Leadership is about creating freedom

Letting go

It’s not about manipulation, like most leaders think

But good leadership inspires people

The desire for control is common

Executives want control in business

Parents want control of children

Artists want control of the creative process

But there comes a time when we must do one thing


Here’s the main point of the article….

Point 1. Letting go is essential to successful growth and inspiring leadership

It is impossible to control everything

Astonishingly, with the right conditions, people grow by themselves. Like a tree

Quality leadership and growth shines light in the darkness

Aireys Lighthouse 771x1024 Leadership and Creativity: The Freedom in Letting Go

‘Aireys Lighthouse’ by Simon Brushfield (2004) Acrylic, Oil & Charcoal on canvas. 1m x 80cm $3200

However, it’s sometimes difficult to let go

Especially in leadership

But we must surrender

Becasue it builds confidence in followers

Plus, life can become extremely frustrating holding on tightly when in leadership

It’s simply not natural

Here’s the reason why…

Point 2. The energy needed for surrender is much less and accomplishes infinitely more, than the energy needed for control

Furthermore, too much control stifles people’s growth

Plus, it promotes laziness

And irresponsibility

Individuals need a sense of freedom and responsibility to grow

Only then will they gladly give their best performance

Natural motivation

In leadership, it’s really quite simple

Here’s the truth about human beings

Point 3. For best results a person needs to feel happy and relaxed

If an authority figure has too much control, we become demotivated and confused

Even worse, we become irresponsible

This can be a challenge, a balancing act for leaders

For me, leadership is all about not being attached to a specific outcome that must be controlled

It’s very clear… (and a little weird)

Point 4. I’m not in control of my creativity or my life

It’s true

Likewise, when I create an original painting, I totally surrender to the creative process

There’s no other option

For my abstract art to be successful, I must let go and let the paint fall naturally on the canvas of an original painting

Eucalypt painting by Simon Brushfield Leadership and Creativity: The Freedom in Letting Go

‘Eucalypt’ (2001) by Simon Brushfield Oil & Acrylic on Canvas 1.8m x 1.4m (Sold: Private Acquisition)

The same for my life

To achieve natural results, and manifest the organic growth I want, there’s one thing I must do


Just let go

That’s true leadership

Zen Buddhism teaches the mind should become like an empty rice bowl

Who knows how things will turn out?

Here’s the great benefit of letting go…

Point 5. Surrendering control refreshes the spirit

I like what Jesus said about this concept

“Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will keep it.”

Losing control is truthful and honest

It’s beautiful too

Because we’re never totally in control in the first place

Especially creating original abstract art

Accepting this reality creates freedom

It lifts a heavy burden from people

And produces a joyful natural motivation

Breathing space

Plus there’s an added bonus

It’s exciting

Things might become a little confusing at times, but here’s my experience

Point 6. With a little faith everything eventually works out fine

Writing this creative article is a perfect example

I felt led to write these words

When I began the creative process of writing, all I had was a few words

An idea

About leadership

But once the creative seed was planted in the ground, it contained the amazing potential to grow by itself

Words and ideas came effortlessly

All without human control

But like my original art, I needed to let go first

Allow myself to be led by the creative spirit

Coral Fish 916x1024 Leadership and Creativity: The Freedom in Letting Go

‘Coral Fish’ by Simon Brushfield (2011) Acrylic on canvas 1.2m x 1.2m (Private Acquisition: Indonesia)

This creative process produces delicious fruit that people enjoy consuming

No need for behind the scenes manipulative power plays

Or unproductive gossip

Growth occurs naturally, like healthy plant life. By itself

True leaders are not highly skilled individuals at manipulative, behind the scenes, power games

Point 7. Quality leaders are led by the creative desire to see people to grow and flourish

With wisdom, they trust people

Granting genuine freedom and responsibility

It inspires people through a style of leadership based upon trust

This calls for the ‘empty rice bowl’ approach

A little courage and some creative thinking

Rather than imprisoning others through a myriad of deceptively authoritative ways, successful leaders empower individuals

Giving them one very special gift

A deeper understanding of the authority in themselves

Motivating people to use their creativity, in unique and powerful ways

Not for their own financial advantage

But for love

And the privilege of being a leader

Inspiring personal growth

At every possible opportunity

© Copyright Simon Brushfield – Leadership and Creativity: The Freedom in Letting Go

Pablo Picasso: Unhealthy competition deceives creative people

Pablo Picasso was brilliant.

