“Then what do you depend on? My own internal reactions. I read myself, not the person in front of me. I always know a lie because I want to turn my back on the liar.”
Frank Herbert

Chapter House Dune



A precious lesson that stuck with me from my creative explorations is that “maybe is no”. When I am doing something I am passionate about and a question arises, there are only two possible answers – “yes” or “no”. If I encounter a “maybe” – than I take it to be a “no”. Yes, it’s that simple.

This became second nature to me when I was in a creative space and it was a huge support. It cut cleanly through any hesitation and let me focus on what mattered to me most. I really wanted to take this beyond my creative space and into my life and it is a practice with me to this very day.

Though I am tempted to say that life is more complicated then creativity – I don’t feel that’s quite true. Life is a creative space and at the same time the raw honesty of creative spaces can be tougher then life. A (good) creative space is setup to support creativity, life can be like that but often isn’t. Therefore life has more potential to throw “maybe” at you. This is what I do with it.

I ask myself if the question touches on something that is important to me or that I care about deeply. You will not believe (a) how quickly you  will be able to answer this question clearly and (b) how much noise and garbage it filters out. There is no “maybe” answer to this question. If I don’t get a clear resounding “yes” then I consider the answer to be “no”. If I do get a “yes” I set the question aside and wait (another useful trick I learned in my creative explorations). Sometimes I wait an hour, sometimes a day, sometimes a year …. sometimes what seems like a lifetime. At some point, assuming the question really is important to me (!), it will come up again. I then revisit it and either get a clear resounding answer or I again reconsider it’s importance to me.

As time goes by I realize that this kind of movement towards a clear “yes” or “no” answer pushes me towards better. This process prevents me from getting caught up and hung up on a specific question. Instead it transforms the specific question to a question of values – that’s what happens when I ask myself “Is this really important to me?”. Living with these questions in the background (waiting) gives me an opportunity to observe and question my own values. Sometimes questions from different aspects of my life are funneled together as I realize they are expressions of similar values.

It is an eventual shift or refinment in my values that causes a “maybe” question to become a “yes” or “no” question. It is curious to me that a momentum towards improvement lies in  “maybe” questions. It is the things I don’t know that, if I let them, lead me to Quality.

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