“You’re not creative”
I think I was in middle school when I first told myself that.
Although I taught myself how to read music at the age of 8 years old, wrote poetry in my early days, and was completely in awe whenever I attended any live concert; I told myself that I wasn’t creative.
I’m not sure if it was because thinking “outside the box” disturbed the little borders of my practicality or because, unlike intelligence, I did not see a grading scale to gauge creativity; but I resolved very early in life that one could not simultaneously be both Type A and Type B, indecisive and deliberate, and hopeful and logical. Even as I evolved as a musician, I learned to focus on precision rather than passion.
Little did I know, I was stripping myself of possibilities.
It would be over a decade later before I realized that just because my creativity didn’t take the form of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa or Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, it didn’t mean that I didn’t have my own level of innovation and imagination.
I can’t tell you when it happened, but I finally gave myself permission to redefine what I thought I knew about myself – even in the confines of my own mind. When I did, I started noticing creative nuances that I once labeled as distractions. For instance, when I am driving, I am intrigued at the font pairings that designers use on Billboard signs. When I’m in a parked car, I notice that my text message notification on my phone is almost the same tone as the “ding” I hear when my keys are in the ignition, but the car isn’t started. When I’m in the grocery store, I notice when my favorite brands make subtle changes to the packaging of their products and I usually have a song playing in my head at all times.
Now, I’m not saying sell all you have, take your savings and move to Bora Bora to become the ballet dancer you always thought you could be. However, I suggest you do take some time and revisit who you were before you told yourself, “I can’t do this” or “I’m not _______.” This can be accomplished by looking back in your old journals or even looking through items when you were a child and paying attention to the clues – trust me, there’s always clues.
Multiple Grammy award winning songwriter, producer, and artist Donald Lawrence has a lyric in one of his songs which states: There’s power when you speak, Be mindful of the words you release.
Don’t talk yourself out of anything that you know is predestined for you to accomplish. Before you even write it down and set to crush it, you have to believe it whole heartedly. It doesn’t matter what the age, what is for you won’t miss you – but you have to believe it first.
Be careful what you say to yourself.