The Perils of Creative Attachment

creativity personal development Mar 17, 2018

I had the great privilege of speaking with Seth Godin for a second time on the Creative On Purpose Broadcast recently. He packed our short time together with a ton of knowledge and insight. But one of the most profound moments was what Seth said about the perils of attachment for creatives (people like us).

I’ve been thinking about this ever since our conversation ended and sharing a few “aha moments” I didn’t see or articulate when Seth suggested I lead off our discussion.

  • We control our perception of people, situations, and circumstances and what we decide to do next. We do not control the outcomes of those actions.

  • We can, however, influence results through the thoughtful use of strategy and tactics. Generosity, storytelling, tension, positioning, remarkability, etc. must be employed ethically and with empathy, if we are to be creative marketers, and not hackers, spammers, tricksters, and selfish advertisers.

  • The motivation, intention, and aspiration of our work matter. It matters a lot. At least as much as how we employ the tools listed above. But, once we put our work in the world, all bets are off.

  • The mindset of “this might not work” can help give us the courage to adopt the posture to ship and fail, but acting “as if” means we must be prepared for the even scarier proposition that it may well work!

“We have a right to our labor, but not to the fruits of our labor.” - Krishna

Getting the results we seek is nice, but rarely happens exactly the way we wish. Attaching the value of our work (or ourselves), to results is a path to suffering. If we focus on the reasons for our work (What’s it for? Who’s it for? What change are we trying to make?), we create not only the best chance to influence the results we seek but, far more important, the best chance to flourish, even when we fail.

Be creative on purpose.

Thanks, Seth, for helping remind me of what it is I want my work to be!


An additional "revelation" that came after further reflection. Attachment doesn't only lead to suffering when we project ourselves into the future. It happens to when we cling to the past. Here's what I wrote down during a recent morning journaling routine.

"Attachment to past relationships, situations, and circumstances is at least as debilitating as our attachment to desired future outcomes.

Be here now. Trust the process. Emotions often come uninvited, but feelings are things you decide to embrace or shun. You already possess _everything_ you need to thrive and prosper. You have the capacity for reason, a creative instinct, and are surrounded by people want to help you and be helped by you.

Go, do that. Do it now."

"Love the humble art you have learned and take rest in it." - Marcus Aurelius

Recommended resource to go further, watch this video.

Keep flying higher!

Scott Perry, Chief Difference-Maker at Creative on Purpose.

Ready to get going with the difference only you can make? Start living your legacy. It's time to be creative on purpose!

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