I can’t draw.
Do I ever try to draw? No, because I can’t draw.
So how do I know I can’t draw?
Well, back when I was about 13, I attended art classes at my fine, English boarding school.
I rather liked the art room, with its easels and canvases and overalls and general mess in colours…but it didn’t feel like my territory.
Without ever being told ‘Your art stinks!’ (nothing so crude), I got the message.
‘You have no talent for this’,
‘So-and-so is better than you’,
‘Your efforts are not even worth looking at so I’ll just move on to someone more gifted’,
‘Don’t waste my time’.
Ouch. As I write I can feel a sadness that I never even knew existed bubbling up in my stomach.
Okay, so I wasn’t ‘the artistic one’. I also learned that I wasn’t ‘the intellectual one’, or ‘the gifted speaker’ or ‘the practical one’.
Oh yes, I was ‘the musical one’, but it took me years and years to allow myself to be ‘the professional musician’.
As humans we label, we compare, and we judge.
I believe that teachers and parents (the nice ones anyway!) do it to bolster up their students’ or children’s confidence and encourage them to develop their strengths.
But even they forget that we’re all eavesdropping on the conversations and coming to our own childish conclusions:
‘If she’s ‘the creative one’, then I can’t be.’
‘If he’s the talented one, I’m not good enough.’
As Pablo Picasso said: ‘“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”
And as we grow, these baseline beliefs lead us to either trying and then being very harsh with our own efforts, or just not trying at all (even to the point of saying ‘I’m not passionate about anything.’)
So we, unwittingly, become the ones blocking our own creativity.
I’m not sure which is worse - trying and self-criticising harshly, or not trying at all.
How many times have you talked yourself out of a creative project? Or felt inspired to embark on a new hobby, plan or venture…and then just never got around to it.
‘What’s the point?’
‘It won’t be very good’
‘I’ve got to do it perfectly or not at all’
‘I never do anything original anyway, I don’t have any imagination.’
I’m sure you’ve got many of your own ‘reasons’ and justifications for not being more creative.
As for the ‘originality’ question. I love how Napoleon Hill talks in his book ‘Think and Grow Rich’, referring to two distinct forms of imagination:
‘’The imaginative faculty functions in two forms. One is known as ‘’synthetic imagination’’ and the other as ‘’creative imagination’’.
SYNTHETIC IMAGINATION:- Through this faculty, one may arrange old concepts, ideas, or plans into new combination. This faculty creates nothing. It merely works with the material of experience, education, and observation with which it is fed. It is the faculty used most by the inventor, with the exception of the one who draws upon the creative imagination, when he cannot solve his problem through synthetic imagination.
CREATIVE IMAGINATION:- Through the faculty of creative imagination the finite mind of man has direct communication with Infinite Intelligence. It is the faculty through which ‘hunches’ and ‘inspirations’ are received. It is by this faculty that all basic, or new ideas are handed over to man.’’
N. Hill. Ch 6, Think and Grow Rich.
When I read his words I felt freed up to approach creativity in a much more forgiving – and joyful - way.
And when you start the creative ball rolling you open yourself up to so much fun, joy and new purpose in life!
Definitely worth stopping blocking your creativity!