By Kevin Miller
Have you ever wondered who is creative and who is not? I am very fortunate because I was born believing and knowing in my soul that I am an artist. I have never questioned that. But almost every day I encounter people who suffer from “low personal creativity esteem,” and I long to find ways to prove to them that the fundamental nature of their being is creativity. I do not believe that anyone is not an artist. To say it another way, I believe that everyone is creative, but many have bought the self-limiting delusion that they are not now, and could never be, creative people.
You are definitely an artist. You may be working in the medium of food or gardening or golf or dreams, but your work is wonderful and meaningful. At its worst, it is exciting to experience, and at its best, it has the magical power to enhance and change consciousness, whether it is “beautiful” or not. These characteristics have nothing to do with “beauty” as we commonly think of it. Picasso’s seminal 1907 cubist painting, “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon,” and Stravinsky’s 1913 orchestral masterpiece, “The Rite of Spring,” were thought to be patently ugly when they were created. Now we think of them both as beautiful. But those are subjective judgments based only on fashion and the current state of evolution of the collective eye and ear. Tomorrow they may be deemed “boring” or “passé” or “decadent.” So true art is not tied to anyone’s idea of beauty. True art has great intrinsic power to suggest something about life in this world and beyond and to magically transform the viewer or listener. Art is art to the extent that it carries this metaphysical power to change and mold people’s perceptions and the future – the power to invent new realities. You do that now with your art.
In over 27 years of travels as a facilitator and artist with Innovation Focus, I have been approached hundreds of times by group participants expressing a longing to be able to do art, as I do. They always look so sad when they say, “As a kid I used to think that I might be able to draw or paint, but I no longer believe that I could ever have that kind of facility or be that creative.” I feel great compassion for these people, and at the same time I long to slap that limiting notion out of their heads and cause the empowering light of creative self-esteem enter into their brains, awakening them to the native creativity that is part and parcel of their indelible souls. I always tell them with great conviction, “You CAN be an artist. It’s easy. All you have to do is draw daily. Just keep a sketchbook and draw one thing from the world around you every day. I promise you that in less than a year you will see tremendous improvement, and within two years you will be very good at it.”
I tell them about Fred, a friend in college, who came to me expressing the desire to be an artist, but insisting that he had no native talent. So I said, “If you are serious, I will help you. But you must buy a sketchbook and draw at least one picture in it every day. Bring me your drawings and we will talk about them and try to see how to make them better and better.” He did this and in a year he was drawing very well. He left our little Indiana college in favor of a big New York art school and eventually graduated at the top of his class. This is a true story, and you can do it too. You are a creative person.
We live in Oz. We are the Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion and the Tin Man. We need approval and documentation and proof from some authority, The Wizard, or other people, in order to believe that we are smart or courageous or compassionate or artistic. If people tell us that we are these things, then we believe it. If they tell us we are not, then we believe that too. Society cannot conceive of all people being all things all the time. When it does, we will have entered the next Golden Age. But for now, people want to label and define each individual with narrow roles to play. Today we are ruthless about pigeon-holing people and limiting their success to one or two fields. And it’s all a lie. Most people are capable of renaissance breadth, while believing their options are limited to a tiny fraction of the spectrum. This is one of the great tragedies of the human condition. Don’t believe the lie. Fight for full expression of your intelligence and creativity. Then do it.
I will help you. Here is your creativity affirmation and mandate. Say this every day, as many times as needed, until you know it is the truth:
“I, _______________________________, am a powerhouse of creativity. I produce wondrous works of profound wit, meaning, charm, and power. My creativity can solve problems, raise spirits, and change the world for the better. I will empower all my thoughts and words and actions with the magnetism and usefulness of my creativity!”
May the ever-new, ever-changing joy of creativity fill your life and work.