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  • Writer's pictureRobert Norton

For us, there is only the trying.

While doing research for a talk on creativity, I read about a conversation between two 20th-century modern dance legends, Martha Graham and Agnes de Mille.

At a time when de Mille should have been toasting the success of her choreography in the smash hit Oklahoma!, she was feeling deeply uncertain instead. She confessed to Graham that she thought Oklahoma! was inferior to her earlier, less celebrated works. It confused her and made her question her professional judgment.

She shared, "I have a burning desire to be excellent, but no faith that I can be."

In response, Graham offered:

"There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it.

It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable it is, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open."

The world will benefit from your ideas and craftsmanship. Instead of letting inhibition hold you back, embrace a spirit of experimentation, release any attachment to the outcome, and keep those creative channels open.

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