scarcely creating

What form of scarcity keeps you from creating?

Do you negotiate yourself out of time? I’ll write as soon as I finish this … and this … and this. Do you assume the worst? What’s the point of even starting? I’m sure nothing will come of it. I’ll just disappoint myself. Do you bore yourself? This is the same crap I created last time.

I’ve also heard I can’t get organized and I don’t know what to write and Who’s going to want to read this? One of my own personal favourites is No matter how much I create or how good it is, it will never make enough of a difference.

The fear of scarcity goes back a long way – far enough back to trigger survival issues and to activate the part of the brain that’s tough to reason with because it’s so primitive, immature, and unenlightened.

Scarcity’s poster boy is Zog the Caveman. Zog doesn’t care about your brilliant impulse, the one that prompted you to turn on the computer or pick up the paintbrush. He scoffs at concepts like beauty and sharing. Zog’s only concern is safety. Your ember of loveliness, that thought that keeps asking to be created in the real world, constitutes a threat to the dark, private safety of the cramped cave where the Zog part of you resides.

It’s pitiful, really. And yet Zog is here to stay. So what are you going to do with him? He’s not as wily as Ego. He’s not going to trick or manipulate you into doing things his way. He’s only going to roll a big boulder of fear onto your path and squat in front of it glaring at you, daring you to run around it. If you try, he’ll tackle you and drag you by the hair back to where you started.

Surely there’s a way to outsmart this Neolithic brute. But no. You can’t outsmart Zog because he’s not smart enough to be outsmarted. You’ve got to thwart him at his own level, in a prepubescent staring contest.

Scarcity must be seen to be disbelieved.

Scarcity’s power comes from our unwillingness to look at it directly. Avoidance makes it bigger than it really is. So find a way to look.

“When you face your discomfort,
you open the door to personal transformation.
You create an opportunity to put scarcity in perspective.”
Maria Nemeth, The Energy of Money

Use your creativity to put yourself face to face with what’s hiding beneath scarcity’s fear. Write about and through your particular fears of scarcity. Get the specifics out into the open where you can see them. The view will shift. For example, my fear shifted to Making a difference in even one person’s life is reason enough to keep writing what I want to write.

If you step into the shadow of the path-blocking boulder and confront Zog head-on with a devil-may-care stare … you will win. Your fear of scarcity will dwindle to the size and threat level of a tiny plastic caveman toy standing in front of a cleverly painted Styrofoam pebble.

When it comes right down to it, Zog is a whiny wuss who can’t withstand a direct hit. So stop trying to be mature. Pick a fight. Go in kicking. Get your knuckles dirty so you can find out what’s on the other side of the fear.

You’ll find yourself shining in the sun.


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3 comments to scarcely creating

  • Katie McClain

    This article was delightful. Chad, your comments and story about Zog also delighted me!
    Wonderful, fun reading. Thank you both!

  • Thanks for yet another encouraging article. I appreciate your support for folks like myself who have never considered ourselves “writers,” but nonetheless yearn for a creative means of giving voice to our deepest beliefs and feelings.

    I want to highlight one minor gripe with this article; not as an attempt to start a conflict but rather a dialogue. I think ZOG has been wrongfully maligned! It’s occurred to me over the last several years, that the caveman, the hunter-gatherer of old, may have actually lived a far more creative existence than many of us, and has come to be in low esteem as the result of the same pernicious cultural influence that drove us collectively to margarine, fossil fuels and round-up ready crops.

    I suspect that primeval Zog (could we also refer to him as Adam?) may have actually enjoyed a thrilling existence, spending his days largely in idle perambulation as he explored his world. He was no doubt intimately aware of all the flora and fauna in his direct environment, and lived by the natural cycles of the rising and setting sun and the earth’s inclination on its axis. He was doubtless nimble and fit, and spent his waking hours in the company of his beloved clan, teaching his children and sharing the meat of daily experience with his closest loved ones.

    Of course, he probably had art as well. Some of that art has lasted through the millenia and come to us on faded cave walls. The bulk of it, created in the medium of transient organic materials, is gone. There is no record of the stories woven around glowing campfires under a canopy of sparkling stars.

    Thanks again for a lovely article and for giving me the opportunity to wax romantic about the “noble savage.” :)


    • Hi, Chad.

      Wouldn’t it be great to know more about life in far-back history, when Zog-Adams roamed the Earth? Maybe more will be revealed at some point. I do appreciate your conversation-starter comments. I mean actual cave-people no disrespect, nor do I presume to know what their lives were like (though I hope it had its wonderful moments).

      My “Zog” is an anthropomorphization of the oldest part of our brains, a flight of fancy, a way of possibly helping readers identify that part of the brain when it’s throwing its weight around. I don’t mean the Zog of this article to depict a literal cave-person.

      I really like your depiction of what life might have been like for a cave-person.

      Thanks for reading and commenting,