Creativity, the use of imagination or original ideas to create something. Inventiveness. Thanks to Google and Oxford languages for that definition. So, what does that actually mean for most of us in our real world experience? And why is creativity important for us? This month on the Samantha Leith Show, we’re going to explore the wonderful world of imagination, and come away with our youthful wonder reignited, hopefully. So, let’s go.
Well, I’ve given you the definition of creativity, and suggested you get creative. Am I done now? Kind of joking, kind of not. How can something that seems so instinctive and a natural born skill, be a topic that we actually need to discuss? How can we start our lives filled with a natural curiosity, which is another big topic, and creativity? And somewhere along the way, many of us have those juices squished out of us. Life, which you can really give up sometimes.
I want to start this by asking you a question, and it’s a really simple one. Do you think you’re creative? Now, you might be tussling with the answer yes, no [inaudible 00:02:06], maybe, used to be. Stop, collaborate and listen. Steph, I really need to come up with something better for that stop bit. But anyway, there is no big thinking needed. You are by very nature, creative. We just need to dig a little, and bring it back out to play. So, what does Steve Jobs, Steven King, Steve Martin, and Steve Sondheim all have in common? Apart from their name, they’re all very creative people, but in very different ways. As are Beyonce, Mary Curie, Frida Kahlo, and Betty Graham. Liquid paper, if you didn’t know. Creativity isn’t our one and done thing. It’s a little like the definition of perfection, as unique to us as our DNA. I love the saying, creativity is intelligence having fun.
And for some of these people we call creative geniuses, it is. Some of you may not resonate with that whole intelligence thing, but trust me, you’re intelligent. Again, it’s simply a different level for all of us. So, try and quash that doubt. Remember, it’s a thought you’re having. So, if you need some help on creating some new ones, go back and watch episodes 40 to 44.
In a study by BT and Kenneth in 2018, they looked at mapping the connection between three brain networks to examine the creative thinking ability of people. They were shown different objects, and asked to come up with creative ideas for use. But Sam, that’s not being creative. Yeah, I can hear those clog sticking. I’ll get to you later.
Some people came up with more creative ways than others, like using a sock for a water filtration system, and they generally had more creative hobbies and achievements. So, while looking at all of those brain connections in the FMRI, they could see that the people with stronger connections, and what they call the high creative network, default executive control, salience networks, were instinctively more creative, suggesting these very creative people are actually wired a little differently, like other studies of professional artists have shown.
Now, I’m not a neuroscientist, so I am totally going to stop there, but as we know, our brains are these wonderful, malleable beasts. So, I do believe that by adding more creativity to our daily lives, even appreciating where we already are, it’ll strengthen these connections within us, leading to, you guess it, greater creativity.
When I was a little kid, I would write little plays, and I’d put them on in the backyard. And I remember sitting on our boat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, playing the guitar, and I was singing a song I’d written about the rain. Then as the years went by, things happened. An art teacher told me I wasn’t very good at painting, so she told me to use a camera. And all these years later, I still struggle with selfies. And a musician and person I admired greatly read some of my songs, and told me I wasn’t a good songwriter. I’ve never written another one, and I had dozens, if not hundreds of lyrics written down. I was crushed by other people’s voices not supporting my definition of what creativity was. If I couldn’t draw or write, I must be hopeless in that department, I thought.
I just want to apologize to that me, I grieve for that girl and that woman, that thought she couldn’t. Life kept going, obviously, until about six months ago, and I had this shock realization that I was actually creative. Now, you may be watching this and thinking I’m bonkers and… Well, anyway. It’s true. I remember calling Rebecca, who’s studio we’re filming this in, and she’s become a great friend of mine. And these things poured out. I was creative. It came flooding out of me. The scripts, the set design, the song choice, the B-roll ideas, the wardrobe, the makeup. I was creative. It all came from inside my brain. Wow.
Then my thoughts took over, and I felt like a bloody idiot. I’ve been creative all my life, and I just didn’t see it. As you can see in this little montage from [inaudible 00:06:10], all of these birthday parties, to Instagram posts, how I display things at home, shows I’ve put on. And yes, even the way I’ve problem solved my clients and my businesses over the years, it’s all been creative. How can I be so stupid to not see it? It’s not stupid. I’m not stupid. It’s life.
Much like the inherent confidence we all have, as we grow and evolve, we don’t work those muscles. They weather or we forget that they’re part of us. In 1956, Mobley looked at how to teach people to think creatively. And yes, it can be taught. It’s not about traditional teaching, or about learning answers. It’s about asking new questions, and about unlearning as you will, not sticking with assumptions and things we believe is true. To do this, we must heighten our self knowledge. Bingo. That is something we work on here every single week on this show. Self knowing is a fundamental part of what I call the confidence stack, and it’s instrumental in us being able to be the best us we can be.
Now, your homework for this week is to download the worksheet, samanthaleith.com/freebees, and ask yourself these questions. Who are 10 people that you think of as really creative in history? What are some of the traits you think they had? Where have you been creative in your past? And how can you be a little more creative right now?
Mini Cooper: Hi, I’m Mini Cooper, and I am a drag queen for a living. And the two things I would suggest with creativity, always believe and trust your own instincts, and always try and take a risk. Because if you take a risk, then great things can happen. Don’t be afraid.
Emma Veiga-Malt: Firstly, I think you’ve got to look at your prejudices and your thought processes, and your limiting beliefs. There’s no point saying, “Oh, I’m going to be creative today,” when you deep inside still have that teacher from year three telling you, you’re not creative. You’ve got to identify those old stories that you have been told by your teachers, by your parents, by yourself. We are the worst critics. Write them down even. Get them out. And realize for the imposter that they are, for the ridiculousness that they are. And once you read the old story, you can start telling a new story, and realize that we are creative in any way we want to be.
And then, the next thing you should do is, just get started on something that brings you joy. And it might be bringing out the easel and the paints that you decided you wanted to use, or it might be going to a singing class, or it might be going out walking in nature. Just something that connects you back to who you are inside. And just give it a red hot go. And don’t hold onto any expectation. If you are going to draw, if you are going to sing, if you are going to do something creative, don’t think about the end product before you start. Just enjoy that release of creativity.
Glenn Whitehall: Creativity, for me, it’s almost like a reflexivity of mind. So, it’s being prepared to be mentally and emotionally open, I think. Getting yourself into a place of just real responsiveness, and being able to make the most of inspiration, I guess.
Samantha Leith: Thank you very much for watching this show. Thank you very much. Thank you very, very, very much. Creativity in action, in an outro. On a more serious note, please subscribe to the Samantha Leith Show. And this week, please do something wildly creative. Share it on Instagram, and tag me at Samantha Leith, and I’ll cheer you along. Now, go. Be extraordinary, because I know you are.
Produced by Rebecca Saunders and Pyrmont Studios
Songwriters Anthony Newley / Leslie Bricusse
© Downtown Music Publishing, Taradam Music, Inc, Tratore, Universal Music Publishing Group
Produced by Samantha Leith / Nathan Johnson
Vocals by Samantha Leith
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