Creative Calling: A book review by Bob Morris

Creative Calling: Establish a Daily Practice, Infuse Your World with Meaning, and Succeed in Work + Life
Chase Jarvis
Harper Business/An imprint of HarperCollins (September 2019)

How creative thinking can accelerate your personal growth and professional development

As I began to read this book, I was again reminded of what David and Tom Kelley assert in their classic, Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All. They challenge all manner of misconceptions, such as the common refrain “I’m just not creative.” In fact, they suggest, “As brothers who have worked together for thirty years at the forefront of innovation, we have come to see this set of misconceptions as ‘the creativity myth.’ It is a myth that far too many people share.

Creative Confidence “is about the opposite of that myth. It is about what we call ‘creative confidence.’ And at its foundation is the belief that we are all creative…Creative confidence is a way of seeing that potential and your place in the world more clearly, unclouded by anxiety and doubt. We hope you’ll join us on our quest to embrace creative confidence in our lives. Together, we can all make the world a better place.” Chase Jarvis could not agree more.

As he explains, “This book is about creativity, but in a larger sense it’s about life and how you live it. It’s not just about starting a creative practice or becoming a better designer, writer, photographer, or entrepreneur — though it will supercharge all of your creative skills. It’s about living a richer, deeper, more rewarding life than ever before. Embracing creativity in your life is like that moment when Dorothy steps out of her black-and-white Kansas house into blazing Technicolor Munchkinland.” [Page 1]

These are among the passages of greatest interest and value to me in Chapters 1-8 (Pages 23-197), also listed to suggest the scope of Jarvis’ coverage:

o Introduction (Pages 5-19)
o The System Is Rigged (24-27)
o Creative Obstacles and Hidden Strengths (30-36)
o My Winding Path (42-51)
o Creative Control (58-59)

o Follow the Fear (65-67)
o The Rules Are Meant to Ber Broken (72-76)
o Take Risks to Keep Growing (79-85)
o The Power of Consistent Action (97-99)
o Building a Creative Mindset (102-103)

o Creative Boosters and Zappers (107-121)
o Busy versus Effective (127-131)
o Plan to Be Creative (134-139)
o Establish a Starting Ritual (156-159)
o Be Accountable (159-161)

o When the Going Gets Tough (172-175)
o The Art of Done (178-179)
o New Learning, New Challenges (185-187)
o Learning How to Learn (188-192)
o Achieving Mastery (194-196)

These are among Chase Jarvis’ concluding thoughts: “As your creative process deepens and expands, you will experience a greater sense of direction over your own life. You will prove to yourself, over and over, that you have the power to turn your ideas into reality. This sense of agency and autonomy will bring you happiness and satisfaction like nothing else. Pursue your creative calling.”

Keep in mind that most human limits are self-imposed. That is what Henry Ford had in mind when suggesting, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re probably right.”

No one can follow a calling if they don’t hear it and they won’t follow one if they lack the confidence to embrace it. So the choice is yours. It really is. What will it be?

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