The Creative Tension Zone


Imagine a rubber band, stretched between your vision for the future and your current reality. When pulled taut, the rubber band tightens, representing the tension between what is and what could be.

What does this tension seek? It seeks resolution, or release.

There are only two possible ways for your tension to resolve itself. It can pull reality toward your vision, or it can pull the vision toward reality. Which of these occurs will depend on whether you hold steady to the vision.

The principle of creative tension proposes that you shift your life toward a new vision. Yet, it is easily misunderstood. For example, the very term “tension” suggests anxiety or stress, but creative tension doesn’t feel any particular way. It is simply the force that comes into play the moment you acknowledge a vision that's at odds with your current situation.

Still, it can be hard to stand in creative tension, because it's often accompanied by feelings of anxiety, sadness, discouragement, doubt or worry. People easily confuse these emotions with creative tension, fearing that the creative process itself brings a state of anxiety. But it's important to realize that these “negative” emotions that come with creative tension are not the creative tension itself, but rather what's called emotional tension. 

If you fail to distinguish emotional tension from creative tension, you predispose yourself to lowering or even abandoning your vision. For example: If you feel deeply discouraged about a vision that's not coming to fruition, you may have a strong urge to lighten the emotional load of that discouragement. There is one obvious remedy: Shrink your vision! The temptation to make choices only to relieve emotional tension is deceiving, because at first glance it seems like a pathway to peace. You may indulge complaints about uneasiness, or being forced from your comfort zone, and you may take comfort in thoughts of ease. The emotional tension you feel seems to be relieved by letting go of your hoped-for reality...letting go of your vision. So in one way, your tension is resolved.

But that relief comes at a high price. The result isn't peace; it's an impostor. The true outcome is abandoning what you truly want...your vision and a fresh, new, vibrant life. And that isn't relieving at all.

Three Powerful Questions for You

  • How do you feel about your future?

  • What is your vision?

  • What feeling can you choose that manifests that vision?

I'd love to hear what feeling you choose!