A month ago, I was in Las Vegas, NV, for NAB 2012. The video-geek in me was tickled. Camera rigs from Jag35. New EOS cinema cameras from Canon (*dies*). That incredible presentation at the Adobe booth from the guys at Cantina Creative on the special effects they created for the then-yet-released Avengers movie (*dies again*). Yet of all the goodies and new toys, the thing that impact me the most was from the NAB Bookstore.
When I picked up “So You’re a Creative Genius; Now What?” by Carl King, I knew I needed to read the book. It was the same feeling when I first picked up “What They Don’t Teach You In Film School,” by Camilla Landau. I bought a copy, and proceeded to stay up the entire red-eye home. Carl’s wisdom can be basically summed up like this: It’s okay to be brilliant, and here’s how to stay out of your own way. I won’t go into the details here, because Carl said it much better. But I do want to camp out on one point: It’s okay to be brilliant.
I say this because I have to remind myself of this. When I was a kid, I was the smart one. I had no problem lecturing adults on the adverse effects of non-organic peanut butter. At age eight, I played my parents and my uncles and aunts at Trivial Pursuit and held my own. I became a prolific writer and soon my bookshelf was lined with spiral bound notebooks filled with ideas and stories. But somewhere along the way, after hearing too many variations of the phrases, “You need to let others answer questions first” and “Don’t show off,” I began to shut up. And in the process I stopped trusting my ability.
I hit rock bottom at the age of twenty-one, unsure of what I wanted in life, not knowing what I liked or who I wanted to be. I was depressed for a year, the brunt of it culminating around Christmas when I dove headfirst into a world of 1930’s jazz music, Star Wars marathons (for the record, I can’t stand Star Wars) and no socializing. I know, weird mix.
The way out was slow. Over the past 6 years, I rediscovered who I was, and what I liked, and what I wanted to do with my life. But that rediscovery was not without learning to trust myself again. And regaining the confidence to be brilliant, just as God made me to be.
In his book, Carl talks about four archetypes: The Artist, The Businessman, The Magician and The Fool. We all start as The Fool. Somewhere, we may end up as The Artist or The Businessman. Both have their pros and cons. Both have bad habits and good habits. When most people arrive at either The Artist or The Businessman, they tend to stay put. But the real one to try to be is The Magician. These are the people who truly do something amazing.
Adobe just released the results of the “State of Create” Study, and the results are shocking. Paraphrased from the opening paragraph on Adobe’s release page:
Eight out of ten people believe that unlocking creative potential is critical to economic growth. Two thirds say creativity is valuable to society. Yet only one in four people believe they’re living up to their creative potential.
Did you read that? One in FOUR people feel like they’re creative enough.
How many times have you been told, “Give it a rest”? It’s okay to be brilliant. Ever been told, “You’ll just overshadow everybody else”? It’s okay to be brilliant. What about that line you whisper to yourself as you hover the results of your latest creative endeavor over the trash bin, “I’m not good enough”? It’s okay to be brilliant.
Everybody else may not know you’re brilliant. That’s okay. Believe it about yourself. Because one in four people in this world aren’t living up to their creative potential. Because we need more Magicians.