How many times have you heard someone say “I’m not creative”?
How many times have you said it yourself?
I once met UK artist Mackenzie Thorpe. It was at the opening of his Big Heads exhibition. My wife and I had fallen in love with a couple of his works previously (like this one, named All Is Love), but when I heard him explaining his thinking, he pretty much made me a fanboy for life.
Here’s (more or less) what he said:
“For me, the big heads symbolize children: new, uncorrupted, their heads full of endless possibility, open to whatever comes their way. It is only as we grow older that we become narrow and closed. Let’s keep our heads as big as possible.”
See, beginning with your childhood, your whole life is filled with people telling you you can’t. You can’t draw. You can’t sing. You can’t cook. Whatever you think you might be able to do, you’ll always find plenty of people willing to tell you that you can’t.
The thing that really stuck with me about Thorpe’s view is not that “your head gets smaller” every time someone tells you you can’t, it’s that your head gets smaller every time you believe them.
So, if you tell me you’re not creative, that tells me you’ve decided that everyone was right. You’ve allowed a lifetime of cants to squash all those embryonic thoughts that, with only the smallest amount of nurturing, could have emerged as your very own form of creative expression.
The good news is, you can turn it around. “Being creative” is within your grasp, right now, if you simply decide it’s something you want
In his recent book SuperGods, trail-blazing comic book writer Grant Morrison tells of a key moment in his life that propelled him into life as a “creative”.
“Then, as if handing me the keys to the jet pack, my dad bought me a typewriter and taped a message to the inside of its case: ‘Son – the world is waiting to hear from you.’”
Morrison had someone in his life saying you can, and it set in motion a creative life that has produced groundbreaking work such as The Invisibles (precursor to The Matrix),We3 (adorable cyborg runaway housepets turned into government killing machines) and All-Star Superman (the definitive take, in my opinion).
You don’t need my permission, but I’m giving it to you anyway.
I’m telling you you can.
Decide to be creative. Decide it today. Then decide it every day.
The world is waiting to hear from you.
This post was originally published at The White Agency’s blog.