His genius was not the result of competing with another artist. He was entirely unique, in his own league.

It upsets me to see people deceived.

I believe the greatest deception in our society today relates to competition. People compete with each other too much, which stifles creative growth .

Artists compete with other artists. Yet they are entirely different personalities with strengths in different areas.

pablo picasso girl before a mirror Pablo Picasso: Unhealthy competition deceives creative people

“Girl Before a Mirror” (1932) by Pablo Picasso. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Oil on canvas

I have never considered myself in competition with another artist. Actually, I have never ever felt that life was a competition. I knew there was no other person one earth like me therefore, I had no need to compete with them.

Dan Johnson is an artist from England. He founded the successful art website http://rightbrainrockstar.com . We’re both professional artists and online bloggers. Dan and I recently met online and there’s absolutely no sign of competition. It’s a nice genuine relationship. We’re generous with each other in art and business . Not trying to hide information, destroy or undermine one another in a competition.

Rather we share, support, encourage and compliment each other. As you will see in the skype video interview below Dan discusses his art background, Google+ , Facebook , Twitter, Pinterest and the importance of maintaining a balanced business.

Download Video with Vixy.net |

But often businessmen compete with other businessmen. Friends compete over the latest technology gadgets. Mums compete over their babies. Fathers compete over a house or car. Some professionals even compete over how hard they work! Silly stuff.

Especially in well developed western societies, people unfortunately learn that life is one big race for possessions. This is a massive deception, which stifles people’s freedom and creativity.

Point 1: Many people think they need to compete to receive their ‘piece of the pie’ in the world.

However, I do understand that competition can be healthy in some areas of life including sport. But too much focus on competing, gives people a distorted message about life.

Excessive competition leads to

a) exhaustion

b) copycat mentality

c) low self esteem

d) depletes creativity

e) starves originality

f) stifles freedom

g) creates the seagull mentality

h) creates boredom

i) at worst, leads to violence

But what happens mostly when people are busy looking at other people competing with each other, like seagulls competing over a dirty chip on the pavement, they miss out on discovering the amazing creative ability within themselves.

An aspect inside everybody that is so unique that no other person on the planet can compete with. Its impossible to compete on this level. When individuals find their unique creative ability, they can leave the dirty chip for the seagulls and begin feeding upon the most expensive restaurants in the world.

Point 3: If people are constantly in ‘competition mode’ they miss out on the creative value within themselves.

I tell my tertiary students, that good art teachers are employed to bring out the individual creative specialness in a student. That creative talent that is unique only to you. I try to avoid my students competing with others in class, it’s a waste of time, and will ensure they make zero progress. Instead focus internally, where the interesting special stuff resides.

Like the pie will one day run out. The student might be tempted to think, “I had better compete because otherwise, there will be none left for me”. This is a deception. The pie is infinitely plentiful. God’s resources are abundant and he has certainly planned enough cake for you.

Point 4: When the atmosphere of competition is eliminated, people are free to become inspired by following their special creativity within like Pablo Picasso.

One of the first things I tell my new creative students, during orientation day speech is this. “You are all incredibly unique. Out of the billions of people on planet earth, there is no one the same as you.” My students are not competing with anyone else because its impossible to compare an apple with an orange. Why waste time and energy on a useless exercise? Find what you love and be inspired.

Point 5: In creativity, or any field of endeavour people are infinitely original .

But some fail to grasp this reality and they begin losing self-confidence or self esteem. People often begin to compare themselves to others and compete on many different levels. Thinking they are beating their opponent by owning a better car or multi-story house. Competition is a big deception. After many years teaching tertiary level students in diploma, bachelor and masters level, I have come to this conclusion…

Point 6: Competition mostly creates mediocrity and mainstream unoriginal results.

Pablo Picasso, DaVinci , Einstein, or Plato wouldn’t have achieved such enormous success in their lives if they were primarily concerned with their next door neighbour competing for trivial matters. No, they were unique. They were concerned with more important questions about creativity.

