There are, however, more subtle temptations, and because of their subtlety, it’s quite possible they could prove even more dangerous. To name just a few…
The temptation of isolation: to avoid connection and collaboration at all cost, convincing ourselves that we can do it all on our own.
The temptation of comparison: to define our abilities, success, and worth based on what others do or have done.
The temptation of perpetual meetings: to spend all our time brainstorming and talking the idea/project/mission to death. We do this as a way of avoiding actual work.
The temptation of repetition: we’re not talking about creating a practice in order to get better. We’re talking about avoiding experimentation and innovation for fear of failure. We’re talking about doing the same thing because it’s the safe thing.
The temptation of sexy: cleaning out your 401k, your children’s college fund, going into severe debt and allowing your family to starve all so you can pursue your dream of being an artist may sound brave and sexy and entrepreneurial, but it is actually foolish and selfish. It’s not as sexy to keep your day job and slowly develop your project on nights and weekends, but I would argue that it’s much more brave.
The temptation of smooth: believing that every idea has to be perfectly thought and planned out before the work can begin. Don’t be afraid of the rough edges. Smooth them as you go.
The temptation of listening: to the wrong voices, to the voice of the resistance in your head saying it can’t be don’t, won’t be done, and shouldn’t be done because you aren’t capable.
None of these temptations are inherently “sinful”. I wouldn’t bring them into the confession booth after mass. But they do hinder us from creating at our full potential. They keep us from exploring, risking, stepping up and making art.
Many people ask, “How do I get rid of these temptations?”
To be blunt, you can’t. None of us can.
Temptation is like the wind, you cannot ignore it, nor do you have the power to make it stop blowing. Your choices are either to turn around and go home, or to put your head down and press on through it. This isn’t always easy to do, but it becomes a lot easier when we focus less on the wind and more on where we’re trying to go.