How to Stay a Creative Genius

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I think we can all agree kids are pretty slow.

They can’t draw worth a darn, they walk like drunks, and they definitely can’t talk right. No, I do not want “basgetti” for dinner.

They fail at everything they try. They fall down. They hit their heads.

They are ridiculous, persistent to a fault, exhausting, outlandish, wild, and sometimes downright annoying.

But that’s only because nobody’s told them to grow up yet.

This gem came out of a conversation I had on Anchor the other day.

Yeah, I’ll say.

Our students are shuffled into “honors” and “remedial” classes on the basis of one test in middle school.

Our career tracks are dumbed down to “do this and then do it better and then do it until you die.

Our hobbies are “frivolous.”

What’s the point of sucking when you could WIN! Winning, after all, is what life is all about.

Be an idiot

When Netflix tried to sell to Blockbuster they were laughed out of the room

“The Internet is a fad” people said, probably chortling through fat cigars. “You must be joking!”

Ha ha.

Be terrible

I’m probably the worst with directions. I leave for a place and then pull up the map on the fly. If it’s wrong, I have no chance. If I think I know where something is, that’s a very good indicator I’m within 100 miles of an address.

Not quite as accurate as Siri, but hey.

Do you know what else I used to be terrible at? Writing. The pitch to my college newspaper had approximately one hundred million red marks through it. They let me in anyway because I had “potential.”

(As I later learned, it was actually because they had no staff. It’s fine, though. I’m not too proud to take pity).

I was terrible for a long time. Longer than I should have been. Recently some people have told me I’m not terrible, but now my definition of “terrible” changed so who knows if I will ever get over it?

Such is art.

Be a dreamer

It’s odd, because somehow artists have gotten caught up in this entrepreneurial fad. Like we can hustle our way to a creative breakthrough.

But dreaming is not productive. It’s not supposed to be. But we try and pigeonhole it anyway. We have brainstorming exercises or idea sessions or creative collaboration events or whatever activity fits the buzzword of the moment.

Do you know what’s funny about people who are dreaming, though?

They are asleep.

Unaware of the world and unaware of a problem. Indifferent to business and hustle and work. Incapable of worry or stress.

You can’t dream on purpose.

That’s the whole point.

Be an explorer

And here’s the thing about exploration — it’s hard.

People are trying to go to Mars now. That’s hard.

In the 1800’s people went through grizzly bears and mountains and dissentary and eating squirrels to make their way out West. That was hard. (Trust me, I played and beat the Oregon Trail. I get it.)

Frontiers, whether literal or figurative, are difficult to reach.

But almost always worth it.

Be a self starter

Nobody will take your art deeper than you can. Not a guru. Not a role model. Not a mentor. Not your boss. Not your spouse.

You.

And that’s hard too. Because some days you won’t feel like it. Some days you won’t feel like putting in your 750 words or mocking up a new design orjournaling.

Also, it’s lonely. People start to identify you by your work instead of your being.

And you go deeper still.

“I don’t get it,” they’ll say.

And you go deeper still.

“You don’t have to do this all the time, you know,” they’ll say.

Nobody will make you do it. But you’ll go deeper still.

Be an outcast

Creative people generally don’t fit in. That’s okay though. At least we can all not fit in together.

Here’s an interesting thing about the Internet — you are no longer condemned by geography.

What are you going to do with that freedom?

Be a kid

We were at summer camp, where Max shot an arrow for the first time, climbed a rope up a rock wall, and made a friendship bracelet for his sister.

In the same day.

He did all of these things terribly. By the end of the summer, of course, he was better at them. 3 years later, he was an expert, and didn’t remember ever meeting me.

But I remembered him:

When he told me this, I laughed.

You can’t get my new book on Amazon…

But you can pay what you want for it right here

(For a five more days only)

Written by

An optimist who writes. www.toddbrison.com/infinite-ideas

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