These brilliant creative men were seeking answers to questions that lay deep within themselves. Deep within the universe. Questions that needed answers, that couldn’t be found by looking over their shoulder, envious of other people, feeling like they needed to compete to ‘keep up with the Jones’.

Envy, jealousy and competition is low level of thinking but unfortunately saturates our society. This type of thinking creates an even lower level of living. Similar to the pavement seagull, fighting over a dirty chip, making heaps of noise with a whole lot of effort.  For very little reward.

So lets avoid “keeping up with the Jones’” but rather be unique giving encouragement, support and strengthening people by igniting their creative spark within. This is guaranteed to make others feel invincible and very special just like Pablo Picasso.

Please leave your ideas in the comments box below, I would love to hear your thoughts.
If you’re interested in purchasing an original painting, or maybe you would like to commission Simon, please click here .

© Copyright Simon Brushfield – Pablo Picasso: Unhealthy competition deceives creative people

This post is about finding the right kind of support

It discusses the essentials of living a successful creative career and finding strong support structures to ensure stability, reliability and eventual success.

But how can an artist establish solid structure in life amidst the often chaotic, unpredictable world of creativity?

Creative people need an enormous amount of support to grow.

They need even more to succeed!

But it’s a special kind of support.

For people to grow, they need great patience and careful nurturing.

It’s a scientific fact, different types of people need different types of support to grow. Some support mechanisms are easy to find, others are more difficult. But the most important kind of support will come from special people in your life.

Geelong Fine Art School Exhibition Opening. This Art School was my support at the very beginning of my career

Creativity has become a highly valued skill in society today, more so than ever. But supporting a strong minded free-willed creative individual, is not an easy task.

Support structures need to be highly specialized and tailored to each individual

Here’s the main point of this article…

Finding the right kind of genuine support for your unique brand of creativity and special personality is essential.

The right kind of tailored support, designed specifically for you in my experience doesn’t come easy. You need to search for it. People are not going to throw themselves at you eager to give support and unfortunately, it won’t magically appear.

Sometimes family is supportive. But it’s not always the case.

Your support might come from strange people in weird places.

When we’re born into this world, it’s never certain what we’re meant to do and who we’re meant to do it with? Support comes on many different levels and from strange often unlikely corners of the world.

But you can be guaranteed the right kind of support for you is hiding somewhere. You need wisdom to find it in the people around you every day.

Surprisingly, sometimes it’s not obvious, because the people who believe in you, might be afraid to acknowledge it!

When you find the right kind of encouragement and guidance it will help you soar higher than you thought possible. With surprising ease, you will fly high on wings like eagles.

Here are 8 ways to ensure your support stays strong

1. Be aware of the people around you and listen carefully to their words.

2. Pay attention to what your intuition tells you, be courageous, it’s often right.

3. Use wisdom to discern people’s motivations during a conversation.

4. Focus upon strengthening those people who encourage you.

5. Learn to politely ignore those who undermine or discourage your dreams.

6. Make it clear to people you are serious about their influence upon your life.

7. Give little time to people who attempt to entangle you in trouble.

8. Protect and reward the people who are your support structures in life.

Sometimes things people say are insignificant, but for some reason, they stick in our mind, especially when young. Jack was my boss, he encouraged a shy creative boy from a small country town, to take on the big city of Sydney.

The video below is my story of my special kind of support.

It came in an unremarkable conversation, a brief comment from Jack. It lasted only a moment, but changed my life forever. His comment had greater significance on my life than he could imagine.

He saw something special in my artistic personality and supported it.

Download Video with Vixy.net |

Here’s the kind of support to search for in this world…

The kind of support people need is one that encourages freedom, independence and builds a sense of authority in life

Not the kind of support that subtly undermines people, such as gossip, political power plays from behind or maybe a person who argues with every word they hear. Avoid these people.

But be careful. People might pretend to support you because they want something from you. Use wisdom. Not all people understand what true support means and here’s the reason why…

Sadly, most people never received genuine support themselves.

