If It Doesn’t Hurt It Isn’t Love

I was recently asked how well I take constructive criticism of my creative work. With the speed of a Patellar reflex, I replied, “If it doesn’t hurt it isn’t love.” My response was a proverb found in the Switchfoot song “Yet.”

If it doesn’t break your heart it isn’t love
Nah, if it doesn’t break your heart it’s not enough
It’s when you’re breaking down with your insides coming out
It’s when you find out what your heart is made of

For creatives, we love what we do. We pour so much of who we are and what we’ve experienced in our work. The best songs are inspired by heartbreak or an intense passion. You have to feel something.

I take pride in my work. I pour a lot of myself into it. Creativity is part experimentation and part love. How much love I put into my work determines how much it hurts when it is rejected.

To understand the creative process, one must understand how much skin a creative puts into the game. When I put little heart into my work, it not only shows — it makes me immune to criticism.

For a company to move forward and remain relevant, it must be innovative. Innovation is creativity. Creativity is love. Love is putting yourself out there; taking a risk with a part of yourself.

Your idea or creation may be rejected. Have thick skin? It might not be a question of how thick your skin is, but how much skin you have in the game. How much of you is out there?

Send a drone off to battle and it costs you little. Put yourself out there and it costs you your life. This is a metaphor for creativity. A part of me is out there when I choose to put myself out there. If rejection is inevitable, why put much heart into my work at all?

Real love hurts. It hurts because you were all in. Love is the beauty. Without love, there is little to admire.

People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

If you want marketing that sticks, if you want it to move people — it must be an emotional experience for both the creator and the consumer. It must be genuine. Not mass produced or random.

Why I Write

In this blog, I have been chasing after that soul. That soul within me. The one I don’t share often. I am trying to express myself in the most genuine, vulnerable, and honest way possible.

Being real is being yourself. Being yourself is the hardest thing to do. It’s so tempting to copy, deflect, and hide your true self.

I write to practice coming out of my shell. I could hide behind accolades, but we all know those are empty words. They are a front. Shared struggles are relatable. And relatability lends credibility. That’s worth more than any accolades one could be decorated with.

We are moved by true stories because fictional stories are too fantastic. The best art is interwoven with the truth. It makes you feel something. Communicates a feeling well.

One day when I’m brave enough, I’ll share something. There’s so much to share. Dreams, experiences, thoughts, beliefs, ideas… so many topics that would make for great reads. That something will move you as it moved me. But, I’ve got to dig deep for it. That’s why it’s gold.

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