As Ray Bradbury says,“self-consciousness is the enemy of all art.”
Creative energy flows only when we are uninhibited. When we are free from fear, anxiety, shame and insecurity. Freedom from these things doesn’t have to be permanent. It just has to exist in the moment of creation.
But here’s the catch. Being uninhibited is not a normal mode of operation. We are social creatures. We define and consider ourselves in relation to others. We weigh our actions according to the impact they will make on the people around us. That’s our default.
So the question is, how can we attain that state? How do we transport ourselves into a mindset that is free from self-consciousness?
1) Complete relaxation. No anxiety, worry or angst. Our minds are settled, we are present. Unburdened. We have time and nothing to fret over.
2) Severe stress. We are on death ground. The constraints of our situation force us to leave behind self-consciousness and act.
I don’t think the two are distinct. They can blend together. For example, in times of stress, relaxation is key to high performance.
But from my experience, the middle ground is unproductive. Being kind of relaxed and kind of stressed doesn’t make for great creative output. Better to seek out the extremes.