"Again and again the imaginary plan on which one attempts to build up order breaks down and then we must try another. This imaginative vision and faith in the ultimate success are indispensable. The pure rationalist has no place here". -Max Planck
Once again while stepping into the confining aisle of a plane, I was moments away from facing my fear of flying. I've been known to obsess about exits and re-reading emergency pamphlets. Miraculously, this time around, my thoughts were chasing the exhausted topic of organizational culture (for a management class). I'd been so preoccupied with submitting this writing assignment that I couldn't wait to find my seat and pull out that wrinkled outline. Minutes later we were Miami bound and I hadn't shed one ounce of sweat. Is it possible I'd finally overcome this crippling obstacle through my ability to refocus ? Anchoring my fear was an inability to accept uncertainty. At 35,000 ft, I found myself holding back an uncontrollable sense of accomplishment. Smiling to myself, I realized I'd uncovered yet another layer of my mind. Wanting to control everything is limiting. It's something perhaps the father of quantum theory mastered a long time ago.
Enjoying the sunset with my new chiffon wrap, I let go of my sketchbook and the need to control anything. I'd planned a relaxing vacation and hoped it would automatically lead to inspiration. I should have known better. As mentioned in earlier posts, creativity doesn't act like clockwork. Teresa Amabile, one of Harvard's leading researchers on creativity, found that when artists are intrinsically motivated, they create masterpieces for the pure joy of creating. Once rewards or planned expectations are added in, art becomes "work". For scientists, artists, inventors and fashion designers, balancing this intrinsic drive and the ability to embrace uncertainty is essential for high levels of creativity. Overcoming my fear of flying somehow paved the way to a deeper understanding of my need to achieve this unique balance.