The ‘Middle Way’ is a well-known concept around the world. It refers to striking a balance between two extremes.
Gautama Buddha used the term ‘the middle way’ to describe the path to liberation. It’s a way of moderation between the extremes of sensual indulgence and self mortification.
To achieve physical freedom, we must find a middle way between our material desires (that expensive easel, luxurious retreat, or pricey recording equipment) and our economic realities. To find a way of feeding our art while also managing to feed ourselves.
To achieve temporal freedom, we must find a middle way that gives us work-life balance. This may sound trite, but we must balance our creative and non-creative life tasks. To find a way that we can earn enough money to support ourselves, while also having time to create. And, we need to learn to appreciate even our non-creative work as experience we can draw inspiration from, and to apply our creativity across all areas of our lives.
To achieve mental freedom, we must find a way to develop a healthy, balanced creative mindset. One which does not seek to be disliked, but which has the courage to be disliked. To cultivate an ego which is healthy enough to have a go, and share our work.
As Ryan Holiday points out in his book Ego, when we lack confidence, we don’t even try. But the second we tell ourselves we’ve mastered something, we stop learning.
A Free Creative is forever learning, and thus, must stay between these extremes.
The trick is to develop enough confidence to keep trying, but not so much that you become overconfident and stop learning and growing on your path to creative freedom.