Think you’re not creative? Or not creative enough? I used to feel the same way…
Growing up, I believed creativity was an elusive and exclusive superpower reserved for the chosen few who were born with it. The painters, the novelists, the sculptors – those who could create something breath-taking out of thin air.
I never saw myself as one of them. I was more of a curious explorer, a thinker, an analyzer, a problem-solver – a strategist. And in my mind, none of this qualified as creative.
I dreaded talent shows in high school and college. They were my worst nightmare, triggering a wave of pain, embarrassment, and even shame as I grappled with the idea of showcasing my supposed “talents.”
While my friends sang like songbirds, played instruments or performed ballet, and effortlessly shined, I drew a blank.
I just wanted to run and hide.
These same feelings of inadequacy would creep up when I watched interviews with my favorite artists, singers, and directors or while witnessing a 12-year-old slay the cover of Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black” on The Voice.
Sometimes we can’t see our gifts or grasp their significance because they are inherent to us. We live and breathe them. But if we’re open to new sources of inspiration, to engaging with the world in new and unexpected ways, and to experimenting with curiosity and wonder, we unlock new paths for their expression.
A decade of deep inner work has challenged and transformed my perspective, reshaping my understanding of my gifts and redefining my relationship to creativity. My journey has been a long and winding road of self-reflection, awareness, understanding, and healing, but that’s a story for another day.
Although there is still much to learn, I’ve come to embrace and appreciate my own superpowers – the ability to think deeply, feel deeply, and intuit my way through complex challenges and decisions, and the transformative power of asking good questions to uncover the deepest truths.
It’s funny how life works.
For the past two years, I found myself hosting conversations (on stages!), asking questions, and sharing my journey. To my surprise, people actually wanted to listen. The same gifts that I once struggled to share are what led me here, and who knows how they’ll manifest next?
It’s kind of magical.
And this brings me to my latestt source of inspiration: Legendary music producer Rick Rubin’s new book, “The Creative Act: A Way of Being”. Rubin is a true icon in the music world, having worked with a diverse range of artists, from the Beastie Boys and The Red Hot Chili Peppers, to Adele, Eminem, and even Johnny Cash.
Rubin’s book is a love letter to creativity, to the idea that we are all capable of creating something beautiful, whether it’s a conversation, a piece of writing, a new recipe, or a more inspired path of exploring our neighborhood. He defines creativity as our ultimate form of self-expression, a way of being that’s available to us all no matter where we find ourselves in life.
According to Rubin, creativity is ultimately about being open, aware, and attuned to the world around us. About trusting our gut and following our excitement. About the moments of pure inspiration that hit us when we least expect it. And about tapping into the depths of our own being and expressing that in a way that is uniquely our own. He says:
“We are all antennae for creative thought. Some transmissions come on strong, others are more faint. If your antenna isn’t sensitively tuned, you’re likely to lose the data in the noise. Particularly since the signals coming through are often more subtle than the content we collect through sensory awareness. They are energetic more than tactile, intuitively perceived more than consciously recorded.”
Rubin also touches on all parts of the creative process, from the importance of having a practice to the challenges that arise along the way. The sections on rules and habits were my favorites.
The book doesn’t break new ground in terms of ideas, but its presentation is nothing short of masterful. Rubin’s writing style is equally accessible and insightful, and packs a punch with short, powerful sentences brimming with clarity and wisdom.
I couldn’t help but to highlight the entire book. Plus, Rubin narrates the audio version himself, and his voice is so calming.
So, what’s the takeaway? We are ALL creative, damn it. If you’re looking for a spark of inspiration or a reminder of your own creative potential, I can’t recommend Rubin’s book enough.
Here’s to embracing our creative sides!