True support grows people

Even adults

So, for the people not offering you the true support you need, some times it’s up to you to be their support first. Show them what real support means

Then once they truly understand it, your special kind of long lasting support designed especially for you, will be in that person

Here’s the reason why your support will be long lasting… because in the first place you gave someone a learning experience so special, so powerful and unique to them, they couldn’t find it anywhere else

Encourage, protect, warn and guide them

Give them the support they truly need. Then, over time, you will be guaranteed in return, to receive the special kind of support you need to achieve your creative goals

In the supportive process, what do people need most?

They need you to love them , even if you don’t feel like it

After leaving high school I entered the Geelong Fine Art School (photo at top of the post). It was an amazingly nurturing campus led by Patty Semmler and Robert Drummond.

They gave me the love and creative attention I needed as a baby artist

I was cared for and supported by two very special people

They were very generous offering exceptional creative guidance and encouragement in my formative artistic years.

In the video below Patty and Robert give their version of the start of my art career and discuss the people in their lives who supported their artistic drive.

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What’s your story of that special person who encouraged, supported and guided you? Leave a comment below

If you’re interested to purchase an original Simon Brushfield painting, that will give the right kind of support to your home or office walls,

One of Australia’s most celebrated illustrators Robert Ingpen talks with Simon Brushfield about painting, creativity, illustration, imagination, sport, mythology and his significant contribution to Australian popular culture through the very successful movie and book named ‘Storm Boy’.

Robert Ingpens creative output has been outstanding.

The Australian illustrator has won significant worldwide literature awards, produced best selling books, inspired motion pictures, designed postage stamps, created public murals and even sculpted bronze doors for the Melbourne Cricket Club.

But even with the enormous success of his long lasting artistic career, the frank Robert Ingpen, admits that each day he wakes up uncertain about his future, wondering what might happen. But he assures younger artists contemplating a career in art…

‘it usually does work out….but it takes a lot of hard work’.

Robert has illustrated books for many of the biggest names in world literature including Lewis Carroll, Rudyard Kipling, Mark Twain and the popular Australian poet Banjo Patterson. Winning a world-class award for children’s literature referred to as the ‘little Nobel prize’. The Hans Christian Anderson Award in 1986.

He has received an honorary doctorate from RMIT and highlights many significant points of importance to artists embarking on a creative career.

Point One: Mythological figures are essential for a nations cultural identity and the peoples imagination.

Early in his career Ingpen worked for the CSIRO and created a beautiful Land Research Mural at Canberra’s Black Mountain laboratories, now a heritage listed Australian artwork. The large scale piece created in 1963 illustrates procedures used by scientists to observe, understand, and modify the environment to meet increasing demands of modern life.

Another well known fable later made into a hugely successful Australian motion picture was named ‘Storm Boy’. Robert worked with Colin Thiele to create this truly special story that managed to capture the imagination of millions of Australians during the 1970 & 80’s.

During the interview, in relation to past creative projects, Robert discusses the importance for artists to develop a fearless imagination, balanced with practical reality and courage, needed to bring success to the creative individual.

Point Two: To be truly imaginative in art takes fearlessness and courage

Robert has also written and illustrated a children’s book on legendary cricketer Donald Bradman, and the imaginative folk story of the Poppy Kettle. A story, which has helped educate generations of Australian children. The story has even evolved into a special day every year in the academic calendar for primary school children in Geelong called ‘Poppy Kettle Day’.

But aside from Roberts illustrious career and impressive resume, what is most important to me, is understanding the man behind an incredible imagination. The interview displays a deeply thoughtful illustrator, highly creative who maintains a well-balanced stable perspective on life.

Point Three: Artists need a soul-mate and practical interaction with others outside the studio to ensure their sanity.

During the interview Robert offered some wise advice to imaginative professionals. To maintain ones sanity, when an artist spends so much time in the studio in their own imagination, one must find a soul-mate who can help them keep them in touch with reality.

Secondly, to find meaningful work outside the studio is important. Where the artist must interact with others. On this point, Ingpen discusses in the video his enjoyable moments in Australian classrooms with primary school children exploring the human imagination.

If you’re interested in purchasing an original painting, or maybe you would like to commission Simon Brushfield, please click here .

© Copyright Simon Brushfield – Creativity: Famous Australian Illustrator talks Art, Creativity and Storm Boy