Overcoming the Enemies of Knowledge and Creativity

Inspiration and Wisdom from Yaqui Warrior

When a creator has the spark of an idea, they set out on a quest to bring it to reality. They often are not clear on what the design will look like, who it will appeal to, or even if is viable. They only know that regardless of its merit of difficulty it is an idea they must explore.

The inspired creator takes the kernel of an idea and develops it little by little. From doodles on a napkin, to a computer mock-up, to a scale model, the idea grows. The inventive process often demands new skills, and each fresh development and successive version creates massive challenges.


But even as the smallest of ideas gain momentum, the struggle to bring it to life conjures its own reality. The creator must confront the challenge of being a pioneer. They must discover and accept that the task is not only about bringing the idea to life. Being creative and presenting original concepts to the world also involves confronting the intellectual and emotional struggles yoked to innovation. The creator must acknowledge their fear.

If the innovator is not careful, their fear will overwhelm them. It will sabotage their creativity and drive. Then, little by little, their once singular focus to create will wither and die. It is not only a personal sacrifice. The world will never experience their brilliant idea. A loss that cannot be attributed to product failure or market competition but to creative timidity and personal doubt.

If a person surrenders to their fears, their courage and creativity fades and the adventure ends. Their self-doubt will forever stifle their artistry and imagination. Their days as an innovator are over.

The only way the creator can overcome their fear is to not run away from it. They must confront the terror and persevere. They must put aside their anxiety and continue to grow and develop. They must embrace the fear but not allow it to stop them. If they can do this, they can rekindle their creative passion and return to the path of knowledge and progress.


Once fear is vanquished, the innovator gains clarity of mind. This allows them to know and understand their desires, as well as how to attain them. This is a blessing. It gives the person the confidence and courage to pursue anything they desire. It is also a curse because it leads to arrogant delusions of superiority.

The conceited innovator allows themselves the pretentiousness of expertise. They fall prey to impatience and indulge in wanton attempts to fulfill all their desires. This excess may offer materialistic joy, but it threatens their creativity. Pacified aspirations assure the suffocation of magnificent ideas. Their innovative concepts trapped in a once precise and driven mind that will never learn or create again.

But, if the creator can defy the lure of fulfilling impulsive desires, they may move to the next phase of their quest. If they can learn and practice patience, they can measure the consequences of their yearnings and gain moderation. With this personal growth and understanding they can grasp the strength offered by being able to practice detachment and to see things clearly. This clarity offers the innovator the means to discern the complexities of their surroundings.


By overcoming fear and seeing with clarity, the creator comes to know genuine power. This allows them near invincibility. They have the strength to conquer their rivals and become the master of their domain. But unbridled force is also an enemy of innovation. If everyone bends to one’s commands, where is to need to innovate or pioneer fresh ideas?

Power welded without fear or consequence creates an authoritarian ogre. With nothing to challenge them or deny their impulses, the innovator’s mind becomes dormant. Their absolute power makes them forget their love of generating novel ideas and producing anything inventive. Their pursuit of knowledge has ended.

The strongest of all the enemies of innovation and knowledge is power. Surrendering to it is effortless and feels like a wonderful blessing. But it corrupts the soul. Once the creator yields to it, they find discover that it is easier to make burdensome rules that fit their desires than to generate new ideas. They become a cruel and authoritarian tyrant.

The innovator must not only resist the temptation of power but aggressively defy it. They cannot surrender to its allure. The creator must maintain their self-control. Only full authority over their fear, clarity, and power will allow them to control their destiny and their path forward.

The Final Battle

The innovator that gets to this point in their quest for knowledge will have one enemy remaining. The desire to rest.

This is the last battle. To overcome the temptation to become still and soothe the ravages of time. The creative journey is hard and reaps a toll of everyday doubts, insults, questions, treacheries, and failures.

If the innovator surrenders to time they forsake everything. Their battles to overcome fear, clarity, power, and find knowledge will be lost.

The creator must face this final challenge. Although surrender is easy, they must not easily give into temptation and abandon their quest for knowledge. They must endeavor to persevere and fend off the ravages of time.

Even though time is always the inevitable winner in all pursuits, the true innovator must strive to know victory for a mere instant. For all they have endured, to capture that single moment of pure knowledge will have been worth it.

It will be enough.


Inspiration for this article came from a “discussion” contained in the book, The Teachings of Don Juan by Carlos Castaneda. It reveals the way to knowledge, the way of a warrior. The Yaqui Indian shaman Don Juan describes the journey in this way:

The Way of the Warrior
“Whenever a warrior decides to do something, he must go all the way, but he must take responsibility for what he does. No matter what he does, he must know first why he is doing it, and then he must proceed with his actions without having doubts or remorse about them.”

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