. Not everyone is going to buy you a chemistry set when you say you want to be a chemist, or whatever your chosen field. Not everyone is going to be your cheerleader.
In fact, as we know, there are plenty of people who will do just the opposite. They will go out of their way to put down your dreams, and try and “ground you in reality”. Phrases like, “Why don’t you think of something more reasonable?”, or “That’s not really going to work.” are common for people like this. It may seem like they have your best intentions at heart, but really they can kill your creativity.
- The Realist. As I mentioned, a lot of people like to take what they know from their experiences and project it on you. While it can be well-meaning advice, it can seriously hamper your attempts to think outside of the box and do something unconventional.
- The Real Creative. Creatives come in all shapes and sizes, and some people think too highly of themselves and their creative abilities. They think your ideas, as creative as they may be, are too mainstream and make sure to point that out to you at every turn.
- The Debater. A little debate can be healthy, as it can encourage you to think a little bit more about your idea, and perhaps incorporate a different point of view. But, some people take it to the extreme and make you fight for every inch, even when it’s unnecessary or you have previously come to a consensus.
- The Flip-Flopper. When you are working on a creative project, some people will work with you in the beginning, but half-way through change their minds. They will give up and say it’s too hard or it can’t be done, leaving you to pick up the pieces.
- The Controller. Despite it being your idea and your project, these people think they know the best way to get it done. They will go above and beyond support to the point where they will try to take over all of the decision making, and perhaps even the entire project.
- The Hater. These people really just don’t want to see you succeed. They actively shut down anything that you come up with, mostly because they wish they came up with it themselves.
These types of people can pop up at anytime and don’t necessarily mean that you need to ditch all of your friends (except the haters, you don’t need any of those). It is however, important to realize if people are working against you and how to deal with them. That might mean limiting your contact with these individuals, or just not sharing your creative ideas with them.
There are two elements to the fight against any and all types of people working against you.
The first is to truly believe in yourself and your abilities. You know what you want to do, and how you want to make it happen. Believe in that. You may not have all the answers, but if you’re actively seeking to learn more and apply that knowledge in the real world, that’s really the best that you can do.
The second is to be picky when it comes to finding supporters. Reach outside of your circle of friends and find those who really do understand your creative side and show true support. You may need to connect with more people, perhaps ones you have never met, but today’s technology makes that easier than ever.
You won’t be able to make it through life alone, and incorporating creativity into major parts of your life will be especially difficult. Getting a support network will make that journey more than a little easier, and could even bring a few new ideas to you to work on along the way.