What if you made the rules?

I love climbing, especially bouldering

I learned to climb in San Francisco, where there are lots of outdoor areas, and a sweet gym just for bouldering. It's massive, and the people who create the climbs (which are called "problems") do such a great job. Every time you visit the gym they've set a whole bunch of new problems to play on. You never get bored.

Then I moved to Wellington. Wellington doesn't have a huge climbing scene.

Most of the outdoor climbing in New Zealand is couple hours' drive north or a boat south of us. There are a couple smaller gyms in the area, but the bouldering sections are pretty minimal.

There is a bouldering wall on campus at Victoria University, and Gabe and I sometimes climb there. However, there are no problems set. There are a bunch of holds on the wall, and you basically have to make up your own problems.

At first, this was a let down and super frustrating. I'd never had to create my own problems before. (HOW DARE YOU MAKE ME SET MY OWN PROBLEMS! CURSES!)

But after a couple months climbing in this "free for all" fashion, something incredible is happening. I've gotten over the disappointment/frustration, and have reached a new level of creativity and happiness in climbing.

All the rules were taken away, and I was left to make my own.

When I talked to other local climbers about what I perceived as "lack," they'd just give a little laugh and shrug, and go back to using their imaginations.

Staring blankly at a wall full of holds, I'd start creating my own problem and then ask someone, "Is this right? Does this make sense?" And they'd say, "It's right if you want it to be!" This was confusing, and then mind blowing.

With nothing to go off of but my imagination, and nothing to compare what I created to except my experience, I found a new level of creative freedom.

And I can't help but wonder, what if we approached other creativity and art in the same way?

What if you rejected to follow the same path others have taken, and created your path purely based on your own intuition and imagination?

What if instead of seeking approval from outside sources, you made choices from your gut?

What would your creative life look like if you didn't follow any "rules?" 

What would you draw, or write, or sing, if you didn't focus so much on what's popular or well-received at the moment?

Think outside the square.
Do what you like.
Don't take it too seriously.
Write your own rules.
Turn 'lack' into opportunity.
Pave a new path.