I believe that any creative pursuit—whether it’s art, design, music, poetry, or whatever else—requires willful vulnerability. Interrogating the world around you, facing things you’re scared of, learning about other people’s struggles, internalizing all of that, digging deep within yourself, and using your experience and compassion to make something positive.

This means lowering your defenses. Reckoning with hard questions that challenge you. Having the humility and willingness to see through someone else’s eyes. Feeling their pain and joy as strongly as your own. Identifying your weaknesses and working to improve them. Using your station to lift others, even when it means putting yourself at risk.

It goes without saying that this is difficult and counterintuitive. You will be overwhelmed sometimes. It takes careful discipline and strength to stay leveled and keep going.

But you have to try. You have open yourself up, in order to affect change outside of yourself. There’s no other choice. These are the keys that unlock meaningful creativity, and a meaningful life.

Stay open, stay vulnerable. For good.