[image by Phil Schatz]

The ability to live in the question long enough for genius to emerge is a touchstone of creative success. In fact, a 2008 study published in the Journal of Creative Behavior revealed tolerance for ambiguity to be “significantly and positively related” to creativity.

Uncertainty, Innovation, and the Alchemy of Fear

These words from author Jonathan Fields (Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance) reminded me a bit of the poet Rainer Maria Rilke’s words in his work, Letters to a Young Poet:

…I would like to beg you dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.

When we can tolerate, or sit in our own anxiety…it is then, and only then when we are close enough to being in the place to truly discover, grow and be transformed in the process.

But sadly…most of us aren’t able to tolerate our own anxiety long enough to push through our own fears and doubts.